What book should everybody read at least once?
There is no one book. But, for example, if everyone were to read “The creature from Jekyll Island” by Edward Griffin, there would be a world-wide understanding of just how ethically challenged the concept of central banking really is.
If everyone were to read “The Hidden History of The Human Race”, by Thompson and Cremo, then everyone would come to understand that there are some gaping holes in mainstream thought regarding how modern humans may have evolved.
Jane Eyre – published in 1847 – is possibly one of the most significant novels ever published, as can be seen from the following Wikipedia Quote: “Charlotte Brontë has been called the ‘first historian of the private consciousness’ and the literary ancestor of writers like Joyce and Proust. The novel contains elements of social criticism, with a strong sense of morality at its core, but is nonetheless a novel many consider ahead of its time given the individualistic character of Jane and the novel’s exploration of classism, sexuality, religion, and proto-feminism.”
Alert readers will join the dots and come to the realisation that I am personally interested in the human condition and how it evolved over the aeons. I don’t believe it is possible to pick one book that summarises the human condition, although some would argue that everyone should read the Old Testament. Within that particular book – if one looks beyond the apocryphal stories – lies a timeless wisdom that is, unfortunately, largely disrespected in today’s messed-up world.
Are there any books you really don’t enjoy?
Yes. Science Fantasy and Historical Fantasy. To me they represent too great a departure from reality to be regarded as anything other than a way of consuming time.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Where I live right now, in Australia. I count myself amazingly lucky to be living here. Wide open spaces, city sophistication if I want it, genuine laid-back people, fresh air, sunshine.
Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?
The Last Finesse is the prequel to my first book, Beyond Neanderthal. It is set in Burma (now Myanmar) and it tells the story of how the Burmese Junta have been working behind the scenes to entrench their “real” power, regardless of the apparently democratic movie set that they show the world. At face value everything is calm. The reality is quite different. The Last Finesse is a Conspiracy Thriller about how those in power in other (surprising) parts of the world are supporting the Junta to gain a nuclear capability by facilitating a transfer of technology from North Korea. Luke Sinclair is a young Australian professor of mineralogy. In response to a request from the CIA for assistance, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service has seconded him because he is both a leading Australian expert in nuclear technology and a navy reservist. He is to rendezvous with HMAS Gatacre, which will take him to a destination near the Malacca Straits off Thailand, to intercept what is ostensibly a North Korean civilian cargo ship on its way to Burma. The CIA suspects it is carrying nuclear related cargo. As the story unfolds, Luke uncovers a conspiracy so heinous that it has the capacity to destroy all life on the planet.
I wrote The Last Finesse because my first book, Beyond Neanderthal, offered a long term vision for humanity, and feedback from some readers was that they would love to discover if anything practical could be done in the foreseeable future to point us on a more immediate pathway to realising the vision. Next generation nuclear technology is an eminently feasible replacement for fossil fuels, but the general public is terrified of nuclear following Chernobyl and Fukushima. One objective of The Last Finesse is to cut through all the hysteria and media disinformation; and explain what nuclear energy is and how it works and what the “real” dangers are. Geological instability in the region flowing from the Milankovitch cycle and its impact on earth’s climate form a backdrop that needs to be seen in juxtaposition with rising greenhouse gas and water vapour concentration levels in the atmosphere. Via its fictional storyline, the novel examines a range of other “real” problems that global society is facing and suggests ways that they may be addressed.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
Undoubtedly, marketing is the biggest challenge. If you take a bird’s eye view of the book industry, mainstream publishers are interested in one thing: “Will this book sell?” And the answer to that question is only partly dependent on the quality of the writing. Mainly – it seems to me – the agents and publishers look at whether any book being offered is structured according to a cookie-cutter formula. Will the story and its structure cause the reader to turn the pages despite the atrocious post-edit grammar and sentence structure and despite the shallow characters? These formulae are so well known that there are dozens of computer software programs that will lead you by the nose to force your story’s structure to fit the commercial mould. “Literature” ain’t what it used to be. So, if you have something to say, and, to make a publisher happy, you must say it in the way that fits the mould, then, yes, writing can be hard. You need to be prepared to conform. On the other hand, if you want to say something in a way that doesn’t conform then writing may be easy, but you can forget about getting a publisher. It won’t happen. It’s not “hard” it’s impossible. Of course, anyone can easily self publish. There are several organisations that will take your money because they don’t care if the book sells or not. They gamble with your capital and they trade on massaging the writer’s ego.
In my case, I felt I had something important to say and it was more important to me that the message came through loud and clear than that I got the structure right. Of course, it was also important to ensure that the story was sufficiently compelling to get the reader to turn the pages but that didn’t require structure. I just used a few tricks that I had learned along the way. But now the question is: How do I get the public to hear about my books within the cacophony of deafening noise that accompanies the blizzard of books that is hitting the markets? More importantly, how do I achieve this in an environment where people talk and think in sound bites? Most importantly, how do I do this within a budget? My guess is that it will be a function of leveraging off internet technology and choosing the appropriate people/organisations to help spread the message that my books are genuinely above average quality.
Based on early reader feedback, it seems that they are genuinely above average quality. From one perspective, they are unique. They have a specific purpose and that purpose is to satisfy a genuine need in a way that no other books to my knowledge are able to do. Society appears to have lost its way and many people are losing hope for the future. Because my fictional storylines are based on carefully researched fact, my books offer that hope. If your book is a romance novel, as an example, then there is a clear market need for romance novels. But what is it about your romance novel that differentiates it from other romance novels? In marketing terminology, what is its “unique selling proposition”? If it doesn’t have one then whether it is embraced in the market will be more a function of luck than anything else.
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Genre – Thriller
Rating – MA (15+)
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Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.