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Character Interview: Ellen Drew from James Stone’s espionage novel, Crypto




We’re thrilled to have here today Ellen Drew from James Stone’s new espionage novel, Crypto. Ellen Drew is a late-20s LAPD Homicide Detective moving to the National Security Agency as a Special Agent living in Laurel, Maryland.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Crypto_smThank you so for this interview, Ellen. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

No, I think I was fairly portrayed. After all, James had the benefit of extensive psychological evaluations from LAPD. I sometimes cringe at things I see, but James got it right.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Oh, yes. my portrayal has more than enough “color.”

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Strong investigative skills and determination.

Worse trait?

Temper, impulsiveness, jumping to conclusion.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be?

Perhaps someone like Zeta-Jones. I’m not really up on who the stars are these days.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Oh, yes, but it doesn’t emerge until the middle of the book, and there are impediments…

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

How the book would turn out, or how the plot would turn out? As far as the book itself, it was presented to me as a complete story, and James kept me in the loop all the way through the writing. As far as the plot is concerned, I’m given a case the same day I report for work. I don’t even know the organization. Plus, there is an FBI task force already working the problem and they have the gimlet-eye on me, making snide remarks about NSA standing for “never say anything.” Plus, the case involves some highly technical matters about which I know nothing. Nervous? You bet.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I can’t answer that without revealing the plot. Next best answer would be Lt. Malek, #2 in the D.C. Russian Security detachment.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I like it. Everything is tied up in a bow.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?

There needs to be a change of topic so new things can be explored. I happen to know James is planning another book with many of the same characters, except this one will be set in the very murky world of cyber conflict. Murky, because there are no international laws or treaties governing cyber war. We’re deep into things like how hackers do their thing, how do you tell if you’ve been attacked or if things just happened, who did it, and how do you respond as nation under the conventional laws of kinetic warfare (just law, measured response, etc.). I’ve been elevated to investigative assistant to the Commander, CyberCom. At least this time I have received enough training to get in the right ball park.

In all honesty, I feel a bit jealous that James has chosen to write a Sci-Fi before getting back to me.

Thank you for this interview, Ellen. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

You’d be better, or James is in trouble.


Title: Crypto

Genre: Mystery/Adventure

Author: James Stone

Website: None

Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Purchase on Amazon


Dr. Stone has a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering, and numerous international certifications in computer security. He has worked at NSA, NASA, and the Department of Defense in various capacities, as well as having been a professor of engineering at a major university.-He recently retired from engineering and plans to devote himself to writing.

Dr. Stone is originally from Arkansas, discovered his wife while at the University, married her while in college, and has never regretted a moment of their lives together. They currently live in Arizona, have two grown sons (one with a Ph.D. in computer engineering and the other is a clinical psychologist and director of a clinic at a major university medical college). Between the two of them, there are five grandchildren, three of them triplets.


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