Surviving The Lion’s Den trilogy by Matt Scott

by | Mar 28, 2024 | Author | 0 comments

Aversion to Reading: Overcoming Initial Disdain

The Journey “Surviving the Lion’s Den Trilogy”

It’s true. For the longest time, I hated reading. I won’t name the specific novels that put me in such a mood, but let’s just say that it was the “classic” summer reading assignments in high school. The assigned college reading wasn’t much better.  After 9/11, I read as much non-fiction as possible about the terrorist threat against our nation, but I held off on jumping into fiction. While spy movies made from novels such as those belonging to Tom Clancy and others were interesting to me, I shied away from reading them because I deemed them too long and technical. 

Unexpected Recommendation: Embracing Vince Flynn

A few years later, I was on an elevator at work talking to a colleague about spy novels and how I was leery of reading them. Suddenly, another gentleman whom I didn’t even notice was in the box with us, spoke up and told me that I should try Vince Flynn’s novels. To this day, I have no idea who that person was, and I’ve never seen him again, but I consider his presence and suggestion to be absolute Divine intervention. Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code may have welcomed me into the world of reading fiction but Vince Flynn’s novels ensured that I stayed there. I became a true fanboy of Vince Flynn’s novels and his protagonist Mitch Rapp. Since the post 9/11 era was the Golden Age of international thriller novels, this led me to novels by Brad Thor, Joel C. Rosenberg, Daniel Silva, and others.

Overcoming Doubt: Inspired by David Baldacci

Years of reading inevitably spark one’s own creativity and I started having ideas about writing a spy novel of my own but remained apprehensive about the prospect of doing it. I had no real-world experience in either the intelligence field or writing a novel. At the time, I was just a lowly corporate world employee. Self-doubt is a curse to us all. Two years later, I drove through a snowstorm to meet David Baldacci at a book signing and asked him if, at 40-years-old, I was too old to write my first book. After stopping mid-signature, he politely looked up at me with a smile and said, “hell no” and that I should get to work. I began outlining what would become my first novel a few weeks later.


​I’d never planned to write a political spy trilogy, but my eventual publisher liked my first novel enough that he told me that he didn’t want just one novel, he wanted three. Who was I to say no to such an opportunity?

Exploring Iran: A Thrilling Dive

The objective in my first novel, Surviving the Lion’s Den Trilogy, was to write a novel about a kidnapped CIA operative and his chase to escape Iran. This would hook in traditional thriller readers such as myself. But, as I looked at the Iranian threat, it dawned on me that most Americans have no idea what Iran looks like on the inside. So, I decided take readers on journey inside Iran that would detail what it looks like and how it operates at the government level and explore its people who live under the iron first of the Supreme Leader’s regime.

This required a ton of research but was worth it. By intertwining the two aspects,ensuring that the characters run into as many physical and political obstacles as possible, throwing in a secondary villainous Senator who only wanted to serve her own self-interests as well as sprinkling in aspects of friendship and trust in an untrustworthy world, I had the mold for a novel. 

Navigating Challenges: Crafting The Iranian Deception

My second novel, The Iranian Deception, was a bit of a challenge not only because my publisher put me on a tight timeline but also because I was concerned about falling into the dreaded sophomore slump. Armed with this research that Hitler once visited the Shah of Iran in 1939, I decided to double-down and write about the new Supreme Leader of Iran coming into power who wanted to rule the Middle East using a secret connection to the Nazis. I also built on the positive feedback of the book’s predecessor, so I continued to explore Iran and even pivoted to make one of the minor characters from book one my new protagonist. 

The final novel in the series, The Ayatollah Takedown, was my attempt to go for broke. After all, it’s said all bets are off in the third installment in a series. Iran cannot continue to walk the path that it is on, and I believe that regime change in Iran will eventually happen. Of course, I couldn’t depict this in the most functional manner. Where’s the fun in that? But, with some crafty creativity, this novel was my vision of regime change.

Legacy and Onward

Writing these novels was a true confidence builder. Every plotline, character, and twist was a product of my own mind. I reported to no one but myself, and would literally live and die by the sword, which was incredibly empowering. 

An author’s primary objective is to transport their readers from the world that they live in and keep them so interested from page to page that they forget the stresses of their everyday lives even if it is for a short while. But the writer needs to have fun, too.

Exploring Iran though the written word enabled me to maintain the vision that I had for my trilogy and added an element of authenticity to the manuscripts even though I have never travelled there personally (solid research is a thriller writer’s best friend). This played well with the traditional thriller readers, but I also feel that it brought me an audience that I would not normally have. However, nothing will ever come close to the feeling of getting good reviews from retired, real-life CIA operatives.

Thrillers and politics go hand in hand and one can never exist without the other in the same way that no hero can ever prevail without the actions of a villain trying to thwart them. So long as evil exists, we need heroes to stand up to it…and authors to write about them. 

Discover excerpts, book trailers, and more information about my novels at my website.

You can also follow me on social media at @mattscottbooks. 

Grab your copies of the Surviving the Lion’s Den trilogy on Amazon and all e-reader formats.


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