The idea for THE NETWORK came to me while I was a corporate marketing executive and I saw how susceptible we all are to the images and messages that inundate us on a daily basis. From advertising to television, and movies, the steady decline in morality has happened so slowly that it has occurred without many people being aware of the shift. I began to wonder, what if these messages were intended to influence and control us more directly?
It is the book that took me the longest to write—I began it over twenty years ago and over the years picked it up, put it down again, added and deleted characters. It wasn’t until I attended my first ThrillerFest in 2014 that I was inspired to finish it once and for all.
THE NETWORK is a fast-paced thriller, with life and death stakes. But it is also a commentary on society. I always start with either a story or a character, not really thinking about the genre it fits into. Moral ambiguity is a strong theme in the book, where characters are forced to look at deeply held views and examine them in the context of different circumstances.
I wanted to tackle issues that on the surface seem black-and-white, but on closer examination are difficult to take a hard stance on. For instance, one might be opposed to or in favor of euthanasia in theory. But when faced with watching a loved one suffer, their position might shift. Conversely, would that same person still be in favor of legalizing euthanasia if that decision was put in the hands of legislators who made the decision which lives have value and which don’t?
This book is very different from the thrillers I write with my sister under the pen name Liv Constantine, where the tension is mostly psychological. It’s one of the reasons that my publishing team thought it best to use a totally different name for these books. L.C. Shaw stands for Lynne Constantine Shaw – Shaw is a variation of my married name. I’ve had to use different muscles for this series, not only because it’s more action-driven, but also because I’ve become accustomed to collaborating.
When I began writing the second in the series (which will come out in 2020) there were times when I wanted to email a chapter to Valerie to have her finish it only to remember that I was writing this one solo!
THE NETWORK is a book that is very close to my heart. I feel like the characters are family (the good ones anyway) and I’m happy that I’m able to continue to spend time with them in future books. I hope readers will connect with the characters and their stories and will want to continue spending time with them as well!