Author Interview……..G. Hugh Bodell

A Little About You….

I was born in The Bronx, NY in the early days of WWII and attended Catholic schools through college, all boys from the sixth grade.

On graduating from Cardinal Hayes High School in 1956, I attended Manhattan College where I earned a BBA in accounting.  After a tour of duty with the U.S. Army Artillery, I started my career in 1962, as an accountant with Haskins and Sells, one of the international accounting firms that were then referred to as the Big Eight.

By 1979, I had progressed through a career in finance and the use of technology in financial management to the position of Chief Financial Officer of Citibank’s Visa and MasterCard business.

In the first half of the 1980s, I oversaw, as Chief Executive Officer, the growth of a $459 Million regional mortgage company to a $7.5 Billion Federal Mortgage Bank, one of the largest in the country at that time.

In 1985, together with my wife Susan, a computer scientist, I founded a consulting firm specializing in technology-based solutions to processing and security issues in the Financial Services Industry. From 1985 through 2000, the firm serviced the largest financial organizations in the world, including, Barclays Bank, J.P. Morgan & Co., Citicorp, Merrill Lynch & Co., Credit Suisse, Prudential, Standard & Poor’s and ING Barings.

In the year 2000 two events that were to have a major impact occurred:

I.   My wife left the company to pursue (successfully) a complete career reinvention as an actress, model and author and…

II.  I won the bid on a long-term contract (six years) to reengineer the way the United Nations moves money and information globally.

The UN contract and my wife’s new career required us to be in New York City every day for long hours so we rented an apartment on East 46th Street.

…and that is where the morphing into a writer of fiction mysteries began… although I didn’t know it at the time.

A Little About Your Writing…

I’ve written and published three books, all in a sub-genre loosely referred to as Speculative Fiction.  Here is a synopsis of each:

a.  Treachery In Turtle Bay

The plot is an action packed adventure/mystery of the pursuit by Anna & Hugh Masterson, an unlikely sleuthing couple, of 29 billion dollars that went missing from the much publicized scandal, ‘The UN Oil for Food Program’.

These technical geniuses find themselves up against a vicious, corrupt trio of billionaire international gangsters.  They are rapidly forced to employ tactics never used in their white-collar consulting business and to call on capabilities they never knew they had.

Peppered with actual events surrounding that UN managed, corruption plagued 60 billion dollar redistribution of funds, it is impossible to separate fact from fiction.

The murders are creative and full of imagery, the technology real and doable!

b.  Treachery In Turtle  Bay II

Treachery In Turtle Bay II – Oil ~ Dollars ~ Diplomacy & The Sinister Three took an unpublicized example of disappearing billions.  The $39.56 billion “missing” from a post-Gulf War fund that was set up to protect the almost 40 billion bucks of Iraqi oil revenues from foreign claims.  That was accomplished by apparently making it disappear altogether.

This book takes one way in which the funds could have been stolen and some of the ‘created’ participants and turns it into a complex, exciting and intriguing mystery novel.

Of particular comment by readers have been the very colorful way the murders were carried out.

c.  Nikita

A saga that could be…but we pray will not

The Deal

Iran is negotiating to purchase 4,000 nuclear warheads compatible with the Iranian shahab-3 ballistic missile

The Seller

A former soviet general now the head of the Russian federation technological and nuclear oversight bureau

The Cover

Provided by the United Nations Secretary General and the President of the United States

The Price

$100 Billion

The Middleman

A Russian villain who has accumulated $40 Billion by corrupting United Nations Officials for over 40 years and now has the President of the United States in his pocket

Waiting To Pick Up The Overstock

North Korea, Syria, Bangladesh and Venezuela

 What Inspired You To Start Writing?

In the year 2000 I won the bid on a long-term contract (six years) to reengineer the way the United Nations moves money and information globally.

During the six years of the contract, a scandal erupted at the UN surrounding the Oil for Food Program.  This was a UN administered effort that permitted the embargoed Hussein run Iraq, isolated after the invasion of Kuwait and the first Iraq war, to sell oil to the world.  The funds were to be used to buy food and medical supplies to provide the Iraqi people with the necessities of life, thereby reducing the impact on them of the embargo.

October 27, 2005, a committee headed by Paul Volker issued a report of the audit conducted into the corruption in the program.  It was almost 700 pages but the real meat for me was in two sentences.  “…the Government of Iraq sold $64.2 billion of oil to 248 companies.  In turn, 3,614 companies sold $34.5 billion of humanitarian goods to Iraq.”

The difference between the income from oil sales and the outgo to buy humanitarian goods was 29.7 Billion Dollars.  I was deeply involved in the movement of money by the UN and I couldn’t stop asking the question, “What happened to that $29,700,000,000?”

Sometime in the late fall of 2005 I was leaving my apartment building for work by way of the rear entrance through a small park on 45th Street.  I was stopped by security personnel because a man had jumped out of the twentieth story of one of the buildings that like mine, bordered the park.  When I looked out through the door I saw the body splattered in the park (20 stories is a long drop).  However, more disturbing was the fact that on his way down a golden silk robe had been torn from his body and was caught in the branches of the forty-foot high trees that were all over the little park.  As I walked to the front entrance of the building, I kept thinking to myself “Who the hell puts on a silk robe to jump out a window, I don’t think it was a suicide”.

Over the thirty years that I was in the consulting business, I traveled about 50% of the time and read an untold number of mysteries.

From that day in the fall of 2005, I knew that there was a great mystery in connecting those last two events, 29.7 billion bucks gone missing and a guy dropped out of his twentieth story apartment window.

The contract with the UN ended September 30, 2006 and on November 6, 2006, I decided to reinvent myself as a mystery writer and connect those two events with the workings of my imagination.

I have never looked back.

How Has Writing Changed Your Life?

After writing Treachery In Turtle Bay, I began to explore the ‘business’ side of being a published author.

I was fortunate in that through my wife’s established associations in the media industry I was introduced to an experienced agent who, on reading my mystery had nothing but praise and promise.  On meeting with three publishers, I came away with a great many trepidations about signing a contract with guys much bigger than me and with much deeper pockets when I could not pin them down as to what they were going to do to promote my book.  Everything I heard and saw led me to believe that they interpreted their responsibility to begin and end with getting my book into about five hundred bookstores across the country and Amazon.  They would look to me to provide most of the marketing and promotional horsepower.  The line of all three when I questioned this issue was essentially, “Well after all you are an unknown; most of our promotional dollars goes to proven authors.”

I thanked them and decided to seek alternatives.  I will add here that I received a great deal of encouragement from my agent.  He felt that the publishing industry was on the cusp of its greatest upheaval and that they were about to experience the revolution of disintermediation that music experienced in the preceding ten years.  It was late 2009.

~~~~

It is now 2013 and here are the results of our (my wife joined me in this independent publishing endeavor) efforts:

We have independently published my first my trilogy and Look For The Hook (My wife, Susan Jane Bodell’s self help book).

All four are available in Trade Paperback on Amazon, on Barnes & Noble internet site, through Barnes & Noble stores, through hundreds of other bookstores (via Ingram\Lightning Source POD) and to Libraries via Baker & Taylor.

In Kindle e-book format in the Amazon Kindle Store, e-Pub e-book format at the Barnes & Noble Internet Store, e-Pub e-book format from Google Editions.

We have sales every day from somewhere in the world.  We market globally and our distribution partners provide global delivery.

We speak at libraries, book clubs, bookstores, spas and resorts.  Susan also runs a program on Look for the Hook in rehabilitation centers.

What began as an attempt to write a simple mystery soon escalated into what has become the most exciting adventure of my career.

What Is Your Favourite Book, Ever?

My favorite book was published in 1957 and I read it as soon as it came out, I was 18.

Baruch: My Own Story ~ by Bernard M. Baruch.  The memoirs of Bernard M. Baruch, the “Park Bench Statesman,” who made his fortune on Wall Street, but his greatest challenge and his greatest satisfaction were his service to his country as an economic adviser during both World Wars I and II and as a confidante to six presidents.

It would have a major influence on the early years of my career and the course of study I followed in college.

What Is The Best Piece Of Writing Advice You Could Give, And Why?

Write about subjects, places and people you are familiar with.  Write with your own voice not one contrived to appeal to your perception of a market.  Find a genre you will love.  If a writer, regardless of age, does these three things, writing will become as an addiction.

If You Were A Dragon, What Kind Of Dragon Would You Be?

I must admit I am not too familiar with dragons so I did a bit of research.  Of all the types and descriptions I found the one that appealed to the inner me the most is:

Red Dragon

Red dragons are greedy and covetous, and obsessed with increasing their treasure hoards. They live in warm habitats, such as volcanoes or tropical islands. The red dragon’s domain is the mountain and the island. They are vain, cunning, and terrible.

A red dragon can be identified by its long wings and two long horns. He has a long, red, forked tongue. Tiny flames often dance in his nostrils when he is angry. His eyes gleam with unrestrained greed when he has seen treasure. He smells of smoke and sulfur.

Red dragons are fiercely territorial. They prefer to eat meat, especially people. Red dragons have been known to force villages to sacrifice maidens to them. (This is a matter of taste. As you would have it, apparently maidens “just taste better.”) The best part of a meal for a red dragon is drinking the blood.

Red dragons breathe a deadly fire.

Yeah, I’d really like being a Red Dragon.

 

One final note.  As I move forward, evolving in my new career, I have decided to pursue variations on the genre I am so fond of.  With that in mind I have embarked on a year or two of writing short stories or Flash Fiction, toying with different ideas.  I invite you to take a look at the work to date at Mysteries With A Twist.

 

Your thoughts are much appreciated..........Thanks!