I was recently featured on a book review blog called Jane Reads. The interview, which follows, focused on the role of entrepreneurs as inspiration for The Big Disrupter.
My responses to the interview:
While The Big Disrupter is not a memoir it has many elements based on actual personalities and events. My career prior to writing novels was as an entrepreneur and Marketer, primarily in Silicon Valley, so of course high tech is a natural source of inspiration.
The Big Disrupter features Lionel Lane as one of the two entrepreneurs through whose eyes we see the world. The other is Maxine Gold, a woman he met in college, and their bumpy on-off relationship creating an energy drink company in part is due to the sparks that fly when an idealist and rational mastermind are attracted to each other.
Entrepreneurs tend to gravitate towards other entrepreneurs. Several dear friends were entrepreneurs who died young and I channeled them when creating Lionel and Maxine. One was an eternally idealistic risk-taker like Lionel, the other financially driven like Maxine, although they were the best of friends. Bringing aspects of their personalities back to life in TBD was a wonderful journey for me– I relived moments, laughed out loud slapping my desk, cackled as I rubbed my hands together in moments of their success, and sometimes just cried missing them.
But Lionel and Maxine are composites. There is a scene where Lionel wakes up naked and unaware of where he is, someone is banging down the door and then literally chases him out the fire escape into the city streets. A different entrepreneur friend of mine lived through that experience in L.A., thankful to have escaped alive. It straightened him out, for a while.
Maxine has some intense background with politicians in Washington, D.C. that will come out especially in the second book of the series, which are derivative of my experiences growing up in D.C. and attending a prep school on the politicians’ A List.
The ski town of Telluride, Colorado is featured, and Reddi Christiansen is a composite of several guys and gals I know who skied, did extreme sports, welded, and lived the crazy life of ski bumming in a mountain town. Wolfie the Wolfdog is based on a full-blooded Minnesota timber wolf I knew- I had to make reality more subdued in this aspect of my fiction so that it would be believed.
Readers have pointed out the similarities of the financier Jacob Havermyer to George Soros, the famous philanthropist. He is a blend of Soros and an entrepreneur I know who did business with Soros in Russia, and indeed got funding with a ‘match my investment in 24 hours or lose it’ ultimatum.
In the end, my ultimate dream is that social entrepreneurs of the world get a billion dollar prize like the Big Disrupter in real life- and indeed make a dent in the universe for the better. Meanwhile I’ll keep trying to entertain and round out the series and deepen the experiences of characters Reddi, Maxine, Lionel and more.