Thursday, April 18, 2024

Q&A with Brian J. Morra




Brian J. Morra is the author of the new novel The Righteous Arrows. It's a sequel to his novel The Able Archers. A former U.S. intelligence officer, he lives in Florida and in the Washington, D.C., area.


Q: You’ve returned to your characters Kevin Cattani and Ivan Levchenko in your new novel--did you know when you were writing The Able Archers that you’d be writing a second novel about them?


A: I was not planning to write a series of novels with Cattani and Levchenko until the final stages of writing The Able Archers. It seemed to me that the two had more stories to share.

Q: What inspired the plot of The Righteous Arrows?

A: I was inspired by my own experiences and by those of intelligence officers I knew who served in Berlin and in Pakistan. I also wanted to bring the Soviet War in Afghanistan to life because I think it is an important cautionary tale that we should have learned from and probably didn’t.

Q: How would you describe the dynamic between your two protagonists?

A: That is a terrific question. The Russian GRU officer Levchenko is in some important ways a mentor to Kevin Cattani, who clearly admires the older man.


For his part, I think Levchenko has Cattani’s “number.” He knows the younger man is a striver, but that Cattani also has a very strong sense of fairness and righteousness that guides him and also gets him into trouble.


The two men are almost two decades apart in age but in each other they recognize the positive and worthwhile aspects of the Russian and American souls, respectively. They like and admire each other within the boundaries of the Cold War divisions that defined their lives.

Q: What do you hope readers take away from the novel?

A: I hope they are entertained. And I hope they learn a bit about the continuing peril of confrontation between nuclear powers. I’d like readers to understand that we can learn from the past if we make an effort. And, readers should hold their political and military leaders accountable.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: Oh my. I am preparing the third book in the series, which is called The Wall Breakers. The major thread in this book is the build-up to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Both Cattani and Levchenko are immersed in the events.


I introduce a new character in this book, Lt. Col. Vladimir Putin of the KGB who is based in Dresden, East Germany.


I am anxious to get back to finishing the fifth book in the series. And I am working with my agents on the television treatment for The Able Archers.

Q: Anything else we should know?

A: I am featured in Netflix's new documentary series, Turning Point: The Bomb and the Cold War. It is extremely well conceived and executed. I am featured in episode five, which is about 1983’s Able Archer crisis.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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