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You had a different view of government from your seat in the New Mexico House of Representatives. What prompted you to run for office?
I was raised to believe that service to my community and my country were expectations of all good Americans. I have participated in a myriad of forms of service, including military service, political service, and community service.
Your books have definite socio-political overtones—OPEC, federal regulation of the banking industry, etc. How do you choose which issues to address in your books? Would you encourage writers to address or avoid writing about political issues they have strong feelings about?
I make an effort to avoid partisan politics. Where I inject current events in my stories, they tend to focus on policy matters versus outwardly obvious politics. In “Shell Game,” I show politicians and federal regulators to often be out of touch with reality and with what will enrich people’s lives versus that which will enhance the politicians’ and bureaucrats’ power. In “The Lone Wolf Agenda,” I inject a power battle between politicians who make decisions founded on polls (without identifying the politicians by political party) versus public servants who seek to protect Americans.
I think political issues are fair game for writers as long as they understand that they will more than likely alienate some portion of the reading public. Writers should produce work that inspires them first and foremost.
Tell us a little about THE LONE WOLF AGENDA. The book deals with OPEC, which gives it a financial angle that I’m sure you can speak to as a result of your international finance expertise. What was your research like? Have you had any personal experience with the oil companies?
“The Lone Wolf Agenda” is the 4th book in the Danforth Saga, which includes “Evil Deeds,” “Terror Cell,” and “The Nostradamus Secret.” Like the first three books in the series, “The Lone Wolf Agenda” is an espionage/military thriller that borrows from current headlines. You’re correct that this latest book has financial components to it, which I thought would be appropriate considering that most people today are concerned and more informed about economic and financial matters than at any time in our country’s history.
The OPEC angle was injected in this book because energy policy and energy costs are in today’s news. Of late, it has become common knowledge that the U.S. is awash with oil and gas reserves which may or may not be mined, depending upon what policy wins out in Washington. Layered onto that is the turmoil in the Middle East and the rise of radical Islam. The underlying but subtle themes in “The Lone Wolf Agenda” are that the U.S. will soon need to decide whether or not it wants to continue to import oil from nations that are philosophically disposed to undermine our system, and whether or not it will become energy independent. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a political/economic treatise. It is a thriller with subtle undertones based on current events.
The research process for “The Lone Wolf Agenda” was fascinating. I had to learn about the economics of the oil and gas markets; current technology; the locations of oil and gas fields, pipelines, and refineries; the gas liquification business; and current governmental policy. Of course, I also had to update myself about special forces weaponry and communications equipment.
I have many friends in the oil and gas business, so I was able to lean on them for assistance.
You’ve worked with the Hope for Heroism organization, which assists veterans in the US and Israel. Can you tell us a little about the organization, how you became involved, and what readers can do to help?
A close friend who served in Vietnam with me brought the group to my attention. Hope for Heroism brings combat veterans from Israel and the United States together, both in Israel and the U.S. These men are given the opportunity to realize that they are not alone in dealing with the problems associated with physical and emotional wounds suffered in combat. These get-togethers are a healing activity that helps the men from both countries to be able to return to production, happy lives.
I encourage readers to look up Hope for Heroism on the Internet and make contributions to the organization.
What’s coming next for you?
I am editing my next novel, “Ultimate Betrayal,” about a Special Forces veteran whose family is mistakenly killed in an attack against him. He is obsessed with taking revenge but, initially, has no idea why he was targeted or by whom.
I am also finishing up a non-fiction book about Relationship Selling.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON POLITICS IN NOVELS?
Tell us or comment on the interview by using the Comments box further down on this page, or commenting on this blog entry on our Facebook page and be entered to win an e-copy of THE LONE WOLF AGENDA! For every comment, a donation will be made to Hope for Heroism.
QUICKIES WITH JOSEPH:
Writing ambience: I write in a small, slightly messy office with a view of New Mexico's San Pedro Mountains.
To outline or not to outline: I rarely outline my novels because, when I begin a book, I have no idea where it or my characters will take me.
Reading now: FALL OF GIANTS by Ken Follet.
Book or eReader? I read both, although I prefer a real book.
Book(s) he wishes he could read again for the first time: THE SCARLATTI INHERITANCE by Robert Ludlum and A WORLD LIT ONLY BY FIRE by William Manchester.
Greatest fear: Failure.
Favorite fictional spy: Jason Bourne.
Favorite online resource: Wattpad.com. I have used Wattpad to offer chapters in my book as teasers to potential readers.
Cats or dogs: I've had dogs and cats my entire adult life. I find dogs to be better companions and cats to be better masters.
What he wishes he'd known when he started: I wish I had known that writing was not just about telling a story; that writing is a hard, technical process. As a finance major, I wasn't exposed to the art of writing in school and have had to learn via OJT.
If he could have any superpower: I would love to be a Genie, to have the superpower of granting wishes.
If he could invite any four people to a dinner party: Leonardo da Vinci, Alexander the Great, Benjumin Franklin and Jesus Christ.