Monday, October 25, 2010

"I’ve never held a gun, but I still shoot people."

I'd like to welcome Canadian thriller author Russell Brooks to Criminal Minds at Work. As soon as I read the title of Russell's post, I knew it would be perfect for this blog. He's got the same warped sense of humor as the rest of us. Plus he's holding a contest. Russell, take it away! ~Cheryl

A question that I often get about Pandora’s Succession was how I managed to be so detailed about the guns that were used throughout the story. I can relate. I’ve never owned a gun, or fired one for that matter. I tried to get my brother to hook me up since he’s in the Canadian army, but he reminded me that I’d need a permit. After all, this is Canada. However, I knew that it was important to be as descriptive as possible when it came to writing about weapons because I knew that my audience would be composed of current and former military officers, government agents and even police officers. Contrary to popular belief, readers are the most important critics, not book reviewers. You want proof? How many times have critics blasted a movie that you enjoyed. In fact, despite what the critics said, you still recommended it to your friends, correct? So I knew that being as accurate about sidearms or weapons was important if I expected to win back readers for future novels.

As we know, there are several varieties of guns—the Ruger, the Hechler and Koch, the Magnum, and many more. So why was it important for my protagonist, Ridley Fox, to use the Hechler and Koch rather than a Ruger? Why not have Fox use any gun? They’re all the same, right? Wrong. Allow me to let you in on a secret. In a previous draft, Fox used a Ruger in the opening chapter until a buddy of mine—who knows more about guns than I do—advised me that the Ruger would be too large a sidearm for Fox to use—and that he’d never be able to conceal it in the seat of his pants as described in the novel. He suggested that Fox use the Heckler and Koch (HK) instead because it is lighter, smaller, and yields a more powerful punch than the Ruger. I verified the info that he sent me and saw that he was right. I thanked him immediately and replaced Fox’s weapon.

Another matter of importance was that Fox used a noise suppressor—or silencer—in some situations. It was equally important to know that I’d need to arm Fox with a weapon where one can attach a noise suppressor—because not all sidearms accommodate one. In addition the sidearm would have to be small enough for him to conceal. The HK, thankfully, was still the perfect weapon for Fox.

Furthermore, since this is an international thriller, one must expect that in different areas of the world, people would be using different kind of guns. For example, when Fox was in Darfur confronting the Janjaweed, Fox noticed that they were using Chinese-made assault rifles. I read in the news about the immorality of China selling weapons to Sudan since they were being used against innocent Darfurians. Although the situation in Darfur has changed, one could expect the same weapons to still be present in that region.

As illustrated, although I’m not a big gun enthusiast or firearms expert, I had no choice but to learn as much as I can about guns in order to add to the realism of the story. By the way, when I mentioned earlier that I wanted my brother to hook me up with a gun, it was simply for the experience of holding one. That way I can be more descriptive when I write. I’d never think of shooting anyone that gets in my way. Ridley can do that for me.

PS. Thanks Jimmy G. for helping me out again.

I’d like to thank bestselling author, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, for hosting me during this tour.

(You're very welcome, Russell.)

Everyone that leaves a comment with their email address (in the body of your message) will win an autographed book cover. After the blog tour, 10 commentors from all of the blogs will be drawn to win free autographed ebook copies of Pandora's Succession.

Pandora's Succession is available at and  

You can learn more about Russell at:


Russell Brooks said...

Hello, everyone. I`m so happy to be here. I`ll hang around for the day and I`ll be very happy to answer all of your questions.

Eileen Schuh: said...

I own a shot gun. You know you have a stable marriage when your husband buys you a 12-gauge. I'm Canadiann, but I do have my firearms licence and passed my firearms safety course. I shot a grouse, once.

I know a fellow with a handgun permit--we built him an indoor firing range. I intend someday to visit him and experience the feel a pistol in my hand. I checked the regulations--as long as he is with me, it would be legal for me to shoot it.

Enter me in your contest,

Eileen Schuh, Author
"Schrodinger's Cat"

Russell Brooks said...

Wow. I'll bet you'll stay married a very very long time. Fortunately I don't think I'll be needing a shotgun or any gun for that matter. I'm in a relatively safe neighborhood.

Eileen Schuh: said...

In St. Paul, where I live, guns are considered "Sporting Equipment" not weapons. EVERYBODY hunts. We eat lots of grouse, elk, moose, venison, bison...Many, many people here have an arsenol of sporting equipment.
Many people are licenced trappers. Trappers can get a special licence to carry handguns because when one is busy setting/emptying traps, a handgun is the weapon of choice to protect oneself from hungry bears.

Jessica Subject said...

This is a great post Russell, and I can definitely tell you have done your research after reading Pandora's Succession, but not only in terms of weaponry, but in other areas as well. I hope your blog tour is going well.


Russell Brooks said...

@Eileen. As much as I've written about gun use in Pandora's Succession, I don't think that I could use one. I don't think that I could ever take the life of an animal. But just to be clear, that's just me. I don't have anything against hunters.

Russell Brooks said...

@Jessica. The research really tired me out. For the next book, I'm going to do my best to get to know and interview a few gun enthusiasts. I already know one, but it will be important to interview a few more and even have them beta-read my future novels. It'll be less tiring.

Russell Brooks said...

Oh, BTW, Eileen. If I had a gun I'd only use it for self-defense. The idea of being a happy meal for a hungry bear does not appeal to me.

Cheryl Tardif said...

Thank you so much to everyone who dropped by and read Russell's post. And to those who left a comment. Good luck in his contest! :-)

Russell, I wish you the very best with your new novel! Happy promoting!


Russell Brooks said...

Thanks again for hosting me, Cheryl. It was a lot of fun.

Heather Gale said...

Hi Russell, I enjoyed reading your gun research - it reminds me of my mum who confessed to me on her last trip to Canada she knows how to use 'her' gun and practises on a regular basis (in NZ) - things you get to know about your mother when you're older...

I would love to be entered into your contest Russell

Russell Brooks said...

Consider yourself entered, Heather. I'd hate to be the one to annoy your mother, considering her skills, lol.

Jim Gessner said...

@ Russell. I'm always happy to help.