If you have a specific question or comment for Steve, click on Contact. Steve does read every e-mail, but staff responds. Occasionally, though, he answers some himself.
His first three novels, The Amber Room, The Romanov Prophecy, and The Third Secret are stand-alone stories, as is The Columbus Affair, and The Omega Factor. The Cotton Malone series begins with The Templar Legacy and continues with The Alexandria Link, The Venetian Betrayal, The Charlemagne Pursuit, The Paris Vendetta, The Emperor’s Tomb, The Jefferson Key, The King’s Deception, The Lincoln Myth, The Patriot Threat, The 14th Colony, The Lost Order, The Bishop’s Pawn, The Malta Exchange, The Warsaw Protocol, The Kaiser’s Web, The Last Kingdom, and The Atlas Maneuver. Though that is the stated order of the series, and if read in that order there will be things familiar, the stories are constructed so that a reader can start the series at the end, the beginning, or anywhere in between and not be disappointed. Steve also has four e-book original stories, The Balkan Escape, The Devil’s Gold, The Admiral’s Mark, and The Tudor Plot. He has collaborated with M.J. Rose for the Cassiopeia Vitt novellas, The Museum of Mysteries, The Lake of Learning, The House of Long Ago, and The End of Forever. Steve has also co-written two novels with Grant Blackwood, Red Star Falling, and The 9th Man, both Luke Daniels Adventures. He also contributed material to the highly successful anthologies Thriller, First Thrills, FaceOff, and MatchUp.
His first two, The Amber Room and The Romanov Prophecy, were both national bestsellers. His next novel, The Third Secret, became an instant bestseller, debuting at #13 on The New York Times hardcover list and climbing to #5 on the Times paperback list. His fourth, The Templar Legacy, entered at #4 on The New York Times list and spent 8 weeks in the top 10. It also climbed into the top 10 on the USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Booksense bestseller lists. The Alexandria Link debuted on The New York Times hardcover list at #2. The Venetian Betrayal became an instant New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestseller in both hardcover and paperback. The Charlemagne Pursuit opened in the top 10 on both The New York Times and Publishers Weekly lists. It also was a USA Today bestseller and was selected as one of the 5 Best Thrillers for 2008 by Library Journal. The Paris Vendetta, The Emperor’s Tomb, The Jefferson Key, The Columbus Affair, The King’s Deception, The Lincoln Myth, The Patriot Threat, The 14th Colony, The Lost Order, The Bishop’s Pawn, The Malta Exchange, The Warsaw Protocol, The Kaiser’s Web, The Omega Factor, and The Last Kingdom, were all New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today bestsellers.
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There are over 25,000,000 copies worldwide.
Rights to his novels have been sold in 52 countries and 41 languages.
Check out the Events page, everything is listed there.
Steve does not limit the number of books he’ll sign. However, some bookstores have policies about what you can bring to their store, so always check with the store first.
Steve would love to visit every city where he has a fan, but it takes him every bit of 12 months to research and write each novel. He still tours extensively (7 - 10 cities) when a new book is released. He also travels with his History Matters foundation to many places across the country. To see where Steve will be, click on the Events page.
Before being published Steve twice won the annual fiction contest of State Bar of Georgia. In June 2005, he was selected by the Georgia Writer’s Association (based on The Romanov Prophecy) as its Author of the Year. Then, in October 2005, the Amelia Book Island Festival bestowed on him their first Stellar Award. The Charlemagne Pursuit was selected as one of the 5 Best Thrillers for 2008 by Library Journal. In 2010 the Amelia Island Book Festival made him their first Literary Leader. In March 2011, Steve received the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award from the University of Scranton. During 2012 and 2013, the American Library Association chose Steve as their national spokesperson for Preservation Week. For 2013, several awards came Steve’s way. The first was the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, given by Poets & Writers each year. Next, International Thriller Writers gave Steve its coveted Silver Bullet award. Both of these were in recognition of Steve’s work for historic preservation. The final honor was the 2013 Human Writes Award bestowed by The Anne Frank Center to a writer “whose body of work explores relationships and the ideas and ideals that have become synonymous with Anne Frank.” In 2015, Steve was named Author of the Year by the Cobb Library Foundation (the Carol and Jim Ney Literary Award). A 2010 NPR survey named The Templar Legacy one of the top 100 thrillers ever written. Suspense Magazine named The Lincoln Myth one of its Best Books for 2014. The Patriot Threat was chosen by the Audio Publishers Association (its Audie Award) as the best Thriller/Suspense audio production of 2015. In October 2017, Steve was honored as the 2017 Writer of the Year by the Florida Writers Association. Then, in November 2017, he and his wife, Elizabeth, received The San Jacinto Star Award (Texas) for their philanthropic work with History Matters. The Lost Order was chosen by RT Book Reviewers’ as the 2018 Thriller of the Year.
The Cotton Malone series is laid out in reverse order on the Books page, but here’s the sequence: The Templar Legacy (2006), The Alexandria Link (2007), The Venetian Betrayal (2007), The Charlemagne Pursuit (2008), The Paris Vendetta (2009), The Emperor’s Tomb (2010), The Jefferson Key (2011), The King’s Deception (2013), The Lincoln Myth (2014), The Patriot Threat (2015), The 14th Colony (2016), The Lost Order (2017), The Bishop’s Pawn (2018), The Malta Exchange (2019), The Warsaw Protocol (2020), The Kaiser’s Web (2021), The Last Kingdom (2023), and The Atlas Maneuver (2024). The remaining books are Stand Alone Novels: The Amber Room (2003), The Romanov Prophecy (2004), The Third Secret (2005), The Columbus Affair (2012), and The Omega Factor (2022). Steve has also co-written two novels with Grant Blackwood, Red Star Falling (2024), and The 9th Man (2023), both Luke Daniels Adventures,
Unfortunately, no. For legal reasons, it’s simply not possible. But, if you can, try and attend one of his History Matters writing workshops where you’ll get the next best thing.
In November 2006 Steve was elected to the Board of Directors of International Thriller Writers. A year later he was chosen as one of ITW’s co-presidents, a position he held until October 2010. He remains a member of International Thriller Writers. In 2011 Steve was asked to join the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board and served through 2018. He is now an emeritus member of that board.
Just take the book back to the store from which you bought it. They will gladly exchange the defective book for a new, good copy. You do not need a receipt to exchange a misprinted book.
He’s a thriller junkie, reading a wide variety of writers. Steve was a Dan Brown fan long before The DaVinci Code. Clive Cussler is another of his favorites—the undisputed master of ‘high concept.’ Other writers Steve enjoys include, Robert Ludlum, James Rollins, Frederick Forsyth, Steve Martini, Ken Follett, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Kay Penman, Lee Child, and David Baldacci.
He was born in Copenhagen while Steve was sitting at a café in Højbro Plads, a popular Danish square. That’s why Cotton owns a bookshop there. Steve wanted a character with government ties and a background that would make Malone, if threatened, formidable. But he also wanted him to be human, with flaws. Since Steve also loves rare books, it was natural that Cotton would too, so Malone became a Justice Department operative, turned bookseller, who manages, from time to time, to find trouble. Steve also gave him an eidetic memory, since, well, who wouldn’t like one of those? At the same time, Cotton is clearly a man in conflict. His marriage has failed; he maintains a difficult relationship with his teenage son; and he’s lousy with women.
He made the decision to write a novel in 1990. It was something Steve thought about for years, but finally decided to act on. That first attempt was long and awful. The second and third attempts weren’t much better. It wasn’t until the fourth try that he began to appreciate the reality that writing novels is hard. Steve kept writing for 12 years and produced 8 manuscripts. Each one was a learning experience and, as he wrote, Steve studied the craft. His education was one of trial and error. He attended a writing workshop once a week for 6 years, where the participants would tear apart everything he wrote. Then he’d go home and put it all back together again, hopefully, a little better than before. Between the workshop, the writers’ group, and writing every day, Steve taught himself the craft. Not until six years into the process was he fortunate to land an agent. She kept him around for 7 years until May 2002, when Ballantine Books finally bought The Amber Room. During those years five different manuscripts were submitted to New York publishers, each one was rejected, 85 rejections in total, until eventually, on the 86th attempt, the right-editor-at-the-right-time-with-the-right-story was found. Like Steve says, ‘he may or may not know much about writing, but he’s an expert on rejection.’
The best advice is the simplest. Write what you love. And do it every day. There’s only one way to learn how to write and that’s to write.
They come in the strangest places and at the oddest of times. The Amber Room was born while listening to the Discovery channel. The Romanov Prophecy appeared during a tour of the Kremlin. The Alexandria Link was suggested by the host at a book event. The Jefferson Key was something he noticed long ago in law school. The Lincoln Myth was formulated during a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, and The Patriot Threat was conceived while researching The Lincoln Myth. With The Lost Order, he utilized his work on the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board to bring Cotton into the Smithsonian. Finding interesting things from the past and linking them with relevant events in the present is a challenge—one that’s becoming harder and harder—but luckily Steve has solid ideas for his next few books.
Sorry, Steve does not accept or read story ideas from others. Luckily, he has quite a few stashed away in his ‘idea folder’ to keep him busy for the years ahead.
He utilizes a lot of second-hand volumes, visiting old bookshops around the world. Most of his materials are bought at the Chamblin Bookmine in Jacksonville, Florida. Steve utilizes around 200-300 sources for each novel. When done, he trades the books in for credit and starts again for the next novel. Sometimes on-site research is necessary to fully develop the story. He flew to Russia for The Amber Room and The Romanov Prophecy and to Rome for The Third Secret. Time in France was necessary for The Templar Legacy. A visit to the abbey at Belem, in Portugal, helped complete The Alexandria Link. Trips to Venice for The Venetian Betrayal and Germany for The Charlemagne Pursuit were also productive. For The Paris Vendetta, Steve spent four days in the city of lights. To create The Jefferson Key, Steve visited Virginia, North Carolina, Washington D.C., and New York City. The Columbus Affair required a few days in both Prague and Jamaica, where he discovered an interesting link between those two locales. For The King’s Deception, Steve made two trips to London and its surrounding communities. The Patriot Threat involved trips to Venice, Croatia, and four times to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. The Lost Order required several trips to Washington D.C. and roaming the back rooms of the Smithsonian’s many museums. The Bishop’s Pawn is a tribute to Florida, as all the locales for the story are in that state (and Steve lives there too). The Malta Exchange involved trips to Lake Como in Italy and the island of Malta, which is one of Steve’s favorite places. For The Warsaw Protocol, Steve ventured 300 meters down into the ground inside the salt mines outside Krakow, Poland.
Writers Market and The Guide to Literary Agents (from Writer’s Digest) are the two best resources to find either.
It’s a foundation Steve and his wife, Elizabeth, started to aid communities in raising funds for historic preservation. To find out more check out the History Matters pages.
Steve is constantly asked, “Are there any plans to bring Cotton Malone to the big screen?” Hopefully, it won’t be too much longer. Several production companies have optioned the rights in the past but, as of now, all of those options have expired. So the rights are currently available.