The most challenging part about writing Simon Monk is Monk himself. The man is brutal, ruthless and deadly and he is the good guy. I didn’t pull any punches with him because Monk had to be harder and if necessary crueler than the enemy. Ten minutes on any international news channel tells you the state of the world. It’s never been more dangerous and that is where Simon Monk exists with the rest of us. So, there won’t be any hollowed out volcanoes housing madmen surrounded by buxom women threatening the world with nuclear annihilation. Not sorry about that omission. Also, of the challenges Monk faces, an internal struggle with who is his and what he does, isn’t among them. He doesn’t relish in it, but if Monk is sent to terminate an enemy operative, or threat to the Homeland or her citizens, he does it and quite dispassionately.
But a blunt instrument is quickly boring, which meant that Monk had to have equal counter balance to be interesting. Not an easy thing in a story where your hero is constantly surrounded by enemies—that’s a hell of a lot of killing on the page. So I introduced people from Monk’s past that he had helped. So, despite the constant bloodletting, his inherent goodness to those he cares about is always present. Monk has a code and you learn early on that he’s particularly sensitive to the victims of the world he operates in, even taking it upon himself to expand his orders. He is fiercely loyal to any who serve under him, the credo “leave no man behind” is his motto. Perhaps even more so, given his own abandonment by the Army, despite being an honored war hero who served with distinction. So, yes, the man’s a killer, but he’s one you can root for.