Wednesday, March 16, 2011

David Lender Interview

Trojan Horse Summary:  In Trojan Horse, Daniel Youngblood is a world-weary oil and gas investment banker who’s ready to hit the beach, when he’s hired by a Saudi Prince for an OPEC deal where he can net himself $25 million as a swan song. At the same time, he meets and falls in love with Lydia, an exotic European fashion photographer, who he later discovers is really CIA-trained spy with a shocking past with the Saudi Prince. She convinces Daniel to enlist in what becomes a race for the lovers to stop a Muslim terrorist internet plot to bring down the Saudi royal family and cripple the world’s oil capacity, all before they wind up dead.

My brief bio:  David Lender writes thrillers set in the financial sector based on his over 25-year career as a Wall Street investment banker. He draws on an insider's knowledge from his career in mergers and acquisitions with Merrill Lynch, Rothschild and Bank of America for the international settings, obsessively driven personalities and real-world financial intrigues of his novels. His characters range from David Baldacci-like corporate power brokers to Elmore Leonard-esque misfits and scam artists. His plots reveal the egos and ruthlessness that motivate the players in the financial sector, as well as the inner workings of the most powerful of our financial institutions. More background on David and his writing can be found at

1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?

I am not so methodical about my writing schedule that I can say I have a most productive time of day.  I can outline, plan out scenes and edit drafts virtually anyplace; in the living room, in a coffee shop or in a cab.  I do need quiet for the actual writing, and find even background music distracting.  I write most of my first drafts with dictation software on the computer.  As  such, sometimes it flows so well I don’t even want to edit it.  Other times it’s hard labor and I have to grind it out.  I rewrite and edit so many times it’s impossible to know which of those two extremes I’m more successful with.  I can say I get the most done when I allow myself long chunks of time to blast away in my writing study—three or four hours uninterrupted.  I’ve had weeks of incredible productivity when I’ve decided to just put my head down and bang it out for eight hours a day, but those times are rare.  They’re usually when I’m almost done with a draft or major redraft and decided to plow through until I’m finished.  Then, of course, rewriting.

2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?

I always start my outlines with pen and paper, but quickly convert them to the computer.  My finished outlines are detailed, scene-by-scene outlines.  Sometimes I even write dialog into the outline if it comes to me at the time in a way I want to get it down.  I do almost all my writing on the computer, but I’m a constant note-jotter on paper.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?

I have a million ideas for stories if that’s inspiration.  Most of them come from my career as an investment banker. They all wind up being set in the financial sector (because I know that environment and the kind of people that populate it) or somehow use it as a backdrop.  This isn’t to say they’re based on finance, so my readers don’t need to be financial people.

4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?

I try not to get up from my desk without writing at least 1,000 words, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen because of other things going on in my life.  Or it doesn’t flow fast enough within the time I have.  Other times I can do 2,000 words comfortably in a sitting.

5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?

     I am self-published. The starting point for my cover art is my father’s photographs.  He was an accomplished amateur photographer all his life and left a great legacy of photographs that are unique, beautiful and have great meaning to me.

6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?

I am not sure it’s really a choice.  It’s more a compulsion that a writer can’t resist.  He/she can put it off, but I think it’s always going to rise inevitably to the surface, like a beach ball being held under water.  Sooner or later it pops up.

7: Do you own an ebook reading device?

I own a Kindle and a Nook.

8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?

I read  a lot of Jack London growing up.  F. Scott Fitzgerald is my favorite writer and I think The Great Gatsby is the great American novel. Few write with his rhythm, economy (Gatsby is only about 50 thousand words), or mixture of romantic sensitivity and understanding of human depravity. I was an English major, so I read all the big names you might expect. I also admire Hemingway, Joyce, the Bronte sisters, Henry James, Conrad and Steinbeck. Thriller writers who have influenced me are Frederick Forsyth (The Day of the Jackal may be the best thriller ever written), John LeCarre, John Grisham (although I don’t think he’s ever gotten close to The Firm again), Robert Ludlum, Ken Follett, and Thomas Harris. Elmore Leonard is the contemporary author I most admire. Out of Sight is his best, with Get Shorty a close second. Nobody does dialog or backstory like him.  And his Ten Rules of Writing should be on every novelist’s desk.
I am reading Tom Clancy’s Dead or Alive, John Grisham’s The Confession and J.E. Taylor’s Vengeance right now.
9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?

I think it’s a great idea if done right. I’m thinking about how to go about it. But they’re definitely here to stay.

10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?

A Trojan Horse is a computer hacker’s tool of sabotage, which figures in my story, and also a term for an agent who goes deep undercover, also an element of my story.

11: What are you working on now that you can talk about?

I have a finished novel, Bull Street, that I will probably tweak until I release it later this year. Bull Street is the story of a naïve, young Wall Streeter who gives a jaded billionaire the chance for redemption, as they team up to bring down an insider trading ring before they wind up in jail or dead.  I am also finishing up a novella, The Gravy Train, also set on Wall Street.  It’s about a young investment banker who helps an elderly Chairman try to buy his company back after some ruthless Wall Street sharks have driven it into bankruptcy, and are trying to carve it up for themselves.  And I’m working on a memoir on our fist year of life with our recently adopted rescue pit bull puppy, Styles. I’m five months into it.  Finally, I’ve started another thriller, about an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has a drug industry whistle-blower give her evidence of a concrete link between the national vaccine program and autism, and then races to expose it before a megalomaniacal drug industry CEO can have her killed.

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