Hi Friends! What better way to start this Monday with a bit of some money & mystery mayhem. I thought it would be fitting after black Friday and all that. Debbie Dyke is on tour with CLP Blog tours and I'm next on the tour! She'll be guest posting today on her take in fusing real-world issues in fictional worlds. Enjoy and have a great week =)
The Bloody Mary Club by Debbie Dyke
Publisher: DCD Publishing (5.12.12)
A Fiscal Thriller Set in Historic Old Town Alexandria, Virginia Stock market meltdown. United States housing bubble. Global financial crisis. Chief executives cooking the books. Who can you trust for financial advice? Gina Van Story, a savvy 40ish investment advisor to the rescue. She can spot a trend on the market and jump on it like a cat. She dreams of grabbing the bull by the horns and is on the hunt for one final big score. Gina and her three best friends form the Bloody Mary Investment Club and come face-to-face with corruption in a David and Goliath struggle when their stock portfolio turns deadly…literally. Over made-to-order Bloody Mary cocktails at historic Gadsby’s Tavern, Gina takes her friends under her wing and teaches them the ins and outs of the stock market. Trouble begins when, following Gina’s bullish advice, they become majority owners in the local bank and then stubbornly turn down a lucrative buyout offer. Not only will money and greed challenge their friendship, they will have to get smart fast and figure out how to turn the tables on the charmingly seductive, yet evil, banker who wants control of their stock by any means necessary – including murder! .
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Writing for the times: incorporating present day issues into works of fiction.
It is always challenging incorporating present day issues into work of fiction. Real life events - those things we read about in newspapers and magazines – are a great source of information for me. Using real live events from the financial market gives my stories the detail and accuracy that readers would expect. I think it makes my stories more relevant and realistic. I like using the storylines “ripped from the headline’ because it works especially well with financial thrillers. The more my plot lines are based in reality or pulled from real life, the better my story. Although I write fiction, using present day issues frames the story.
There’s a real art to mixing fact and fiction. One of the dangers in referring to financial specifics ( such as stock prices, names of actual stocks, names of actual banks, etc) is that through mergers, bankruptcy and other financial calamities, it can quickly date your work. When I first wrote the Bloody Mary Club script, I referred to certain stocks during the investment club meetings, in reality, some had become became out dated. For example, Disney bought out Marvel Entertainment --- so any mention of Marvel as a good stock to buy would immediately dated my book and the astute reader would pick up on this. With the rush of internet stocks coming public in past five years, ( Google, Face Book , Ebay, etc.) I had to update the stocks that I mentioned in the novel so there was a current frame of reference. However, with attention to detail I find that blending of fact and fiction isn’t so hard once you get the hang of it.
I think using real-life events in fiction is a good thing; however, using real people could lead to legal issues. Think about the movie ‘Forrest Gump’ with all the real live events that were used for great fictional purpose. I am sure the producers had to face a mountain of the legal issues before filming.
When writing about Wall Street, my plots are fiction but the details are very real. As a former stock broker with Dean Witter, I was on Wall Street when Black Monday occurred and I have from that era and am in tune with all the scandals that have followed. Of course I’m going include all those juicy details in my novel. How could I pass up the inspiration that I found working with zealous brokers, arrogant private wealth managers and off the wall clients? The missteps in the financial market cause real harm to hard working people. Banks fail. Bonds go bust. Stocks zoom up then drop like a rock. Mix in greed, betrayal and insider trading and it makes for interesting stories. Wall Street misdeeds start with criminal behavior of Enron and WorldCom in the early 90’s and goes right up to Morgan Stanley’s recent Facebook IPO debacle. The financial field is ripe with epic stories waiting to be told. I’d spin a story starting with a bad IPO, then figure out interesting characters, and soon I come up with a plot and timeline. For example, the idea of an IPO gone bad with sympathetic characters caught up in the offering could be a great story because of the human element involved in the high stakes financial transaction. When my radar is out, ideas are everywhere. This is my world and I love to write what I know
Many of my plot ideas come to me while reading the Wall Street Journal and Forbes magazine. With all the Wall Street scandals, no wonder the small investor is scared. The financial calamities over the past few years has caused the stock market to lose many long-term investors who helped create the double digit annuals stock gains that created enormous wealth in the 1990’s. Investors today do not know where to invest their money.
I’m not interested in writing about how the 1% lives and consumes their wealth. I write novels of financial intrigue and how it relates to us on personal level. After reading The Bloody Mary Club, I hope that the reader will realize that even the fat cats top get ripped off and that there are no get rich quick shortcuts. In the era of self-directed IRA’s everyone is responsible for their financial future and you must make wise investment decisions. We need to be savvy investors. There is no easy money or guarantees to double your return. I also like write about the complicated feelings about money and self worth. What happens to friendship when the well-heeled rub elbows with the not so fortunate? What happens when the high net worth individual looses their money and in now scraping by? It is always juicy to write about the ‘haves’ and the ‘haven-not’s.’ I always say people lie about two things: sex and money. I prefer to explore what money (not sex) or lack of it does to people and what lengths they will go through to get it. Fifty Shades of Grey does a darn good job of covering the sex side of things! I’ll stick to what I know -- the money side of things!
As you can probably tell, I’m very passionate about the stock market and investments. I’m fascinated by the recent Ponzi schemes that have been reported in the front page news. I’ve watched the bank meltdowns with great interest. As a former stockbroker, I’ve met a few embezzlers and worked with several bad brokers who’ve run away with client’s money. It always amazes me that even the rich and mighty get taken in by complicated financial schemes and are so trusting of their financial advisors. I think the time is right for smart, funny, readable financial chick lit fiction.
I like to communicate with my readers through Facebook, my blog and Author webpage. I would love to receive feedback and encourage readers to reach out to me. I often get emails from readers asking me specific questions about investments, or trading strategies, or advice on how to finance college, I do not mind these questions because I sense that there’s a lot of bad advice out there. I’m always excited to receive contact from readers that I’ve know from my past. Out of the blue I will receive an email from someone living in Italy or Albania who’s read about my novel. I’m grateful to reconnect with people from my past and I’m happy to reach out to new fans.