Andrew Kaplan has followed 1986’s Scorpion with two sequels this year, Scorpion Betrayal and Scorpion Winter.

Why the long wait between the first book and the next two books?

For about 15 seconds, 20-odd years ago, I was about as hot as a writer could get, with a couple of international bestsellers, an offer to write a James Bond movie, another offer to take over the Ludlum franchise. Then my career hit a speed bump (read: brick wall). Meanwhile, I had a family to support. I started a technology company that consumed a staggering amount of time and energy. About three years ago, I decided to write again. I had no publisher, no agent, no fan base, and publishing was a new world that people were still trying to figure out. In fact, being published before made it harder, not easier. I had to reconsider the idea of doing a series and that led, inevitably, back to Scorpion.

You have said that you didn’t want to be “trapped” in a series. What’s changed?

Unlike many of my fellow mystery and thriller writers, I resisted the idea of doing a series. I was afraid of painting (writing?) myself into a creative corner. Toward the end of his life, Ian Fleming, who had done phenomenally well with James Bond, was reportedly miserable. He had real talent. You can see it in one of his last books, The Spy Who Loved Me. The book—not to be confused with the Roger Moore movie with which it has nothing in common but the title—is actually told from a woman’s point of view and is much more about her than James Bond, who just happens by at the end to save the day. You can almost feel Fleming trying to break out of the trap his own success had put him in. Or perhaps Fleming felt he had reached a creative dead end. All I knew was that I didn’t want that to be me. Rebooting Scorpion was my son’s idea (he’s in his 20s and in the movie biz). “If you want to reach an audience,” he said, “you need to think about a series. Do Scorpion.” I decided I wouldn’t do it unless I could make it different from anything else out there. It had to be compelling, not just with one book, but with every book in the series. And while each book had to be unique and stand on its own, I wanted them all to be part of an overall saga.

In all those years when there weren’t any novels, might Andrew Kaplan have been doing a little extracurricular independent spy work himself?

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