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Main Character Blog Tour

I’d like to thank Marta Merajver-Kurlat, author of Just Toss the Ashes, for inviting me to participate in this blog tour. To read her post, click on http://www.martamerajver.com.ar/marta/index.php/blogroll

I’ve been asked to respond to the following questions about My Main Character in a Work in Progress.

1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

The main character, Roman Starke is the most influential man in the world as head of The Bank of the Milky Way, the target of a paranormal alliance. He is a work of my imagination, although his nickname is JC (comparable to the famous Roman conqueror), and some of his personality traits were conspicuous in a 21st century Republican presidential candidate.

2. When and where is the story set? space elevator image

This novel delves into the future described in my first novel, Pieces of You. The world of 2040 has changed drastically since that novel’s protagonist died. Control of the wealth is in the hands of a coalition of three international banking corporations, with the Bank of the Milky Way being the dominant force .
The story moves between Roman’s offices: Dallas; Moscow; George, South Africa; and Shanghai and into the outer reaches of the space elevators operated by the coalition.

3. What should we know about him/her?

He is a charismatic, brutal, greedy world leader and a widower with two daughters. Calligula

First Impression of Him: Rather handsome still; doesn’t look his age. After five minutes with him, it is clear how self-centered he is (all discussions revert to him/his experiences & perceptions).
Life-changing Events: Father’s death of a heart attack at 48 and wife’s death at 43 (hit by a car while riding her bike).
Accomplishments: Took over father’s investment firm and, with a partner, expanded it to become one of the world’s most profitable (he is now one of the world’s top ten richest).
Weaknesses: Tendency to retract statements and revise values based on ambition rather than morality; allows himself to be manipulated by a team of advisors, although he is unaware of their demonic origins.

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?

The coalition Roman heads stores much of the basic foodstuff in outer space, transported there by a space elevator. The space elevator quits functioning after less than a year in operation when the cable is severed by a rocket veering off-course and cutting into the ribbon of carbon nanotubes. To reconnect the severed nanotubes quickly is very dangerous and no one with sufficient expertise has yet been found who is willing to take the risk. It is also very expensive and the banking coalition has not yet recovered the cost of the original placement. With the space elevator out of commission, the cost and speed of bringing food from its storage warehouse in space triples.
As the world famine becomes severe enough to produce rebellion, Roman’s daughter, Callie, tries–but fails–to influence the global leadership to expand the agricultural system they’ve created. Just as revolution seems imminent, Callie announces she will be the one to repair the space elevator. She won’t listen to her father’s objections and is helped by a team of his subordinates. In the minutes before ascension, the rebel leader, Camden, rushes up to Callie and gives her a passionate kiss. He is gone before Roman’s guards can capture him, but his kiss carries a virus and before her work is finished, she falls to her death.

5. What is the personal goal of the character?

His external ambition is to bring Callie into his company, not only because she is his favorite daughter, but also because she is the only person he trusts.
His internal ambition is too be revered globally, almost like a god. His dream is to be the number one global leader, and he is well on his way.

6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

The title is Battle of Jericho, 2040. Here’s a short excerpt:

The tip of Roman Starke’s ears got flaming red when he listened to the message from the anchor station while he pulled on his mustache. Not the usual brushing over the hairs with the pads of two fingers; instead a hard jerking that could have thinned the mustache of a less robust man. But he uttered only one word—crap. Patrice, the only other person in their South African office, jerked to attention spilling the coffee she’d been savoring. The cup bearing the bank’s nickname, Candyland Bank, hit the thick carpet with a soft thud. Wiping up the puddle was not the most pressing concern . Hearing her boss use that tone of voice and with a word that was as close as he ever got to swearing meant bad news–seriously bad news. It had to be one of two issues: trouble from his younger daughter or a lifter malfunction.
“Is it Randi again?”
“Who?” Roman seemed in another world but recovered enough to speak his elder daughter’s name into his wireless mike. As Callie’s face appeared on the wall screen, it was clear where the problem originated.
“Dad, the cars were up there twenty–“
“I don’t care if they were up there two minute ago if they aren’t there now. I’ve put millions into this project, if you will, and I won’t have it fail! Callie, I need answers. Put Torin online, please.”
“But Dad, he’s busy—“
“I’m busier. A grain shipment is due from the space station tonight. I need to know I can count on its arrival.”
The screen showed her pretty mouth inverted, each end an arrow pointing to her trembling chin. She didn’t say anything else, just turned away from the monitor.
Roman wanted to call her to come back, but he only managed a weak Cal as Torin’s features solidified.
“Mr. Starke, we’re all upset. We’re doing our best to figure out what’s goin’ on up there.” Torin wanted to add, think of her crew, but he knew that would be a futile request.
“Will the shipment be here on time?”
“I can’t promise that until I know what we’re up against. You’ll know thirty seconds after we do.”
“That will be acceptable if it’s not more than two hours and thirty seconds from now. And pray that it’s good news.”
“Yessir.” After signing off, Torin had a desperate urge to hit something, but all the equipment was too expensive to pulverize. Instead, he changed into swim trunks, settling for a quick dunk in the Pacific Ocean. When he climbed back on board, shivering and expelling water like a wet puppy, Callie was waiting at the ladder with a towel, a light beer, and a poor excuse for a smile. Still, it was enough to keep him from sounding as hysterical as the man he reported to, the one who seemed to think he had the power of a god. Well, in many ways he did.

7. When can we expect the book to be published?

My goal is for it to be available on Amazon as an e-book and a “print on demand” paperback by All Souls’ Day (November 2).

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On Writing, by Rod Serling

One of the discussion points in this marvelous interview is about teaching writing. Rod Serling says that every writing professor should have studied the problems of our time as they relate to the youth of our time. Since I teach communications, this point stood out for me. A second point that had personal relevance was the question “Does espousing a cause lose character credibility?” Serling’s response:”leave that soapbox behind, but carry with you at all times your sense of caring…and put it into the mouths of flesh and blood people.” Yet Serling, best known for his television series,”The Twilight Zone,”often inserted in his scripts the themes of war, politics and equality. A quote by Gene Roddenberry explains how Serling enacted this guideline:

“No one could know Serling, or view or read his work, without recognizing his deep affection for humanity … and his determination to enlarge our horizons by giving us a better understanding of ourselves.”

After watching the interview on YouTube, which point(s) are most useful or startling to you?

Is Writing about Finding Answers or Living the Questions?

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

I started to write my first novel, Pieces of You, to find answers but now that it’s finished, I lean toward the writing process as a way to live the questions. What do other authors believe? What have you learned from writing?

“Pieces of You” has just been published

After almost five years in process, my first novel is now published!

Please let me know if this video trailer entices you to read Pieces of You (currently available in Kindle eBook format at “Pieces of You” Kindle eBook at Amazon.com and coming soon in paperback.

A Reading from “Pieces of You”

Pieces of You, a time-travel novel based on a true story, is available through Amazon.

Please listen to an excerpt from Pieces of You here:

Meet Davis Bunn: Novelist with Sales of More Than Six Million

A Conversation with Davis Bunn on Writing “Hidden in Dreams”                       

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 Q: How much research did you have to conduct to write this intriguing story?

 A: In a way, I suppose you could say I’ve been researching this story all my adult life. I did my studies in international economics and finance. Observing the difficulties our nation and economy has faced over the past three years, as well as what we personally have endured, has been tough. It really was great to have this chance to give voice to what we increasingly hear, that the people at fault need to be brought to justice, and the risk of another economic collapse needs to be halted.

Q: You’re writing about two women in this novel. Is it ever a challenge to write from the female point of view?

A: Learning to write from a woman’s point of view is very difficult for a male writer, as it usually is for a woman author writing a man’s story. Before I was published, I became friends with a husband and wife team who were both opera stars. The woman often sang a male role in a Mozart opera that was originally designed for a young boy, but which nowadays is usually sung by a woman with a slightly lower range, called a coloratura.

I discussed my difficulty with her, of trying to make my women sound real. She told me that my trouble stemmed from working on a woman character from the outside. It wasn’t about making women ’sound’ anything. It was all about making the character live from the inside-out.

As I worked on the point of view issue, trying to put my friend’s challenge into practice, I also began going into any meeting with a woman carrying a secret tape recorder, and taping everything that was said. I then went back and wrote out every word. It was perhaps the most boring month of my entire writing career.

But gradually I found that I could ‘hear’ the speech patterns of these women, and reshape them into structures that fitted around what was happening in my stories. And through this exercise, the emotional content that lay behind the dialogue, the person who was expressing herself, became more real, more solid.

And then I met my wife, Isabella. And the process of instruction at the intimate level of a God-centered marriage began to unfold.

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Q: In Hidden, Elena and her colleagues are attacked in Miami. After the attack, why did Elena not take more precautions? 

A: Elena had a choice to make, and so did I. Either she could play the delicate flower – fearing everything and going nowhere – or she could go on the hunt. I liked the balance between her internal fears and uncertainties, and her quest as a professional psychologist. She is, in effect, trained to look for clues – to go on the quest of drawing out the hidden. I felt the actions she took, despite the dangers, to be her natural response.

Q: Why do you write fiction?

 A: I became a believer at age 28. Up to that time, ever since graduating, I had been working in international business. I came to faith while working as a consultant in Germany. I started writing two weeks later. Up to that point, I had never picked up a pen in my life to write anything longer than a business report. But I had always been an avid reader. And the moment I started, that very first instant, I had the sense of invitation. It was the first time I had ever experienced that incredible sense of being drawn in a new, divinely inspired direction.

I wrote for nine years and finished seven novels before my first was accepted for publication. Simply because I had received a sense of calling did not mean I was ready to serve. First the diamond had to be polished. Hard and painful as that was.

Q: What is your goal as a novelist?

A: I want to combine a truly entertaining read with a powerful after-effect. My dream is that long after the book is set down with a satisfied sigh, there are still images that surface, lessons that can be drawn, genuine hope and healing and challenges and inspirations. I want my writing to be worthy of the gift.

Q: How can readers find you on the Internet?

A:  My website and blog are at www.davisbunn.com

Social Justice Issue: Food Insecurity (aka hunger, starvation, malnutrition, famine)

Why do so many of our friends and neighbors go to bed hungry? I found this website to be very helpful in answering that question and defining World hunger – Reasons and What We Can Do.  

I have just completed an outline for my second novel, one that will answer this question with, “Food is being used as the weapon of choice to keep people (the 99%)  in servitude.” It will portray a future where a few corporate leaders have taken control of most of the food supply by transporting basic foodstuffs off our planet using a space elevator.  Sound unrealistic? Space elevators are not far from reality according to this article: Space Elevator by 2050?

You may have read about government leaders limiting the availability of food to “crush the hearts, minds and spirits of civilians.” Here’s a recent article on how that is playing out in Ethiopia: African Hunger Games

I am convinced the best way to serve the hungry is to communicate our distress, our suggestions and willingness to act by writing stories or articles and/or by speaking out.  My way (at least for now) is to write stories using words that paint true pictures rather than disguise reality by playing semantic games (e.g., famine and starvation vs food insecurity or shortages).

I would love to hear from readers who feel strongly about this injustice. Would you please  make comments, tell your stories or share your images here?

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