USA Today bestselling author Michelle Medhat chatted about her book “The Trusted.”
Sam is a husband… and a government killer. Is he the only one who can save the world? Sam and his wife Ellie had been blissfully married for 23-years. The life they built in the beautiful London flat was perfect, except for one thing. Sam had been keeping a secret. Was everything about to collapse? What will his wife do now that she knows the truth?
Agents were being targeted. The body count was rising. When the latest mission to stop a terrorist group that wants to unleash a next-gen weapon hits a snag, Sam doesn’t have much time. He can’t be distracted by problems at home.
A betrayal might be in the works. Suspicious of everything he once trusted, with politics biting at his heels and traitors changing the game, Sam must make a decision. It could go either way.
You’ll love this spy thriller, because USA Today bestselling author, Michelle Medhat, comes with a spy-fi action thriller like nothing you’ve ever read before.
A USA Today bestselling author, Michelle Medhat (known as Mish to her friends) writes fast-moving, ruthless political spy thrillers blended with thought-provoking sci-fi. Readers and fans call her addictive The Trusted Thriller Series “007 on acid with aliens” or “Bond meets The X-Files.”
Her books are loaded with incredible technologies, but in every case, they’re grounded in real science. Why is this? Well, for 28 years of Mish’s life, she’s lived and breathed science, engineering, and technology, including programming chips for different bleeding-edge applications, established and run technology software companies, developed programs to bring sci-tech closer to the public, and was heavily involved in the early ’90s in bringing to the UK the first notion of technologies we now take for granted, such as film-on-demand (hello Netflix and Prime Video!), pause and rewind live TV, virtual reality and sensor applications (now known as the Internet of Things).
Despite all this sci-tech focus, Mish actually read Business Finance and Law at University, but her love of technology shone through after she landed a marketing role to support an electronics design business within a University. Love is the operative word, as she met during that interview, her future husband Professor Sam Medhat, who has been her inspiration throughout all her books.
Mish has lived and worked in many places across the world, including Dubai, where she along with her husband, were the co-founders of Dubai University.
She currently resides in the UK, and she is Director of Operations and Strategic Development at the UK’s professional body for Innovation – the Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Exchange (IKE), which she co-founded with her husband where she helps government, business, industry, and academia improve their innovation capabilities.
Over the years, the Institute’s Foundation has donated millions of pounds to the science, engineering, and technology education sector, and has helped to improve the lives of over 700,000 people by providing educational opportunities. In her spare time (which is a laugh as Mish has none!) – so apart from trying to invent a time machine which gives her some more time, Mish also enjoys writing, and reading (thrillers and adventure novels from all genres), painting and singing.
Q & A Interview
Your rather phenomenal books are fast-paced, ruthless political spy thrillers blended with thought-provoking sci-fi. In fact, your series ‘The Trusted’ has been likened to “007 on acid with aliens,” which riveted readers and reviewers. What made you want to combine these two genres, and how do you do it so well?
Growing up, I always loved the fast-moving spy thrillers from the pens of Ian Fleming, Robert Ludlum, and Tom Clancy, alongside the sci-fi classic authors Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clark, Phillip K Dick, and later Richard Morgan and William Gibson. I thought wouldn’t it be great to meld the cool spy action with really thought-provoking sci-fi. Before I wrote The Trusted Thriller Series, I had read a considerable amount.
I had discovered that these genres hadn’t been fused before, well, not in the way I have done. With the Marvel and DC Comics universes, there are aspects of espionage with obvious sci-fi elements, but these aren’t reflective of the things my books contain.
For instance, the world inhabited in the TrustedVerse has a brutal alternate history, but also mirrors our own world, with politics, subterfuge, terrorism, and greed. The Trusted Thriller Series is graphic, ruthless, and visceral. Scenes sear onto the eyeballs of readers in a shocking unforgettable way.
I take the reader to places they’re not prepared for. The Dominant (part 2) for example, is extremely dark at times, but humor helps to lighten the moment. But all my books aren’t for the faint-hearted. Cozy this ain’t!
Many readers are amazed at how quickly they ‘accept’ the worlds I build. This is the reason why the spy and sci-fi genre fusion works so well in my books. I create worlds that still have relevance and shadow our society’s norms and values.
The Kudamaz, who are the interdimensional beings in the realm of Kudamun (it’s not a planet, but rather outside of reality and the universe’s spacetime), are very bureaucratic, pious, and political. They have two houses, and the lead house governs the High Council and Kudamun. We could easily be talking about the Senate in the US or the House of Parliament in the UK. It’s immediately recognizable and doesn’t come over as jarring or strange.
With the fast-moving spy action of lead protagonist Dr. Sam Noor, an MI-6 field operative, his nemesis Salim Al Douri, and his second in command Sabena Sanantoni driving the storyline along, the sci-fi moments seek to underpin a greater meaning to the ensuing earth-based terrorist chaos.
Within all the spy action-adventure of Sam Noor, the reader is also introduced to Ellie Noor, Sam’s wife and the woman Sam has lied to for over a decade. As the plot reveals more, the reader learns Ellie also hasn’t been telling quite the whole truth to her husband either.
There is a constant feeling of mystery and unease – a sense of only seeing part of the puzzle. Layers are hidden from view. And this is exactly right. Over the course of the five-book serial, massive plot lines are revealed, with intricacies and complexities balanced and carefully nuanced against a backdrop of jaw-dropping, mind-blowing reveals and incredible world-building.
There is also another aspect as to why everything in my books works seamlessly together, the spy and sci-fi delve into science, engineering, and technology innovations (an area I’ve over 28 years of experience in) to create amazing technological inventions that are still grounded in reality. They’ve extrapolated versions of current sci-tech capabilities. But for the reader, they’re easily explained and believable.
Not everyone is able to become an international bestselling author, what is the key to your success?
The key is creating something that is genuinely different, that delivers enjoyment, and makes readers want to find out more. One reader said she didn’t know the meaning of the words ‘can’t read it fast enough’ until she started to read The Trusted Thriller Series.
Another key component is creating characters that readers can invest in; they can believe in them and they show multiple flaws (they’re not superhuman even if they appear to be) – they have foibles like all of us.
Whether Kudamaz or human in origin – all my characters demonstrate characteristics that give them humility or piety. They all have psychological issues and none are perfect. Such imperfections make a connection with the characters stronger for the reader.
One point that shouldn’t be forgotten, and has gone a long way to the success of the series is accessibility. Despite the sometimes complex subject matter, I don’t write at a level that feels ‘inaccessible’ to readers, in fact, readers do quote that I am “accessible, readable and consistent.”
It’s about making things feel like they’ve always been there. The technologies, the threats to Earth and the Universe, and the ancient Kudamaz artifacts that are employed to solve problems, all feel like they could easily actually exist, that those scenes in my books could potentially be playing out in some alternate world, in another dimension…perhaps?
A great story is all about the setting, the descriptiveness, and the raw energy that captivates, all coming together to have the reader turning the pages effortlessly. ‘The Trusted’ series includes all of them, what is one of the keys that you find is critical when getting into the writing zone?
Anyone who has met me knows that I’m passionate when I write or talk about my books. Whilst writing them, I’d feel a flow of energy signaling a surge of words. Every time that energy built up, complete scenes run through my head.
I’d get down the scenes, whatever was blasting around in my mind, and then I’d work backward, using mind mapping to plot chapters characters,, interconnections plot lines, characters, and all the technical stuff that makes readers go “wow!” plot a mind map, detailing the technical or complexities of each chapter, focusing on a key character.
In my books, I enjoy making places and scenes come alive with graphic, visceral descriptions. From The Trusted, which takes in globe-hopping spies leaping between Washington DC and its suburb Alexandria, London, Winchester, Dubai, the Caribbean, Rome, Cairo, and the interdimensional realm of Kudamun.
The places are described enough to transport the reader, but not so much as for the descriptions to take over the action. The short chapters pelt the reader around and give a sense of speed and exhilaration. Readers often comment about their “adrenaline pumping!” and some of the spy-craft I’ve used has been compared to “observing lessons at the Farm”.
A reader needs to be aware and reads taking notice of everything, and everything is in fact connected. Words are loaded throughout the books, and some things that seem inconsequential become relevant. Many readers say “it’s difficult to second-guess,” and that’s what I love to do.
Take readers down paths, then flip characters, and circumstances, so that outcomes shatter expectations and make the book’s real page-turners.
You have a lot of fans. What was the most interesting feedback or question you have received from a reader?
My books merge spy and sci-fi (some say I drift into supernatural as the Kudamaz are more omnipotent god-like beings rather than aliens), and therefore the big question I’m asked is ‘do I have real experiences?’ The answer is yes. What I can say is that I’ve seen some very unusual, and totally unexplained phenomena.
I’ve even been on the UK News program (Channel 5 News) talking about my experiences. I witnessed a strange pyramid-like structure revolving around in the sky, back in March 2006. Later in 2009, I was interviewed on Channel 5 news (link on Youtube), where I described what I saw.
Only last year, the Pentagon released an official confirmed sighting of the very same type of UFO type – a pyramid – that I had seen back in 2006. They released three videos of sightings between 2004 and 2017 by US Navy pilots. Quite a vindication for my sighting!
I’m sure your fans are dying to know – do you have a new book in the works you can tell us about?
Yes, I do. It’s a reboot of the very short novella that I wrote back in late 2020 – Operation Oystercatcher. It’s set in the TrustedVerse. That means it has the same characters – Sam, Ellie, Kinley, Salim, and Sabena, but it is a prequel, as the action happens 2 years prior to events in The Trusted serial (2017).
Operation Oystercatcher is an ultra fast-moving, spy terrorism, technothriller that’s brutal as it is breath-taking. In typical fashion, Sam Noor is flung around the world on the trail of the Pearl – a high tech device that will change 21st Century life… starting off on glistening beaches and sultry nightclubs of Rio, and then it’s a skip and a jump into downtown Dubai, off to London, then Washington DC, dropping into the mountains of Turkey, before arriving in the leafy glades of stock-broker belt Richmond Park in the UK. It’s thrilling, sexy, and no-holds-barred
To learn more about Michelle Medhat, check out her website.
“The Trusted” is available on Amazon by clicking here.