Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Michael Shusko Author Interview

Photo Content from Michael Shusko

Michael Shusko, MD, MPH, FAAFP, FACOEM, was raised in Long Branch, NJ. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1985 after graduating high school.

Dr. Shusko cut his teeth in the military in the mid-1980s and early 1990s. As his first assignment, he attended the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, CA, where he studied Arabic. Upon completing his language training, he worked on intelligence and medical missions across the globe. He spent time in Liberia, served as a Marine during the first Gulf War, and worked for several years with the Defense Attaché’s office at the US Embassy in Kuwait.

After returning to the States in 1995, Dr. Shusko focused his attention on earning his bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern studies from Rutgers University while studying Persian-Farsi at Princeton. He then transferred to the Navy Medical Corps and enrolled in medical school at Wake Forest University, obtaining his Medical Degree in 2002. He also studied at Harvard University, earning his Master's of Public Health degree in 2013.

Dr. Shusko is a family medicine physician, an occupational medicine physician, and a preventive medicine physician. His Middle Eastern experience and language skills coupled with his background in special operations and intelligence keep him busy deploying around the world. He has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia, and has been awarded the Bronze Star twice for service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He currently lives in Japan with his wife and 17-year-old triplet sons.


Can you tell us when you started EVIL WINDS, how that came about?
I started writing Evil Winds back in 2010, a few years after I returned from some work I did in Africa. The story had been on my mind for a while, but the Tradecraft Series was still only conceptual at the time. Once I began writing the series in earnest in 2012, I quickly incorporated Evil Winds.

What is needed for a story to be good?
I think a good, realistic plot. I feel my stories connect with the reader because they are believable while being entertaining at the same time. Certainly, there needs to be good character development and solid writing, but without a good plot, I feel it’s difficult for a reader to stay engaged with the book, let alone the entire series.

What do you hope for people to be thinking after they read your novel?
After reading one of my books, especially in the Tradecraft Series, I hope people feel that things in the world are not as bad as the news makes them out to be. People are different throughout cultures, yes, but I believe, at the core, people are very similar. They want the same basic necessities in life. To love and be loved, live and let live. When we realize these similarities, perhaps we can appreciate that all people should be respected and valued, despite our differences. Then, perhaps, we can treat each other the way we would like to be treated ourselves.

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?
Probably Chapter 3. While I will never condone the violence terrorists and extremists under any banner use to try to force others to accept their beliefs, in order for us to address this scourge in our society, we need to understand the motivation and reasons why it exists. How do seemingly normal people commit such evil deeds? What drives them to cross that line? Objectively understanding the factors and contributors that lead ordinary men and women down that destructive path may help address the true root of terrorism and provided a means to stamp it out before the bullets start to fly.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Try to write every day, even if it is to review what you have previously written. For me, that keeps me engaged in my story and the characters. While I may not write a new chapter each day, my mind goes over plots and pieces of the of the story and keeps me connected to the world I created.

What part of Angie and Jason did you enjoy writing the most?
I enjoyed exploring their individual motivations. Angie, although at first perhaps a little naïve, her strong desire to expose the evil that she saw in the region was inspiring. Jason was in the refugee camp for different reasons, but his compassion and commitment to those suffering around him was every bit as strong as Angie’s.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I have already finished book number four in the series (The Fifth Column:Tradecraft Phase Three) and am currently working on An American Hero:Tradecraft Phase Four. After the next and last book in the series, I will focus on a few other projects I have, most in the Thriller genre, but I have a few surprises as well.

What are you most passionate about today?
Certainly, I’m passionate about my writing. Probably because through it I can discuss many other topics that I am just as equally passionate about: international affairs, religious and multicultural relations, personal freedom, PTSD, underground crime including arms trafficking, human trafficking, slavery, child soldiers, etc.


  • 1. Angie Bryant: Young and beautiful, ready to save the world 
  • 2. Jason Russo: compassionate and dedicated to his medical craft and patients, but holds a secret 
  • 3. Steve Connors: Your favorite spy that pops is the thread that runs through the Tradecraft Series 
  • 4. Halima: Resilient and adorable 
  • 5. Matak: A young man who is ripped from his family and forced into a twisted world of evil 
  • 6. Mobassa: Strong leader with a weak spot for his family 
  • 7. Shao Ying: As stunning as she is mysterious 
  • 8. Abdullah al-Harbi: One man’s terrorist, another man’s freedom fighter 
  • 9. Dr. Emma Hess: A brilliant Harvard physician, main character in Vector:Tradecraft Phase Zero. Has a couple of small but crucial appearances in this book. 
  • 10. Hussein bin Mohammed al-Fadi: the epitome of evil, a fierce and brutal warrior who will stop at nothing to realize his goal of leading his people on a crusade to rid his homeland of anyone who is not like him.

Up-and-coming news reporter Angie Bryant is determined to get the scoop on what's really happening in Darfur, no matter the risk. After all, it's the kind of story that will catapult her career to the next level.

Jason Russo is a disillusioned NGO doctor stationed at a refugee camp in eastern Chad. While he tries to help where he can, Jason finds it difficult to get the support he needs to make a difference.

But when the pair witnesses Janjaweed soldiers gun down a dozen Darfurian refugees in cold blood, everything changes. Suddenly, the only assignment that matters is telling the world about the current conditions in western Sudan — at all costs.

Angie and Jason find themselves racing against time as they work to uncover a sinister secret hidden deep in the Sahara. Their efforts put them directly in the path of a lethal Janjaweed commander. If they want to share their shocking discoveries with the global community, they'll have to get past him first.


"I am in awe of the two heroes who have the courage to show the world the truth [...] The location and the risk are sky-high, which makes the story gripping and satisfying to read. Pick this [book] if you like action-packed, heart-gripping ones." Read Try Write

"[Y]ou will have chills within your whole body. [...] The author blends many different sects, viewpoints and colorful characters into this plot. [...] A must-read [for those who want] to understand why Africa is called the lost continent and why more needs to be done for the people there." 
Fran Lewis, Just Reviews

You can purchase Evil Winds at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you MICHAEL SHUSKO for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Evil Winds: Tradecraft Phase Two by Michael Shusko. 


  1. Someone who is rich enough to get me off the island!!

  2. I would like to have Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and Drew Carey to keep me laughing.

  3. I would say Dwayne "The Rock' Johnson, Tom Cruise and Prince Harry.

  4. I love the cover. It fits the story.

  5. An exciting story. I like reading about the story of success. To my mind, everybody needs to give some motivation, it's great when you want to be better. Last year I bought an essay on But this year I want to try my our skills and write it by myself.