I'm excited to be here on the Harmony Ink Press blog to celebrate the release of Schooled, the second installment in the Codename: Winger series. Unlike the first book, Tracker Hacker where high school student/hockey player/computer genius/covert agent Theo Reese had to travel to Denver for his first field mission, he's much closer to home in this book. This time out, Theo’s high school student and secret agent identities collide as a stolen file he's looking for turns up at the computer science competition he’s attending.
Something I started in the first book, with the guidance of the editors at Harmony Ink, was not to allow Theo to be too perfect. Initially, I'd written him to succeed at what he set out to do--whether it’s a mission, hockey games or anything else.
To make it where Theo doesn't always succeed made things a lot more interesting. Of course, being the hero, Theo overcomes most obstacles. However, there is a twisted path to get there and he doesn’t always get there unscathed. Sometimes it’s only a momentary setback but other times it's significant and leads to him growing as a teenager, as an agent and sometimes both.
In many ways I view Theo's journey as one similar to heroes like Katniss in The Hunger Games series. She has wins and losses, large and small, throughout the series. It's much the same for Theo, although the Winger books are nowhere near as dark as The Hunger Games. There are still plenty of hard knocks and it’s interesting to see what he does in the face of failure.
I'm grateful to the Harmony editorial team for helping me realize that this was a much better way to construct Theo and keep his adventures interesting since you don't know where he’ll succeed and where he won’t. Creating a more rounded character has proven to be a lot of fun even though it can be difficult for me. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to put Theo through the tough stuff, but it’s good for the story and ultimately good for him.
If you're reading the Codename: Winger books, I'd love to know your impressions of Theo and his lows of failure and the highs of coming out on top.
Make sure to get your chance to win a free copy of Schooled by getting entries in the Rafflecopter and visit the other tour stops to get more chances.