Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and fortieth, is of Jack Brody.
Jack Brody is a writer, ex-military, and an avid traveler. After his Army stint and then deciding to pass on law school, he went to film school, wrote screenplays, and held a number of jobs which ran from everything to working for a newspaper for one day, to film production, to then going into real estate (with at least five others along the way). He’s fascinated by history, politics, and architecture, all of which play a part in his novels (yes, he already has two more in the works).
When not writing, he can often be found hiking with his two faithful dogs, occasionally breaking out the old BMW bike for a ride though the mountains, or playing volleyball or bar trivia with his friends. He divides his time between his home in the Southern Appalachians and wherever his passport will take him. After reading Jon Krakauer’s bestselling ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’, he was inspired to undertake a full year of research in preparation for the novel. Taking what he’d learned, along with a bit of imagination, the result was the conspiracy thriller, The Moroni Deception.
And now from the author himself:
I’d written screenplays for a number of years, and had made several half-hearted attempts at a novel before, but not only was it so different, but it was so much harder I found than writing a screenplay, so I had tended to give up pretty easily.
I did, well, I won’t say “tons”, but literally pounds of research, from all the books I went through, notes that I took, and reams that I printed off from my internet research. While I had some idea in the beginning of what my story would be–which at the time, started out having to do with a rogue FBI agent who was investigating the murder of his Mormon girlfriend who had broken away from one of the LDS’s radical fundamentalist offshoots. As you can see after reading it, it’s changed quite a bit from that.
I then probably took close to a year of doing nothing but researching and taking notes, mostly of what seemed like fascinating items to further explore and perhaps later work into the story. As far as “The White Horse Prophecy” goes, I wish I could take credit, but Joseph Smith supposedly first came up with that in the 1840s. There’s actually a pretty good Wikipedia entry on the prophecy that gives a basic explanation. Mr. Romney has mostly dodged the question when asked about it, but I think back when he was running the first time, he said something along the lines that he considered the Prophecy to be a matter of “speculation and discussion by church members” and “not official church doctrine”.
If I could condense all the time I spent, doing both the research and the writing, it would probably be about two-and-a-half years. However, and unfortunately for me, that’s not the way things work, especially when we’re not only living out our lives, but trying to put bread on the table with our day job. So the true time it took stretched out to almost five-and-a-half years. I started it more than a year prior to the election of 2008, which is how I remember.
When I read about how a guy like Dan Brown gets up every morning at 4:30 or some ridiculous hour, does an hour of exercise, and then sits down to write for four to five straight hours, or 10 to 15 full pages, I’m both impressed and amazed. My writing time has always generally been limited by how much energy–both physical and creative–that I had left at the end of a working day. I often found myself not beginning my writing until 11 at night, and then writing until 1 or sometimes 2 AM. And that, again, was not every night. I also had a very real case of “writer’s block” for about a year where no matter what I did or how hard I tried, I couldn’t get anything substantial down on the page. I even went to a hypnotist, which didn’t do a lot, and I almost gave up. Also during this time period, I had to deal with a heart attack at a relatively early age, which came completely out of the blue, and then after that, the year-and-a-half long battle a best friend of mine had to endure in his losing fight with cancer.
For The Moroni Deception, I started out with a completely different story. I don’t even quite remember where along the way my protagonist turned into an investigative journalist, other than that I thought I wanted to create a character who solved his problems more with his brains than with what he was packing, which seemed to be so often the case with a lot of adventure / thriller protagonists I was reading at the time. With The Moroni Deception, which I think is fairly intricately plotted, a lot of the little details that I think made it that much better, came out along the way. I, of course, had a general plot outline in my head, and then down on paper. And then when something else would pop into my head, I would see first if it worked, second, if it actually made the story better, and then if it would work into the overall conspiracy. The lead conspirators / villains I didn’t settle on until probably two thirds of the way through that I was working on the book. But when I finally did settle on this person or persons who shall remain nameless, that’s when I then went back and made little subtle changes starting from the beginning.
Wow, what a life and how interesting to hear about the way you write. Thank you, Jack.
You can find more about Jack and his writing via…
Jack’s website: http://www.themoronideception.com where you can read the first chapters.
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with murder mystery novelist Peter Bradbury – the five hundred and sixty-sixth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.
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