Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Five - Five Fun Things about FINAL VECTOR

About Final Vector

Air traffic controller Nick Jensen’s life is in a shambles. His wife Lisa has died following a horrific automobile wreck and the authorities suspect foul play. He finds evidence suggesting Lisa, a Pentagon auditor, had discovered potentially treasonous material on a fellow employee’s computer, a man who also winds up dead.

Desperate to escape the pain, Nick throws himself into his work and is on duty at the radar ATC facility serving Boston’s Logan Airport on the night U.S. President Robert Cartwright is scheduled to fly into Boston. Armed terrorists storm the facility, killing the security staff and taking Nick’s fellow controller hostage as he works.

Nick escapes capture, but with time running out, must use the information from his murdered wife to unravel the terrorists’ plot and stop an assassination while outnumbered, unarmed and on the run…

Follow Alan Leverone at

Friday Five – Five Fun Things About Final Vector

Thing #1 - I’ve been an air traffic controller for nearly thirty years, ever since being hired by the FAA out of college in 1982. Yet, when I began writing novels, my first two manuscripts were a thriller about a professional assassin trying to leave the business and a horror novel based on a fictional Native American curse.

I was pitching my assassin novel to an agent in 2008 and he had zero interest in it. To pass the time, he asked what I did for work in the real world. When I told him I was an air traffic controller, he smacked his forehead with the palm of his hand and looked at me like I was some kind of moron. “Why don’t you write an aviation thriller?” he asked, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. So I did. It was called Final Vector, and I ended up selling it to Medallion Press.

The funniest part of the story is that I don’t recall the name of the agent who gave me such sage (and free) advice, so I can’t even thank him.

Thing #2 - Much of the action in Final Vector, including the climactic showdown between my hero and the terrorists, takes place in the Boston Consolidated Tracon, which is a real air traffic control facility and, in fact, is the place where I work as a controller. Ever since learning I was writing a novel, my co-workers all want to know:

A) Are they in the book?
B) Do they survive? And,
C) Who is going to play them in the movie?

Of course, all of the characters in my book are fictional, including the controllers, but everyone I work with still continues to believe they are going to be immortalized in the pages of my novel.

Thing #3 - Getting a book published has been an incredible learning experience, and one of the most daunting parts of the process was approaching other authors—people whose work I may have admired from afar and who I barely knew or, in most cases, didn’t know at all—and asking them to accept a copy of Final Vector for the purpose of providing an author blurb. Those are the quotes from authors hyping another author’s book, like, “Final Vector is a non-stop thrill ride and unquestionably the best book ever written!”—Ernest Hemingway*.

Self-promotion does not come naturally to me; I prefer to let my work speak for itself. But I knew I had to do it, so I forced myself to contact a number of authors, asking if they would please, pretty please, consider blurbing my book. Not all of them agreed to do it, but most were extremely supportive, and I received two amazing blurbs from a pair of authors I very much admire: Sophie Littlefield and Vincent Zandri. I was blown away.

Thing #4 - I began blogging in earnest shortly after I got serious about trying to publish my novel-length work. In December, 2009, shortly after I signed my contract with Medallion Press for the publication of Final Vector, I wrote a blog post describing my book deal and how excited I was at the prospect of soon becoming a professional novelist. To my complete surprise, Tom Piccirilli, one of my all-time favorite authors, somehow found my little blog in one of the dead-end back alleys of the information superhighway and left a comment congratulating me on my contract and wishing me best of luck with my novel. I still get goosebumps thinking about that. Tom Piccirilli!

Thing #5 - In Chapter One of Final Vector, we are introduced to my protagonist, Nick Jensen, as he works a busy session on the Final Vector position at Boston. An airplane declares an emergency with smoke in the cockpit, indicating either a fire on board the plane or a serious electrical issue. It’s a very dramatic introduction to Nick’s job as an air traffic controller at the Boston Consolidated Tracon. Unfortunately, in the Advance Review Copy of the book which came out several months ago, the name of the company with the endangered aircraft alternates back and forth for a couple of pages between Atlas Airlines and Global Air!

In my original manuscript, the aircraft with the emergency is identified as Atlas, but my editor at Medallion was concerned about the fact there is a real Atlas Airlines, so we changed the name of the company to Global. Some of these changes were missed during formatting, so my smoke-filled aircraft ends up having two names for a while. Fortunately, the final version has no such issues!

*Not a real quote. Ernest Hemingway is, of course, long dead, so I can only assume this is what he would have blurbed for Final Vector.

Allan Leverone is a three-time Derringer Award Finalist whose short fiction has been featured in Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Shroud Magazine, Twisted Dreams, Mysterical-E and many other venues, both print and online. His debut thriller, titled FINAL VECTOR, is available February 2011 from Medallion Press. For details, please visit or his blog at

Read the Excerpt!

Jackie piped up, his normally high-pitched voice rising a couple of octaves. “So we’re going to use these Stinger missiles to shoot down an airplane?”
“That is exactly correct,” Tony answered. “But not just any airplane. The president is flying into Logan International Airport in Boston very early next Sunday morning. We will be removing him from office. Permanently.”
“The president? The president of what?”
“What do you think?”
Stunned silence filled the room as the significance of Tony’s statement began to sink in.
“The president of the United States?” Joe-Bob whispered. “We’re going to shoot down Air Force One?”
Tony’s eyes glittered like hard black diamonds as he turned his cool smile on his small band of revolutionaries—the group that was about to change the course of history. “That is correct. President Cartwright is scheduled to celebrate the reopening of a historic church in Boston. I have learned that he will be flying into the airport around 5:00 a.m. next Sunday in order to arrive at the church in time to attend a sunrise service. He is then scheduled to lunch in the city with some of his major political contributors before flying back to Washington in early afternoon.
“Of course, as we now know, he will do none of those things, because he will be dead, lying at the bottom of a smoking hole in the ground just shy of Logan Airport. With a little bit of luck, perhaps people in the city will be killed as well, but that remains to be seen.”
Chaos erupted and then died down immediately when Tony held up a hand to silence his men.
Brian shook his head. “But how will we know where the plane is going to be and when to fire the missile? It’s a big sky out there.”
Tony smiled again. “We’ll know because we’re going to tell the pilot where we want him to go.”

Watch the Trailer!


  1. Great post! Love the trailer! I really want to read this one!

    Michelle V

  2. Thanks Michelle, I was really pleased with how the trailer turned out...


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