Interview with Gary D. McGugan – Author of “The Multima Scheme”

THE MULTIMA SCHEME

Gary D. McGugan
Tellwell Talent (2018)
ISBN 9781773706450
Review and Interview by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (8/19)

Gary D. McGugan loves to tell stories and is the author of Three Weeks Less a Day, The Multima Scheme, and Unrelenting Peril. Whether sharing a vision with colleagues in large multinational corporations, helping consulting clients implement expert advice, or writing a corporate thriller, Gary uses artful suspense to entertain and inform. His launch of a new writing career—at an age most people retire—reveals an ongoing zest for new challenges and a life-long pursuit of knowledge. Home may be in Toronto, but his love of travel and broad business knowledge accumulated from extensive experiences around the globe are evident in every chapter Gary writes.

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Hi Gary, Welcome to Reader Views – it’s a pleasure to have you back to talk about The Multima Scheme, the second book in your Multima corporate intrigue series. What is The Multima Scheme about?

Thanks for having me back, Sheri! The Multima Scheme is an entertaining tale about the persistent threats of some nefarious forces in organized crime to infiltrate powerful companies like fictional Multima Corporation.

As a reader, it was exciting to dig into The Multima Scheme right after finishing Three Weeks Less a Day. How soon after you published your first book did you begin writing your sequel?

I began writing The Multima Scheme while my publisher was still fiddling with layouts and cover designs for the first book in the trilogy – Three Weeks Less a Day. Writing the final chapters of the first novel, I started visualizing how Suzanne Simpson might develop and the role she should play in The Multima Scheme.

Did you have a preconceived idea about how you wanted The Multima Scheme to play out or did the plot line develop over time?

I had a clear idea how the character Suzanne Simpson would evolve and how her story would play out. I was more ambivalent about a couple other characters and created new twists and turns in the plot to develop more suspense in the story. This led to unexpected endings for them.

How much of the story came as a surprise to you as you were writing? Did any of your characters end up doing something you hadn’t planned on, taking the story in a new direction?

I think readers will be quite surprised by the character Fidelia Morales. Her ultimate direction came as a bit of a surprise to me also! But I think readers will agree her unexpected pivot adds to satisfaction with the story’s eventual outcome.

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You mentioned in our last interview that it took four years to write Three Weeks Less a Day. How long did it take to write The Multima Scheme? Was it easier, harder or just different?

The Multima Scheme took about 15 months to prepare. “Just different” would be a good description of the experience. While writing the second story, I was intently focused on getting the book completed. As a result, I was more disciplined and sacrificed sales and promotion efforts to concentrate on writing. From that experience, I’ve learned successful writers today must spend as much time promoting books as actually writing them!

What are some of the challenges in writing a sequel?

I had two primary goals that create challenges. First, I wanted each of my novels to be independent, self-contained stories. Second, I was determined to avoid annoying readers of Three Weeks Less a Day with a lot of repetitive details. I think I successfully achieved both objectives.

How do you keep the plot unpredictable without sacrificing believability?

I like to ask the question, “Is it plausible?” Readers of fiction expect authors to stretch the boundaries to create interest and suspense. For every twist and turn, I ask that question during every review and edit. If it doesn’t pass my ‘plausible’ test, I find a way to tweak the plot to make it more believable.

There are a number of characters that morphed into totally different personalities in The Multima Scheme.  What was it like to take already well-developed characters and dig even deeper into their psyches?

Most of us have some complexity. Over time, I find some people are not who they first appear to be. I like to weave that truth into my characters to make them become more authentic and allow readers to better relate to them.

Who is the most interesting character development-wise in The Multima Scheme?

Readers will have to decide that for themselves! Fugitive Howard Knight, executive Suzanne Simpson, conniving Janet Weissel, or aspiring Douglas Whitfield.  They all demonstrate quite interesting attributes readers probably won’t initially expect.

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Which character in your book are you least likely to get along with and why?

Multima Financial Services president James Fitzgerald is a staid, predictable, and perhaps even boring individual who likes to follow all the rules, all the time. I don’t!

If your books were adapted into a movie, who would you cast in the leading roles?

I have no idea! I’ll stick to writing entertaining stories and let folks with a passion for movies answer that one.

Your stories are so creative – how do you come up with your ideas? Have you ever taken any creative writing courses?

Some studies conclude people who read fiction may develop the creative side of their brain more fully. I’ve always enjoyed reading novels and study the ideas and techniques other writers use. In the corporate world, I learned early the value of the concept of ‘thinking outside the box’ and try to let my imagination run wild as often as possible.

What do your family and friends think about your writing? How do they support your writing career? How did it feel sharing your work with them for the first time?

I have an exceptionally supportive family and network of friends around the globe. I’m deeply indebted to them all. They not only buy my books; these great people promote them! Several frequently share posts on social media to help spread the word. All encourage their friends, neighbors, and associates to visit book signings and other events.

My books are a source of pride and satisfaction every time I share my work with a reader. With family and friends, even more so, because I’m confident they’ll each derive some level of enjoyment.

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Do you feel you’ve grown as a writer since you began your first novel? How?

Every day I look back on some positive learning experience I’ve gained from my writing. From technique to structure or style, I think every element of my writing improves with experience, practice, and an eagerness to learn and adapt.

What can readers expect from your final book in the Multima series, Unrelenting Peril?

I think Unrelenting Peril may be the best novel of the trilogy. The story is entertaining, complex, and packed with action. Readers will see my penchant for telling stories in international settings, using a rapid pace with short chapters. I think they’ll want more. So, I’m already working on another novel to be released in 2020. It won’t have Multima Corporation in the background, but it will feature a couple intriguing characters from the Multima trilogy as they follow markedly different paths!

Gary, thank you for visiting Reader Views today. It was a pleasure learning more about you and your work!


CONNECT WITH GARY D. MCGUGAN!

Website:                     https://www.garydmcguganbooks.com
Monthly Blog:           https://www.garydmcguganbooks.com/rendezvous-blog
Facebook:                  @gary.d.mcgugan.books
Twitter:                      @GaryDMcGugan
Instagram:                 https://www.instagram.com/authorgarydmcgugan

MEET GARY D. MCGUGAN!

For readers living in Canada, Gary has personal appearances planned in more than 75 locations of Canada’s largest bookseller – Chapters/Indigo between April and November 2019. Stop by and say hello. Visit his website to find a list of his upcoming events: https://www.garydmcguganbooks.com/news–events.html

Read our book review for Three Weeks Less a Day
Read our interview with Gary D. McGugan about Three Weeks Less a Day
Read our book review for The Multima Scheme

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“Must Love Poetry” by Chriselda Barretto

MUST LOVE POETRY
Chriselda Barretto
Independently Published (2019)
ISBN 9789463881104
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (8/19)

“Must Love Poetry,” by Chriselda Barretto is an eclectic collection of topics expressed in well written poetry. Topics range from Nature, Spirituality, the Universe…you name it and it is within these pages in some shape, or form. When I first saw that this poetry collection was 290 pages, I hesitated a little as this collection had only one author and other poetry books I have read of this size were always multi-author anthologies. I decided to read it like I read the anthologies…in different sittings without paying attention to the table of contents. I found that although I could identify the author’s voice in all the poems, each poem felt totally different than the next one. Each one was well written – some free style, some rhyme more than others, all spoke of different topics, and each expressed a distinct feel. Some of my favorites, to name a few, (although I loved the entire repertoire) are: ‘Soar,’ ‘From Mother to Son,’ ‘The Statue and The Tower,’ ‘Mind Me,’ and the one that really stayed with me, ‘Dark Pearl.’

Barretto has mastered multiple forms of poetry, but her talent of expression is what impressed me the most. To be able to share feelings and provoke thoughts about such a range of topics in one collection is remarkable. I liked the fact that she presented her work in no apparent sequence. This always kept me curious, wondering what the next one would be about, and how it would affect my mind and heart. Would it linger in my thoughts? Would it touch a moment within my life? Would it be about something I haven’t even thought about? Below is a short example to show how the author’s work is not only mind and heart stimulating…but also visually.

‘Dishonest

Living in an age

of dishonesty

Surviving a rage

of pre-occupational hazardry

Collect your thoughts

and reinforce your mental imagery

For this world is the biggest asset

of evolution for humanity!’

I loved “Must Love Poetry” by Chriselda Barretto and consider it a five-star book of poetry for this era. Definitely a must-read for all poetry lovers!

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“Unrelenting Peril” by Gary D. McGugan

UNRELENTING PERIL
Gary D. McGugan
Independently Published (2019)
ISBN 9781999565602
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (8/19)

“Unrelenting Peril” is the final book in the Multima corporate intrigue series by Gary D. McGugan. It’s a ruthless battle for corporate dominance, and with billions at stake it’s a show-stopping dramatic conclusion to a brilliant trilogy.

The executives at Multima Corporation encounter their biggest challenges yet in “Unrelenting Peril,” and the new CEO at the helm, Suzanne Simpson, has her work cut out for her. Suzanne and her leadership team continue to do battle against The Organization, a crime syndicate dedicated to taking over Multima Corporation, no matter the cost. Contending with forces persistent and merciless, Suzanne must bring her “A-Game” to her every waking moment. While planning Multima Corporation’s successional climb to the top of the business world through a joint venture, Suzanne Simpson must outwit and outmaneuver her adversary to block a hostile takeover attempt.

First, the characters – and I can’t emphasize this enough: ALL of the characters in “Unrelenting Peril” are well-developed, multidimensional and intriguing – from the CEO and chairman of the board, to the crime boss, to the administrative staff and housekeeper. Readers easily develop crystal clear mental images of any given character’s physical description, behaviors, attitudes, and inner thoughts, along with a sense of how they will react to any given situation. THEN McGugan spices things up a bit and has a character do something, well – out of character, as he remolds that character into an exciting new personality, i.e., the good guy becomes a bad guy, or vice versa.

Also, as a woman who enjoys the particular drama and intrigue provided in the environment of the corporate atmosphere, I was pleasantly satisfied to find a number of females in key executive positions at Multima Corporation. Kudo’s to McGugan for adding diversity to his stories and successfully rising to the challenge of creating effective authentic characters of the opposite sex – not an easy thing to achieve. Whether it is in the context of sleeping with someone to obtain information, successfully chairing a board meeting or firing a long-time seasoned executive in order to protect the corporation’s image and reputation – the Multima women are fierce!

As to the story itself – “Unrelenting Peril” is another amazing ride. With a number of conflicts involving different characters and businesses, including the FBI, The Organization, and several international corporations, McGugan does a magnificent job of not only sustaining a high level of realistic drama but also escalating conflict and tension, building at a pace that guarantees the reader will not be able to put his books down once they start reading. He takes reasonable circumstances and adds a bit of the extraordinary to create layers of excitement that enhance the overall entertainment value.

One thing is clear – Gary D. McGugan knows how to write top caliber stories. Some authors write predominately character-driven books, while others drive their stories through enticing plotlines.  McGugan does both, and with equal excellence – no small feat, especially in keeping a series exciting and suspenseful with escalating intensity.

I highly recommend “Unrelenting Peril,” along with the entire Multima series.  In fact, I suggest readers consume all of the stories sequentially in the order they were written: “Three Weeks Less a Day,” then “The Multima Scheme,” and finish with “Unrelenting Peril.” While it’s definitely not necessary, as each of the stories stand quite capably on their own – do yourself a favor and get the set.  I can honestly say this is the best trilogy I have read in quite some time and I am really going to miss the characters of this series – kind of like saying goodbye to old friends.


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“Sooner Than Tomorrow” by Dede Ranahan

SOONER THAN TOMORROW
Dede Ranahan
Read First Press (2019)
ISBN 9781732974500
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (8/19)

“Sooner Than Tomorrow: A Mother’s Diary About Mental Illness, Family, and Everyday Life,” by Dede Ranahan is a book that all individuals, families, Senators and Representatives should read. Through her diary and her son Pat’s Facebook posts we travel with the family as they try to negotiate the mental health system, cope the best they can on the good days and mourn with them at the loss of Pat in a psychiatric ward where no one would give her information due to the HIPPA Laws.

What began as a way to capture the family history that someday would become a treasure for her children and grandchildren grew into a documentation of her son’s last year of life where he died unexpectedly in a hospital psych ward where she thought he was safe.

With the author’s honest, poignant, sometimes humorous writing, readers learn about how it is to live with mental illness on a daily basis, the good times and bad. I certainly agree with the author when she says, “We love our children more than your own life,” even when they are adult children. We will do anything for them, anytime, anyplace. But when one doesn’t know what to expect minute from minute or day to day, your life, as you know it, becomes chaotic and full of despair. I admire Dede for her strength, her love and her determination.

As a professional in the mental health system for over twenty-five years, I say the mental health system is not broken because it was never whole.  It is a deeply flawed system, and while it is a much better one than existed previously, it is not perfect.

As we learn with Pat, he is misdiagnosed, rushed through the system, and when hospitalized, there is no follow-up. Involuntary hospitalization as we see with Pat is extremely fast-paced – there’s not enough time to fully do what needs to get done. Too often, individuals are prematurely discharged.

As we get to know Pat, we find that he is talented, loving, intelligent and loved by many. I think incorporating his Facebook posts along with Dede’s diary allows us to get an inside look at the dynamics of her wonderful family. I held my breath, cried, got angry at the flawed system and mourned the loss of a wonderful young man.

I highly recommend “Sooner Than Tomorrow” by Dede Ranahan for anyone who is dealing with or has a family member who has a mental illness. I say this should be required reading for all mental health professionals, member of Congress and those who pass or ignore the mental health crisis we have today.

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“No Place Like Home: Coping with the Decline and Death of Toxic Parents” by Nick Nolan

NO PLACE LIKE HOME: COPING WITH THE DECLINE AND DEATH OF TOXIC PARENTS
Nick Nolan
Little Eden Press (2019)
ISBN 9781073692750
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (8/19)

How does one deal with the aging, declining health, or death of a parent? That’s a tough question, but a growing reality, for many. Let’s add some additional layers to that scenario – suppose you have a parent or parents that are toxic – perhaps they were abusive to you and your siblings.  Perhaps they were cruel, spiteful, mean, destructive or just plain hateful.  Or perhaps, they just stood by and did nothing, or very little, to protect their children from the parent acting out those aforementioned behaviors. The question then becomes: How does one deal with the aging, declining health or death of a parent or parents that were never there for me?

In “No Place Like Home,” best-selling, multi-award-winning author Nick Nolan, tackles this very issue.  He combines a touching, emotionally charged memoir with an invaluable self-help guide. Navigating through many of the events surrounding his childhood, he captures his audience with moving and often heart-wrenching reflection. He honestly and boldly faces the circumstances that formed his reality, sharing his soul so that others may benefit from his experiences. He weaves his personal stories around interviews with eight licensed clinicians specializing in a variety of subjects related to family, gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation, among others. Issues surfacing in the forms of CTE, PTSD, narcissism, abuse (in any form), mental, and other health-related issues are discussed with these specialists.  Nolan also interviews three adults who survived child abuse adding their unique perspectives to the mix.

The result? A fascinating, heartfelt volume containing an abundance of information that is easy to read, follow and understand.  It’s a sometimes brutal, but always honest look at how even the simplest of actions can scar an individual for life. Take football players, or boxers for example – even one blow to the head can damage the brain and the child can grow up into an abusive adult.  Not necessarily because they set out to abuse, but rather because of that one traumatic childhood event.

“No Place Like Home” is a first-rate production. I particularly like the way the book is presented – it’s not a “do this for 30 days and you’ll be cured” type of self-help book, rather it’s a journey of exploration and discovery as Nick Nolan integrates his personal story into the facts provided through his interviews. It feels like a one-on-one experience with a panel of experts guiding the way. There are so many items of significance it’s impossible to relate everything through a review.  Let’s just say, now that I’ve read it through once, I’m going to go back through it and take my time, reading it slowly to better absorb every single word.

“No Place Like Home” is top-notch because Nick Nolan is an excellent writer, an authentic human being and a special soul. He appeals to the reader with his openness and sincerity, and by sharing everything he’s feeling, experiencing and recollecting.  By the time I finished the book, I felt like I had known Nick my whole life and found a lifelong friend. It takes an exceptional individual to write the way Nick does, but it’s so much more than the writing – it’s his overall being, his sensitivity, his moral compass, his compassion that makes him stand out and shine.

I believe Nick Nolan has another best-seller in his repertoire. Not your typical memoir or self-help book, I highly recommend “No Place Like Home.” It arms readers with information necessary to either forgive or make the decision that it’s time to walk away. It is a must-read for anyone struggling with the question, “How do I care for the toxic parent that never took care of me?”

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Interview with Wayne Avrashow – Author of “Roll the Dice”

ROLL THE DICE
Wayne Avrashow
Bowker (2019)
ISBN 9780578433264
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (7/19)

Roll the Dice is the first novel from Wayne Avrashow.  The novel earned a pre-publication award from Kirkus Reviews and has received unanimous favorable reviews from; publications, radio shows, podcasts, authors, elected political officials, motion picture executives, and the general public.

Many of the characters, plots and sub-plots in Roll the Dice are built around events Wayne personally witnessed, read about, or viewed; all with a dash of creative imagination. Whether you are a liberal, conservative or apolitical, the themes of Roll the Dice reverberate in all lives: the strained father-son relationship, the unexpected discovery of romance, the divided loyalties and one’s yearning to make a meaningful impact with life.

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Wayne’s background in politics, government, business, and law provides unique insight into the machinations and characters that populate political campaigns.

His political background includes; being the campaign manager for two successful Los Angeles City Council campaigns and a Deputy/Chief of Staff to those two elected City Council members. He served as a senior advisor for a successful City of Los Angeles ballot referendum, was co-author of ballot arguments, Chairman for a Los Angeles County ballot measure, and was a Los Angeles government Commissioner for nearly twenty years. He currently serves as a Board Member of the Yaroslavsky Institute, a public policy institute founded by long time Southern California elected official and now UCLA professor, Zev Yaroslavsky.

Wayne is a practicing attorney who specializes in government advocacy, real estate, and business law. He was formerly a corporate officer in two business firms.  As a lawyer-lobbyist, he represented clients before numerous California municipalities and in Nevada and Idaho. He has lectured at his law school and taught at Woodbury University in Los Angeles.

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He authored numerous op-ed articles that appeared in daily newspapers, legal, business, and real estate publications.  He is the author of a self-published book for the legal community, Success at Mediation—10 Strategic Tools for Attorneys, a book used for law students in 2018 at the USC Gould School of Law.

Personally, he is the proud father of two wonderful sons Bret and Grant, each pursuing a master’s degree in business administration in Los Angeles and San Diego. Wayne is a lifelong resident in Los Angeles.

Hi Wayne, thank you for joining us today at Reader Views! Tell us, what is “Roll the Dice” about?

Tyler Sloan, a member of the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, exits his Las Vegas residency to campaign for the United States Senate in Nevada. He wages an unconventional campaign, no special interest money, no lobbyists and relies on his charisma and fame.

What inspired this story? 

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The classic movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington influenced me. I watched it on television as a child; one man can make a difference. I was campaign manager for two successful Los Angeles City Council campaigns, been involved in politics all my life, love rock music, I blended the characters I’ve met with the movie’s vision.

What makes Tyler Sloan tick?  Why does he want to run for political office? 

Multiple reasons; he is singing the same songs every night, no new hits; his father was California’s Governor so there’s something to prove that he is not just a singer, he has substance.

Running as an Independent comes with its own set of challenges. Tell us about Tyler Sloan’s platform.  Who are his ideal constituents?  

Sloan is like a lot of people, maybe liberal on some issues, more conservative on others.  Nevada and many states have a growing number of independent thinkers, and he is one. He defies being placed in a political box with a label.

Are there any parallels in “Roll the Dice” to the current political environment?

Celebrity candidates are here to stay. California had Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor, Al Franken from Minnesota, and many athletes. How would Tom Hanks do in the Democratic primary—I think very well.   

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Can you tell us about the father-son dynamics and how they play out in the story?

Tyler and Mike Sloan operated in different universes; his father an establishment politician who almost became President; and Tyler, a more rebellious youth, rock and roll singer. Mike was old school, a more distant father. They both share the pain of the death of Tyler’s older brother Mike Jr., or J.R. The circumstances surrounding his death emerge in the novel and bind father and son.

Which one of your characters did you have the most fun with creating? Is there one you relate to most? 

I enjoyed drafting Bree Baker, the younger female media advisor. She’s smart, tough and does not take any B.S. You can deal with her, but not dictate to her. She’s a strong, stand-up person who Sloan relies upon. The two engage in a mutually flirtatious relationship and that professional and personal dance infiltrates the story and their lives.

How does your experience in the business and political world translate into your fictional story through the characters and/or events?

Political campaigns are a high-pressure business unlike no other since it is time-compressed, a finite date it will end. And that conclusion is either totally victory or defeat. There is a rush or urgency as the clock ticks to election day. It is, fun, nerve-wracking and filled with bursts of small victories and setbacks.

What was the most challenging part of your story to write in terms of research? 

Ensuring that the places referred to were accurate and describing the restaurant or hotel, not just for accuracy, but for its “vibe.”

Are there certain parts of the story where you took more creative liberties with than others?

I created a fictional hotel for a gambling scene. The lawyer in me did not want to be sued, but it is based on a mix of real Las Vegas casinos.

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How long did it take you to write, “Roll the Dice?”

I practiced law full time, so it was a weekend and after-hours passion. As I concluded the draft, I would sometimes edit at lunch, it was consumptive…..but enjoyable.

Tell us about your writing process.  What is something you do to get the creative juices flowing?

I never have writers’ block. I can always write. I outlined the story, did a couple of drafts and submitted it to Kirkus Reviews where it won an award for best unpublished novel, that was the catalyst.

How did you develop your plot? Do you outline? If so, to what extent?

I outlined the story, but had many, many changes. It was a lot of cut and paste.  My agent advised to reduce the political details, emphasize Bree Baker’s role. 

How do you keep the plot unpredictable without sacrificing believability?

In today’s political world there is almost nothing unbelievable.  Think about all that has happened, not just with Trump, but all celebrity candidates. The almost unfathomable revelations that emerge on a regular basis are what is fascinating. Politics are public stages for smart, driven, ambitious men and women; from that universe crazy things can happen.

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What do you like to read and which authors have inspired your own work as a writer?

I read both fiction and non-fiction. I loved Gone Girl, John Grisham, Patterson, Balducci, and other contemporary writers. I re-read To Kill a Mockingbird and All the King’s Men, both classics, they hold up well, but the language and racial concepts are very tough to read.

Being an author these days can be a full-time commitment. How do you balance writing, marketing and promoting your work with everyday demands, like your other full-time job, family commitments and personal time?

Priorities. I watch less tv than most people, do not play golf, this is my hobby, my passion.  I love music, but cannot sing, this is my creative outlet. It is very satisfying to write a chapter, scene or even great line or two. Step back, edit it and take satisfaction that it can provoke inspiration, humor or simply be a great escape. I like taking the reader to where they have not been.

What was the best advice you received?

I was casually introduced to a man at a social event, Peter Saphier. He was formerly head of “buying and selling” at Universal Studios and an executive at Paramount.  I asked Peter Saphier what he worked on, he modestly told me he would acquire the option rights for novels, magazine articles, plays, etc. His most memorable acquisition shocked me: he was the first at Universal to read the unpublished manuscript Jaws, by Peter Benchley. Saphier persuaded Universal to acquire the rights and the rest is history. He read my novel after it won the Kirkus award, but before I found an agent and offered the guidance to increase the father-son conflict.  I listened, agreed and re-drafted.

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What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author/writer and how do you handle negative comments?  

I look back at it with a smile. After I won the Kirkus award, I was optimistic I would find an agent. I researched agents and sent out dozens of query letters on my law firm stationary to demonstrate a degree of seriousness. I was prepared for rejections, but one agent returned the letter with an angry response; “I do not and never will represent a f***ing attorney!!!”  I was dumbfounded, I guess Grisham would irritate the heck out of him. 

Do you have any plans for a sequel?

Writing it now. It should be published in 2020. In writing, it is a careful balance between providing the characters’ background to readers who read the first book, and those who are new to my work.

Wayne, thank you for being with us today at Reader Views and sharing the news about Roll the Dice!

Thank you.

CONNECT WITH WAYNE AVRASHOW! 

Website: www.wayneavrashow.com
Facebook: wayneavrashow@author

Read the review of Roll the Dice 

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“Composition of Life” by Thane Kreiner

COMPOSITION OF LIFE

Thane Kreiner, Ph.D.
Outskirts Press (2019)
ISBN 9781977204646
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (08/19)

“Composition of Life” by Thane Kreiner is a page-turner, truly a fascinating and deeply moving memoir of his journey through childhood wrought with alcoholism, abuse, mental health issues and domestic violence. Kreiner and each of his siblings learned to cope with their dysfunctional family and upbringing, in their own way.

I found Kreiner’s vivid descriptions, raw emotions and total honesty in his writing to be well written and sometimes shocking. There were so many times during this read when my heart hurt as the author describes his alcoholic, abusive father and a mother who accepts her lot in life. Having grown up in an alcoholic family and with a mother who, like the author’s mother, accepted what happens as “life,” brought back feelings of anger and sadness.

During high school, Kreiner realizes he is not like other male students who have normal boy-girl relationships but does the best he can at keeping his homosexual tendencies hidden no matter what the cost. The author’s father decides he will beat masculinity into him or send him off to military school to make him a man. Till the very end, the author’s father blames his mother for over coddling him as a child.

As many readers will find, there is more to this story than meets the eye. It is a story of discovery, love, and acceptance. As you will see, the author is a leader in biotechnology and with his background in science he begins to realize proof in spirituality, which also helps him along his path. He seems to have more compassion than some in the field and is in tune with other’s feelings, concerns and lack of self-confidence, and in his own way can help others accept their strengths and weaknesses to be the person they want to be.

“Composition Of Life” is a quick read and the events described are relatable. Each of us has our own journey and relate to it the best we know how. Given that, I came away with this reading none of us are different, we are more alike than we think, and we shouldn’t judge until we have walked in the other person’s shoes.

I highly recommend “Composition of Life” by Thane Kreiner to all who often wonder how they ended up being the person they are and how family history plays a significant part.

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