Reader Q&A

Many readers have emailed Gayle, saying they watched THE HADES FACTOR miniseries on CBS in April and were unhappy that it strayed so far from the novel.

Well, I understand. Frankly, I didn’t know what to expect myself, since I had nothing to do with the miniseries. There’s an old saying among authors — one throws the book into Hollywood and runs quickly away, before one is caught. Yes, the miniseries was very different from the book, but still, I think they did a good job based on their vision. It’s not the way I would’ve done it, but increasingly we’re seeing that filmmakers buy a novel, keep the title and main character, and create a story they think will attract viewers by the gazillions. The miniseries was fast-paced, kept some of the basics of the story, kept some of the characters (but not their “characters” or all of their names), and had some terrific action sequences. Hey, it didn’t embarrass me. That’s a lot for which to be grateful these days!

Robert W. Campbell, M.D., CA: What’s the story with the Nick Carter novels? I noted that you authored five, but when I went to Barnes & Noble to see about ordering them, there were a total 151!

Ah, yes, Bob. Well, that’s part of my checkered past. I did indeed write five in the series almost 20 years ago. I figured it was a deal — I was being paid to learn my tradecraft. In fact, I did several books in what is loosely called male pulp novels. (Curious? See the bibliography posted on this website.) Several very fine male authors had written in the pulps (Ross Macdonald, Martin Cruz Smith, my husband Dennis Lynds, to name a few), and I figured if it was good enough for them, it was just fine for me, too. The reason there are so many volumes in the Carter series is that it’s been going on for decades, written by the various people hired by whichever publisher owned the name “Nick Carter” at the time. BTW, for those who want to be in the know, Nick Carter is America’s answer to James Bond, only a lot more disheveled.

Tracy-Lyn Wines, NY: Gayle, I have to tell you that people are wrong when they say “never judge a book by its cover.” If that were true, I would never have read your novel MOSAIC, which led me to all of your other novels. My mother is hooked on your books as well. Wow, are you amazing. You need to understand that I never read until about 3 years ago, and now I can’t put a book down, so thank you for your writing.

Well, Tracy-Lyn, thank YOU for writing! That puts a smile on my face. As for covers, in the beginning of my career, I had no control over what the publishers wanted. I still have no idea why they thought the cover to MOSAIC was so wonderful. Maybe there’s a reader out there who can tell me and you both.

Joel Bulmash, MD: Just finished THE ALTMAN CODE & read MASQUERADE several weeks ago. Both were exciting & suspenseful as usual. AM WAITING to read THE COIL ASAP! Really hope a new COVERT-ONE is coming, too. Keep ’em comin’ & I’ll keep readin’ ’em!!!

I like your attitude, Joel. Oh, to be able to write faster! Just to let you know, as I do periodically in this Q&A, I’ve answered quite a few questions about the Covert-One series on the “Robert Ludlum” webpage. You’ll find a great photo of Bob there, too. Very evocative.

Don Guillod, Canada: Subject: THE ALTMAN CODE. Hello Gayle. I just received the subject book in the mail from Chapters/Indigo up here in Canada. With all due respect to Robert Ludlum, it was refreshing to see you listed as the author. Please keep up the good work!

Hi Don. Thanks for noticing. Bylines are such tricky things. No matter what you say or write, there are always rumors. After a while, no one believes anything anyway, which is just the sort of dose of reality to which those of us who wander the literary fields of espionage are accustomed. Who said paranoia?

Janie Phillips, CA: Ms. Lynds, I love your books. My favorite was MESMERIZED. You have also made Robert Ludlum’s books enjoyable to read again. When is your new book going to be available for purchasing?

Hi Ms. Phillips… The answer is NOW …and thanks for asking!

Eric Collier, Alabama: What steps do you go through when writing a novel? How do you go from idea to finished manuscript?

Hi Eric: Well, now, that’s a book in itself. I’ll try to make this brief. I pick up ideas all over — from contacts, the newspaper, friends. For THE COIL, while researching another book I stumbled upon a reference to an actual group of international movers and shakers that I found intriguing. (You can read about all of that in the Author’s Note at the end of THE COIL.) Then I added in Liz Sansborough from MASQUERADE, plus I wanted to bring back Sarah and Asher, too. All of this time, I am cogitating, making notes, muttering to myself, finding more ideas and story elements. Finally a story begins to form in my mind. That’s when I start writing an outline, which for me is simply a map of where I want to go, not exactly how I’m going to get there. At the same time, I constantly research — contacts again, online resources, books, newspapers, magazines, the library, all of the places one would expect. Eventually I reach the place where I am desperate to begin writing the book. That is a moment every author longs to reach. That’s when the real fun — and the challenge — begin. With luck, some 10 months later, the book is on its way to my editor.

Mrs G Jessop, New South Wales, Australia: I have read MOSAIC, and MASQUERADE, and am now begining MESMERIZED. What a terrific author. I have read many books in my time, but you certainly keep people on the edge of the seat, and a feeling of I must find out what happens next. Pls keep up the good work. I have just purchased two books which you wrote with Robert Ludlum, which I am sure will be just as wonderful. Thank you.

Gosh, Mrs. Jessop, what kind things to say. Do appreciate it. And for those of you who are wondering what’s up with the Ludlum/Lynds books, AKA Covert-One series, I answer quite a few questions about it on the Robert Ludlum webpage.

John Hausmann, Washington: Fantastic!!! THE HADES FACTOR and THE PARIS OPTION are wonderful and intriguing reads. A great pairing of Gayle and Robert Ludlum. Let’s hope Gayle continues the series after Mr. Ludlum’s passing.

Dear John: Wellllll, there’s a bit of a problem with that. Please see the Robert Ludlum webpage. But in the meantime, since you seem to really enjoy adventure tales, perhaps you might like to try one of my standalones. Some folks say they’re pretty swell. If you do read one or more, sure hope you’ll let me know what you think.

Fran Read, Tasmania, Australia: Hi Gayle. Now that I’ve seen your photo, I’m sure you look familiar. It must have been the Bouchercon Bar! Now I’d better start reading your books. Fran (from RAM)

Hey Fran: Yes, and pronto. Get to those books! Remember: Never let ale get too warm, or your reading chair too cold.

Donna Millspaugh, New Jersey: Can you please tell me when MASQUERADE will be on bookshelves? I love your books and cannot wait to read this and your new one, THE COIL!

I guess I got started late reading your books. I’ve read all of them except for the two that I’ve mentioned.

Please don’t ever stop writing, you’re an enjoyable and suspenseful writer. I only read at night and sometimes, while reading your books, I’m still reading at 3 or 4 a.m.! No wonder I’m tired during the day??? 🙂 Keep up the good work!!!!

Hi Donna. MASQUERADE is arriving in stores right now — grocery stores, drug stores, book stores, quick-shop stores. However, do not look for copies next to the bananas or the aspirin. Instead, you will just find more bananas and aspirin. But you know that. I’m glad you discovered my books!

Wanda Palmer, Texas: I have been trying to find MASQUERADE, MOSAIC, and your others. I can’t find them here, can you help? I live in east Texas, about 100 miles south of Dallas. Thanks.

Hi Wanda: Much as it pains me, I will tell you the truth: The secret today to all problems in modern life seems to be (arrgh!) THE INTERNET. Yup, my books are available — both new and used — on all sorts of online bookstore sites, including the ubiquitous,,,, and others. This is true even in little towns in Iowa, whence I hail. Thanks for asking. Good (but not too bloody) hunting.

Georgia Sotiros, Florida: Harry, my husband, and I enjoy your books immensely, and can’t wait for THE COIL to be on the market!

Will you be starting another book after THE COIL, and could you, maybe, set part of it in or around Prague? It is supposed to be a beautiful city, amassed with wonderful scenery, as well as history laced with political changes and transitions, which could be interwoven into your next story/novel. Love your writing! Keep going!

Sincerely, Harry and Georgia Sotiros

Dear Georgia and Harry: Your minds and mine work closely in geographic tandem. As it turns out, several scenes in THE COIL are set in Bratislava, which as you know is the capital of Slovakia today, just as Prague is the capital of the new Czech Republic. The two metropolises are only 181 miles … 291 kilometers … 157 nautical miles apart — “spitting distance,” we say in Iowa. I almost chose Prague instead, but because I had already visited Prague in MOSAIC, I went to Bratislava. (I have a touch of wanderlust. Well, maybe more than a “touch”.) I’ll keep your suggestion in mind for future books. Good idea!

Paula Eriksen, Florida: Love your books — got all of my friends reading them, too. Please keep on writing — am anxious to get THE COIL — will pre-order it, definitely.

Would love to have your books autographed if you are ever on tour on the west coast of Florida (i.e., Clearwater, Tampa)

All the best and blessings to you.

Hi Paula: You’re a clever (and thrifty) woman to pre-order THE COIL. As for Florida, I’ve always loved that state. Alas, my tour for THE COIL isn’t taking me there, but I know a future one will. You’ll hear all about it in advance in my e-newsletter, ’cause I’m not good at keeping such exciting traveling information secret. Looking forward to meeting you!

Mark Robert, New Hampshire: Just wanted to let you know that I hope to finally find a copy of MASQUERADE to read so I’ll be ready for THE COIL. I have thoroughly enjoyed MESMERIZED & MOSAIC as well as devouring the COVERT-ONE series.

Speaking of the COVERT-ONE series… Are there anymore in the works?? I’m looking forward to reading more of your work and like the fact that I found you as you are starting your rise…we can grow old together that way..lmao.

Hey Mark: Thanks for taking the time to let me know you enjoy my novels. Puts a smile on my face and makes my fingers type faster. As for the COVERT-ONE series, yup — there are more in the works. (Read on.) I, too, like the idea that we discovered each other young enough so we can age and creak onward together. Every cell in my body is sentimental, and I refuse to take vitamins to discourage it.

Sougata Das, New Delhi, India: Hi, I was introduced to your work when I read the COVERT-ONE series. I am a very avid reader of Ludlum and own all his books. I was looking for some of your novels, but have not been able to get any in India. Have talked to my bookseller, and he has promised to get me some. I look forward to them. I am also impressed with the COVERT-ONE series and look forward to more of these.

Dear Sougata: How resourceful you are. Kudos! Your game plan can be transferred to all nations. This is an example of globalization that not only works, but it’s good. Repeat after me: BOOKS ARE GOOD.

Vidalia, Ontario, Canada: I just finished reading MASQUERADE this morning…. It is an absolutely amazing book, and I’m a fan now!!

Hi Vidalia: I know you didn’t ask a question, but heck — you made me so happy that I had to slip your note in amongst the others. Bad Gayle, bad Gayle.

Pam Jacoby, Minnesota: Ed and I really enjoyed talking with you, at B’Con, about the COVERT-ONE books. Love your “description” of what a thriller is — looks like an elephant, runs like a gazelle.

Hi Pam: So nice to hear from you. For those who are wondering, “B’con” is jargon for Bouchercon, named in honor of Anthony Boucher, the former long-time mystery reviewer for THE NEW YORK TIMES. The “con” refers to convention. In this case, readers, authors, agents, and publishers gather from around the world for this annual convention to celebrate mystery and suspense. In October 2004, it will be in Toronto. Am I going? You bet. (Oh, and the back-room poker games are excellent. Or at least remunerative. Which I respect. And enjoy. As does my bank account.)

The Assassins The Book of Spies The Last Spymaster The Coil Mesmerized Mosaic Masquerade The Altman Code The Paris Option The Hades Factor
The Assassins The Book of Spies The Last Spymaster The Coil Mesmerized
Mosaic Masquerade The Altman Code The Paris Option The Hades Factor
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