Hello Everyone and welcome to the blog! I want to thank all of you who visited last week for my news about my new upcoming book. I will be having more news about it soon, so stay tuned.
Today we have Author Jaye Rothman as our guest blogger! She has an amazing story here that you are going to love. Jaye created the Nikki Sinclair Spy Thriller series. Each part will thrill you with danger, action, and suspense. Let’s meet Jaye!
Firstly, thank you to Lynn for offering me a spot on her blog.
Secondly, let me introduce you to Nikki Sinclair, MI6 spy, the protagonist in my stories. In many ways, Nikki is the ideal spy. She’s estranged from her family, secretive, multi-lingual, and enjoys the excitement of living on the edge. However, she does have a flaw. Her desperation for a lasting relationship with a woman who understands her can impact upon her judgment and thereby cause bad decisions in her professional and personal life.
For example, Deception in Cairo sees Nikki fall in love with the intriguing, married, and mature Countess Nadasdy. Although Nikki harbours suspicions that her lover is a KGB spy, her doubts don’t prevent her from beginning a relationship with the woman.
The Nikki Sinclair Spy Thriller series begins in 1974 and follows Nikki’s adventures over the next ten years.
You might not remember that time when the Cold War in Europe was at its height. The map of Europe looked much different from what it does today. A large block of red, comprising the Soviet Union and the satellite countries (as the Russians called them) of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and East Germany, covered Eastern Europe. Freedom of speech, and even movement, for these citizens, was severely restricted.
The Soviet-controlled satellite countries had no choice but to obey when the Soviets requisitioned land for military and nuclear bases. As these areas were designated Top Secret, the local population didn’t venture near them for fear of being arrested or shot. For example, located thirty-five kilometres northeast of Prague is the former USSR Milovice military base. The Soviets took control of the base when they invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, and over 6,000 Russians lived in the small town they built without ever leaving the compound. The Soviets abandoned the base after the USSR’s dissolution and, today, the place is a nature reserve.
Nowadays, Communism, [LC1] as I remember it has been consigned to history but, at the time, the concept was real and frightening. ‘The Cold War has escalated’ was dreaded news to hear. Soviet nukes were aimed at European capitals. NATO missiles were aimed at Russian cities. We came so close …
Years ago, I managed to obtain a visa to visit East Berlin for twenty-four hours. A concrete wall cut across Berlin, dividing the city in half. The queues and number of checkpoints I had to pass through meant crossing into the East took me over two hours. I found the city a grim, grey, and depressing place. Although freedom for East Berliners lay only a few metres away, leaving was impossible unless you held a visa.
The Berlin Wall was heavily patrolled by armed guards, under orders to shoot their fellow citizens and snarling dogs. ‘The Death Strip’ had earned that name for a reason. The area was more than 100 metres wide. Watchtowers were situated every few metres, and an escapee had fences, spotlights, tripwires, barbed wire, alarms, sirens, and two additional barriers to contend with before they even reached the wall.
As you might imagine, Berlin was a hotbed for spies during that time, so it provided a perfect setting for A Shameful Affair, which is due for publication in May. This story finds Nikki undercover and vulnerable in a hostile East Berlin, where trust has fallen victim to survival.
As a teenager, I read all Ian Fleming’s books and loved watching James Bond movies. But one thing bothered me. Why hadn’t a woman written about a female protagonist during the Cold War? While bookshelves are overflowing with books about women spies working in the resistance during WWII, female spies are conspicuously absent during this era.
Many years ago, during a flight from Johannesburg to Lisbon, I experienced a strange incident that prodded me to rectify the situation. A stopover was scheduled in Kinshasa, Zaire, for refuelling. But, on arrival, the pilot[LC2] informed us we couldn’t continue our journey because a part needed to be replaced in the aircraft. Engineers from the airline, based in Lisbon, had to fly to Kinshasa to fit it, so this would take three days. Classed as in transit, we had to surrender our passports. We boarded a bus, which took us to a hotel outside Kinshasa. In The Hell of Osirak, I describe the journey and other details as lodged in my memory. The faxes and telephones didn’t work. We couldn’t leave the hotel grounds because we didn’t hold the necessary visas. At the time, I remember thinking: What if someone disappeared in the middle of the night? How could we summon assistance? What if the Zaire government denied that the person had entered the country?
Fast forward to 2014, and I’m living in New Zealand, still devouring espionage thrillers, when I came across an advert in the newspaper. ‘If you’ve wanted to write a book, now’s the time.’ I signed up for the course, [LC3] and the first chapters of The Hell Of Osirak appeared on the page. I did self-publish the manuscript, but I felt the story lacked pace. So, last year, I rewrote the text, had my work re-edited and republished the novel.
My original plan was to write only one book, but Nikki had other plans. In 2017, I left NZ and travelled to countries overseas for a year. Many of the locations I write about in my books are those I visited. I spent the month of August in Vienna, and an idea popped into my head. What if I set my first book in this amazing city? I changed the season to winter, and Treachery in Vienna came to life under the premise: When events don’t go according to plan during a covert mission to eliminate an undercover agent, the wintry streets of Vienna become witness to a game of a cat and mouse between Nikki and her target.
Our Spy in Istanbul continues Nikki’s adventures after Treachery in Vienna. The brief synopsis reads: Nikki’s hopes for a settled relationship with a fellow agent are tested when they are both sent on a mission to extract a Russian defector.
From Russia With Love is one of my favourite spy novels, and readers might notice several locations from Ian Fleming’s masterpiece appear as settings in my book. During my visit to Istanbul, I spent a day hunting down the villa which housed the Soviet Embassy in the movie, and on the first page of Our Spy in Istanbul, I describe the building as it appeared to me.
I’ve visited most of the locations I write about. The exception is Osirak in Iraq, which I write about in The Hell Of Osirak. The book, however, is based on an actual event, although I’d never heard of the incident until I began my research.
At the moment, I am writing Shadows over Warsaw. The year is 1981, and the city is crawling with agents and spies from the Eastern Bloc countries. Undercover as a journalist, Nikki’s mission is to retrieve valuable intel and if that wasn’t a difficult enough task, extract MI6’s asset, the beautiful opera singer Daria Salkowski.
2021 will see the publication of Nikki’s further exploits in A Perfect Interlude set in Auckland; the compelling The Society of Sappho set in East Berlin and Amsterdam; and the enthralling Spies, Lies, and Lesbians set in Austria and Southern Africa. If I enough time, I’ll publish The Dishonourable Spy which is set in the Eternal City, Rome.
These days, when I’m not struggling with marketing which is not my strong point, I spend most of my time writing in my office and looking out over the sea. I live in a small town north of Auckland with my devoted dog, Mollie the Collie. She’s a wonderful companion and always agrees with me. And, although I joke about our situation, we did rescue each other.
You can buy my books directly from my website https://jayerothman.com/ or from all the usual distributors, Amazon, Kobo, B&N, etc.
You can also read more about Jaye’s books by clicking the link: Amazon.com: Jaye Rothman: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle
I have a bonus for you! When you sign up to my mailing list, you’ll receive a free story, the first book in the series, Treachery in Vienna.
Keep safe and well!
[LC1]Suggest Communism is still about.
[LC2]I don’t know who actually did this but suggest put someone to change sentence to active.
[LC3]An assumption here
I want to thank Jaye for being our guest blogger today. Be sure to join her mailing list so you will be informed when her next books in the Nikki Sinclair story. As she mentioned above, she is offering free copies to new subscribers.
Stop by this weekend to meet guest blogger, author Sarah Markel.
Until Next Time,
Photos subject to copyright.