Author Interview: Guy Harrison on "Agents of Change"

Ana: Today we have Guy Harrison introducing their book, Agents of Change. I haven't read this book myself, but Guy was kind enough to agree to guest blog about their book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. Guy, how would you describe your book to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your book about?

Guy: Well, in short, Agents of Change has been best described as espionage with a twist. In much broader terms, it's an action/suspense/thriller with a dash of science fiction.

The story's protagonist, Calvin Newsome, is, figuratively and literally, one of the good guys. He never hesitates to go out of his way to motivate people into doing things that improve themselves and the people closest to them. Unfortunately for Calvin, he's stuck in a career he doesn't love; he feels there must be more to life than worrying about money in order to make money.

The Agency of Influence offers Calvin an opportunity to truly make a difference. The organization's agents are imbued with the powers of shapeshifting and telekinesis, and are charged with improving our society, one despondent person at a time. The Agency of Influence also has a rival organization, the Agency of Justice, which essentially serves an antithetic, yet well-meaning, mission.

Now an Agent of Influence, Calvin appears to be on his way to realizing his true potential until he, and the world at large, are caught in the eye of a storm brewing between the two agencies. When it appears that he's been accidentally framed for murder by his own agency, Calvin must elude authorities while saving the world from what amounts to Armageddon.

Ana: What themes does your book explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, do you hope your book will mean to a reader?

Guy: The overriding theme in the book is old but entertaining, given its backdrop in this story: absolute power corrupts absolutely. The big question is how can two organizations, both of which serve admirable missions, be so caustic to our society?

Additionally, the book explores the idea that not everything is what it seems. I think this ties into the shapeshifting abilities quite well. Essentially, the book proves that you don't need to be a shapeshifter to hide your true identity.

Ana: What prompted you to write this book and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book? 

Guy: Oh, it was always about the money from the beginning!

In all seriousness, I was first prompted to write a much more lighthearted version of this story a year and a half ago when I was motivated to write my own pilot for a television show I called "The Matchmaker." I wanted a show that was a cross between "Heroes" and "Touched by an Angel," something that geeks would love because of the special abilities, but something the sentimental crowd would also enjoy.

After banging my head against the wall trying to sell this and other scripts I had written, I decided to try my hand at writing and publishing my very own novel. The problem was that I didn't have a decent idea for a story. I firmly believed in The Matchmaker concept, though, so I decided to expound on that in the form of this novel. Agents of Change ended up being darker than the pilot but I was okay with that.

In terms of voice, the story is (mostly) told through Calvin's point of view. As such, I wanted his voice to be a bit more casual than that of what you typically see in other first-person stories (i.e., The Hunger Games). He can be snarky, he swears, he's got a self-deprecating sense of humor, and he often tells it like it is. All of this leads to a more humorous tone at certain points in the book when the action and the darkness isn't as prevalent.

If I had to choose a work that served as an inspiration for Agents of Change, I'd probably point to Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas series. That, too, is a series of first-person point of view suspense/thrillers centered around a protagonist with special abilities.

Ana: If you could compare your book to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your book is their cup of tea?

Guy: I've so been cheating this question throughout this interview. I've already mentioned a few TV shows and the Odd Thomas series. If I really had to narrow it down, though, I think I could only shrink it down to two works:

Agents of Change is the Jason Bourne series with a dash of "Touched by an Angel." I choose Jason Bourne over Odd Thomas because, essentially Bourne was a creation of the organization that serves as his antagonist.

Ana: Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other books? If you have published other books, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more books planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different book or genre?

Guy: As we speak, I am currently working on the sequel to Agents of Change (Agents of Chaos), and hope to have it out in time for the 2012 holidays. There will be a third and final installment of the Agents of Change series that will be released in 2013. After completing that series, there is a standalone action/suspense novel I'd like to write. It would be dystopian in nature and would be a modern take on an old English literature classic.

Agents of Change is my debut, but it's not my only published work. I have also published a short story called The Scorpion Nest. It is currently available for free at all e-reader book stores.

The Scorpion Nest is more standard fare than Agents of Change. It's along the lines of a sci-fi/horror "creature feature," although, like my novel, the short story also emphasizes personal relationships and isn't just about a young couple being chased around by scorpions.

Also, somewhere down the road, I'd like to venture into the young adult genre...but I'd probably do so under a pen name.

Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your book for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next book comes available?

Guy: The Agents of Change ebook can be purchased at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and Kobo. The book is also available in paperback format on Amazon.

I maintain an author blog/website: Most posts on there pertain to the independent publishing process, but there is also some intriguing content on there relevant to my work.

Readers can usually contact me through my Facebook page and Twitter account (@GuyMHarrison). These are also the best ways to learn of future release dates as well as to be notified of the excerpts and cover reveals that will appear on my website.

Lastly, I'm active on Goodreads. I've run four Agents of Change giveaways and envision doing the same for the sequel. Additionally, I have had quite a few discussions with readers on Goodreads through their messaging feature and am open to communication on there.

Ana: Thank you. I understand you have the first chapter of your book available as an excerpt for interested readers? Is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?

Guy: A brief overview of the book and its first chapter are available on my website. Also, free samples are available for download at both Amazon and Smashwords.

As far as potentially adult or triggering content, this book features discussions of consensual sexual activity, discussions of racism, brief discussion of sexual violence, and depictions of violence.

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Guy Harrison said...

Thank you for letting me stop by, Ana. I truly appreciate this and everything else you do on this blog.

Lonespark said...

This sounds awesome. I have been casting about for more books to read since I finished a few series over the summer, and I love to support writing new, diverse SFF. Yaaay!

Guy Harrison said...

Thanks for the kind words, Lonespark. I actually did this interview a while back before the technology in Ana's blog went haywire. I'd just like to update some of the info in the interview: The sequel, Agents of Chaos, has already been written and edited and will be released in eBook and paperback form on October 22. Also, the Agents of Change eBook is currently available for free at all of the retailers mentioned in the interview.

Lonespark said...

Oooh, even cooler.

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