What books did you love as a child? Why?
I remember loving all of the Dr. Seuss books. I suspect it was because of the animations combined with the story.
Who are your favorite authors? How did they influence your writing?
I read a lot of John Grisham and Michael Connelly because it is their genre (modified somewhat) I am trying to emulate. My favorite book of all time is probably One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey because of the incredible imagery he creates just using words. I try to do that if I can.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? Why did you decide to write?
I knew I enjoyed writing as far back as high school. I am not sure I fit the standard definition of wanting to “be a writer” because it has never been a career. For me, writing has always been a means to an end. I used it extensively in my career in the investment industry. Having left that over four years ago, I have a wonderful opportunity to fulfill a dream – to write and publish fiction novels.
When do you find time to write?
I try to write every morning, even if it is just for 30 minutes.
What are the joys of writing for you?
I really love the challenge of seeing if I can make the reader form opinions about my characters on their own, without me “telling” them what to think. Same thing goes with depictions of scenes. Show, don’t tell.
What are the obstacles of writing? How do you overcome them?
Life sometimes gets in the way. I need to be in a very quiet environment without distractions to write something that I will like later. That’s not easy these days.
What is your favorite genre to read in? Write in? Why?
Thrillers. Anything with an uncertain outcome where there is something on the line. Maybe this is similar to my attraction to the investment industry? I love puzzles.
How would you describe your writing style? How did you develop it?
I am methodical. I learned in my writing courses at the U of Toronto that every scene and chapter needs to have seven elements (the “hook, inciting incident etc.”) Before I write the first word, I do an outline of all of my chapters, which includes specific details of each of the seven points. That is my road map and I follow it as I write (and sometimes change it as I go along.) So, in the novel I am working on now, outlined to have 70 chapters, there are 490 short paragraphs describing each part of the scene. I don’t know if I developed it – it’s just the way I am.
What was the inspiration for your book?
I have always liked reading legal thrillers and thought perhaps I could do the same thing with Wall Street and white collar crime as the background setting.
What were the challenges of writing your story? The joys?
There is a lot of terminology on Wall Street that people don’t understand. It was a challenge to put some of these things into layman’s terms. Like what does it mean to sell a stock “short.” (You’ll have to read my novel to find out!) I’ve had a number of people come up to me to say they learned a lot about the business, which wasn’t necessarily the objective but is still gratifying.
Do you do research for your writing? If so, how do you go about it?
Yes! If you can’t find information about something on the Internet, then it doesn’t exist.
Tell us about your book.
After David Heart’s father’s estate is squandered by bad advice, his mother faces eviction and his grandfather needs life-saving surgery. A seemingly-helpful family friend finds David a seat at a bucket-shop off-Wall Street firm with the promise that money flows like wine.
Naive and quickly recognized as an easy mark, David is plunged into the eat-what-you-kill world of a trading desk, where the analysts, salesmen and traders sit like pigs at a two-sided trough. Bullied by the cruel, abusive head trader known only as Blackie, David is relieved when Sandy Allen, a strikingly provocative street-smart saleswoman, comes to his aid. But, what David doesn’t realize is that hidden agendas are everywhere, and no one can be trusted.
Now the target of extortion, David must make an impossible choice: facilitate an insider-trading felony in exchange for the money his family desperately needs, or face the cruelty of his mentor-turned-predator who has framed David and promises that he alone will be found guilty and suffer the consequences of the crime he refused to commit.
What did you learn about yourself from writing this book?
Maybe not learned but reminded. Never give up. Keep trying different things and ways to reach your objective.
What do you wish someone had told you about writing that you learned the hard way?
There is a right way to write, for sure. Poor writing is just that. But there is also your own personal creative way. You have to find a balance.
What is your next project?
I am ¾ of the way through the first draft of my next novel. White collar crime thriller. I plan to write three novels and create a trilogy. One of the characters in my first novel, The Analyst, lives on and is part of the second book (and third?)
What are you reading now?
1Q84. I like reading things that differ from my writing style to see what I can learn. I just finished The Hunger Games trilogy but, to be honest, got bored half-way through the third book.
Anything else you’d like your readers to know?
I am really enjoying this writing part of my life. I realize that my career in the investment industry has enabled me to do this. Things happen for a reason.
By P.T. Dawkins
About the Author:
A 28-year veteran of the investment world, P.T. Dawkins writes from experience about the insatiable desire for money that leads to unethical, illegal and unscrupulous behavior. He majored in English at Dartmouth College, earned an MBA from The University of Western Ontario and completed extensive studies in Creative Writing at the University of Toronto.
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