Countdown In Cairo, Russian Trilogy Series #3Countdown In Cairo, Russian Trilogy Series #3
Noel Hynd
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Countdown in Cairo takes readers on a nonstop spellbinding chase through a modern world of terrorists,art thieves, and cold-blooded killers. When federal agent Alexandra LaDuca travels to Egypt to investigate thepossible sighting of a former mentor, she is throwninto the deadliest game of double cross in her career. An American woman working alone, she must rely on her wits, her training, and her skill with lethal weapons not just to succeed, but also to survive.

Note: Content has strong language.

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Noel HyndNoel Hynd lives in southern CA. He has over four million books in print throughout the world and is the bestselling author of the highly acclaimed novels The Enemy Within, Flowers from Berlin, and Ghosts. Mr. Hynd is also  a frequent contributor to various magazines which include Harper's, Sports Illustrated, World Traveler, The Reader's Digest, and The Pennsylvania Gazette, the alumni magazine of the University of Pennsylvania, for whom he is the monthly sports columnist.

Favorite Verses: Psalms 121:1-2  I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2  My help [cometh] from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

John 14:2  In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.


 Our Interview with Noel Hynd


Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’ve been a professional author my entire adult life which, it seems, now includes quite a number of years. I’m from New York City originally (please don’t hold that against me) and grew up in Connecticut. I’m a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. I’ve written mostly espionage thrillers but also had some very successful supernatural novels (well, the stories were supernatural, not the books) during the 1990’s. The best known is Ghosts. I also used to write for Sports Illustrated (hockey and baseball) as an outside contributor. I live in the Los Angeles area with my wife, Patricia. I can be easily found on Facebook by anyone reading this.

How did you come up with the concept for Countdown in Cairo?

Cairo is the conclusion of a first trilogy for Zondervan, featuring Alex LaDuca, who’s a trouble shooter for the US Treasury. Sometimes, she becomes a trouble shooter, as I try to keep the plot zipping along.

Is any part of Countdown in Cairo true?
Only the historical background of what has gone on in the middle east and Egypt. I try to set a modern action-adventure story into real times and places to add credibility.

How closely is Countdown in Cairo based on your life experiences?
Not very, fortunately for everyone.

How long did Countdown in Cairo take you to complete?
About a year. I’m easily distracted. ;-)

Do you have a favorite character in Countdown in Cairo? Why?

Many. Alex, obviously, and a spy name Voltaire. I hope to use him again.

How much research did Countdown in Cairo take?

A lot: I did a lot of reading and a lot of talking to people who have been there and people in the diplomatic community.

What was the most interesting fact that you learned while writing Countdown in Cairo?

Cairo is perhaps the noisiest city in the world. Everyone comments on the incessant din of the city. Beyond that, Egypt has a long rich history which most of us do not know about. It was also a very Christian city up until several hundred years ago.


What were your favorite books as a child?

My father was an author. I loved to read his stuff and still do. Beyond that, I loved to read about baseball.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
Summoning up the concentration to write almost every day.

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?
Hearing from readers. I include an e-mail address in all my books and love to hear from people all over the world. ( I answer everything.

What is your writing style?   (Do you outline?  Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants?   Or somewhere in-between?)
Yes, yes and yes. The best ideas come to me after going through a draft two or three times.

Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?

I guess you could call it that. One finds a greater depth possible in characters and stories as you work on them longer.

What other new projects do you have on the horizon?
Well, the primary one is a second trilogy for Zondervan, continuing my main character. But I also have an agreement with the French publisher Dargaud to translate and novelize a French-language graphic novel series titled Djinn. It’s a wonderful story set in the final days of the Ottoman Empire (circa 1914) and in the present day. The author is a brilliant Belgian author named Jean Dufaux whom I’ve met and have become friends with. The illustrator is a stunning Spanish artist named Ana Miralles. If you Google the series, you’ll find plenty, but almost nothing in English…..I went to a French speaking school in Switzerland for a while during my high school years, thus I have a certain proficiency in French, or at least like to think I have.

What message would you like your readers to take from Countdown in Cairo?
Well, the Christian theme of forgiveness runs through the trilogy.


What is your greatest achievement?

I like to think I’m a decent and respectful human being.

What is your goal or mission as a writer?

Really, to entertain people with a solid story and work in some ideas or questions that people can think about and take away.

What do you do to get away from it all?

Watch baseball. I continue to learn French and Spanish. I travel when I can. I have a wonderful wife whom I have no desire to get away from.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

You’ll be sorry you asked…..
I’m frequently asked how I first got published, and there’s a wonderful story therein involving Robert Ludlum & James Baldwin and I’ll use this as an excuse to tell it.

As you know, Ludlum and Baldwin were huge literary stars from the sixties well up to the 1990's. Ludlum is such a big star that he continues to write thrillers after his 2005 death. But this space is not about that.......... These two men helped get me published, but not in the way you think. They didn't even know they were doing it. And I didn't either.

My first agent represented Mr. Baldwin at the time. This was in 1974. Baldwin, while a brilliant writer, had had some nasty dealings with the head of Dell Publishing. Dell held Jimmy's contract and he could not legally write for anyone else until he gave Dell a book that was under contract. He refused and went to Paris to sit things out.

The book was due to The Dial Press, which Dell owned. Baldwin was widely quoted as saying....and I'm cleaning up the quote here, that he was “no longer picking cotton on The Dell plantation."

The editor of The Dial Press was a stellar editor who was making a name for himself and a good bit of money for the company publishing thriller-author Robert Ludlum. Anyway, Baldwin fled New York for Paris. The editor followed, the assignment being to get him to come happily back to Dial.

As soon as the editor arrived, Baldwin fled to Algeria. Or maybe Tunisia. It hardly mattered because Baldwin was furious and simply wouldn't do a book for Dell/Dial. The editor returned to NY without his quarry. Things were at a standstill.

That's where I entered the story. I had given 124 pages of a first novel to the agent ten days earlier. Miraculously, his reader liked it and then HE liked it. So I became a client. It was in the same genre that Ludlum wrote in and which the editor excelled at editing and marketing.

The agent and editor ran into each other one afternoon in July of 1974 in one of those swanky Manhattan places where people used to have three martinis for lunch. The agent asked how things had gone in Europe. the editor told him, knowing full well that the agent already knew. The next steps would be lawyers, Baldwin dragged into US Courts, major authors boycotting Doubleday/Dell, and.......but not so fast.

The agent offered the editor the exclusive first look at a new adventure/espionage novelist (me). IF Dial wanted me after reading my 124 pages, they could sign me, but only IF Baldwin was released from his obligations at Doubleday. I was the literary bribe, so to speak, the hostage, the player that was named later, that would get Jimmy free from Dial. It seemed like a great idea to everyone. It seemed that way because it was. Paperwork was prepared and paperwork was signed.

Voila!...Dial took a look at the novel, liked it, instructed me on how to raise it to a professional level as I finished writing it over the next ten months. I even felt prosperous on my $7500 advance. Dell released Mr. Baldwin from his obligation. Not surprisingly, he went on to create fine books for other publishers. Ludlum did even better.

That's how I first got published. I met Ludlum many times later on and Baldwin once. Years had passed so I told them the story, which, btw, even I didn't know about until 2 years after it happened. They were both amused. Ludlum liked my name "Noel" and told me he was going to use it for an upcoming character named Noel Holcroft. That amused me in return.

I came out of it with my first publishing contract, for a book titled 'Revenge' which did modestly well and then got wonderfully lucky again with a movie sale. The film never got made but a big check cleared.

Sometimes you just get lucky.



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