Tuesday, May 17, 2016

FEATURED AUTHOR: ANDREW BLENCOWE




ABOUT THE BOOK

What if, by the passing of just two events, Japan and Germany had won World War 2?
The Goddess of Fortune is a work of speculative fiction in which alternate history is explored, and consequences examined.

•    Beautiful Louise, while only 24 years old, uses her intelligence, wiles, and body to dominate the so-called "stronger sex."

•    Kaito Sasaki of the Bank of Tokyo, inspired by Lenin (“The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency”), proves just that with his printing of U.S. 100 dollar bills.

•    The treachery of Hermann "Fatso" Goering is uncovered and his punishment is swift.

•    The duplicity of Roosevelt and his so-called Brains Trust is exposed and the doubts of the urbane gentleman, Henry Morgenthau, are made clear.

As a work of historical fiction, Goddess reveals the private foibles, quirks, and lusts of the famous (and often rich) of the period. How could the end goals of the Axis come to fruition given these events?

Goddess explores just how, and in doing so brings to light in imaginative prose the lives of historical figures we have only known from our history books.


INTERVIEW WITH ANDREW BLENCOWE


Andrew, how did you get started writing?

I started writing by accident after reading an article in the Financial Times, "What’s the big idea?," about the power of the philosophical novel. I had just finished reading Stephen King's book On Writing, so I thought I would try writing. I found King's book both instructive and encouraging.

What's your favorite thing about the writing process?

The isolation. Being able to create alone, without the need of a team, is a common comment by many writers; I share this view.

I would agree with that. Do you have a writing routine?
I am a binge writer—I write only on the weekends and only for a month or two per year. But these sessions are typically 14 hours per day over both days of the weekend. The research is far more leisurely and consumes the remainder of the year.

What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?

The ideas. Also avoiding preposterous plots, and the fear—of all writers—of technical and factual errors, such as a .350 Magnum when the gun is actually a .357 caliber.

What’s more important – characters or plot?

Plot trumps characters.


What do you think makes a good story?
Surprises. After the first 50 or 100 pages, plots often get repetitive and stale.

It was interesting to learn in the recent biography of John le Carré that he does not map out the plot, but simply writes and lets the writing determine the plot. Tricky to do, but when done properly surprises occur.

How often do you tweet? How do you feel about Facebook?
I believe Twitter and Facebook are powerful signs of the destruction of western civilization. They have no redeeming features and a litany of ills, chief of which is the encouragement of thoughtlessness—"Let Me Sleep On It" goes out the window.

The breathtaking narcissism encouraged is also to be deplored.

What five things would you never want to live without?
Coffee, Bordeaux red wine, Google, peace to read, isolation.

What do you love about where you live?

I live in Tokyo, and what is most attractive is the Japanese sense of community, which they themselves do not recognize. This sense of community leads to a tranquility that is only present in Japan.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Andrew Blencowe discovered at an early age what it was like to live on the edge of life. During his high school years he dropped out to become a motorcycle racer. Smitten by computers in his early twenties, he went on to become founder and CEO of an international software company with offices on five continents. It is his international perspective and a drive to challenge assumptions that influence his writing interests. As a weekend student of history, one point he noticed over and over was how a seemingly trivial action had such immense consequences. Regarding this point of minute actions, it is akin to a 1,000-ton boulder balanced precariously on a steel knife edge; at present still, but with the smallest nudge, an army of men cannot stop the monolith from rolling down the hill. Another recurring point was how people's time frames are always myopically short; Zhou Enlai, when asked in the early 1970s about the significance of the French Revolution, was reputed to have answered, "Too early to say." This myopia is daily becoming worse and worse as the destruction of the intellect by mobile "telephones" accelerates. Combined with iPads and other electronic reading devices, the ability of the human mind to think and ponder disturbance—free is being destroyed one interruption at a time. These are some of the main threads in Blencowe's novels—the arrogance and massive overconfidence in the new (blithely and wrongly considered better); the panoply of quick fixes rather than a thoughtful analysis of the unexpected consequences of these often dangerous modern expedients.

Connect with Andrew:
Website  |  
Goodreads  

Buy the book:
Amazon  | Barnes & Noble

2 comments:

  1. I've never heard of a 'binge writer,' - what a concept! I loved this interview - it kept me enthralled with the author and his writing (and made me laugh a couple of times too). Great review - sounds like fascinating book from a fascinating author.

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