PETER DAVID SHAPIRO
Peter David Shapiro lives in the Boston area. Like his main protagonist Harry West, he has toiled as a management consultant. His debut novel Ghosts on the Red Line was published in 2011 to rave reader reviews.
Tell us a little about your book.
It’s a suspense novel. Most of the action takes place in Hong Kong where a takeover bid for the largest mobile phone operator is a suspected front for money laundering and corruption. Consultant Harry West and his local Hong Kong business partner, Stephen Blair, are called in to investigate, although exposing criminal activity is far outside their experience as management consultants. They form an alliance with an American woman journalist in Hong Kong who is writing articles about the same deal. It’s also a story about the bonds of love and memory as Harry’s relationships evolve with the woman journalist and with a former love who re-enters his life in Hong Kong.
How are your story ideas born?
My first book, GHOSTS ON THE RED LINE, just came to me. Actually the title occurred to me during a morning walk that I was taking alone after almost 14 years of taking the same walk with a beloved dog who had just died. I built the story from the title, describing what happens when commuters see their Departed on Boston subway trains (it happens that one of the Departed was a Springer Spaniel). THE TRAIL OF MONEY began with a very different story that I wrote some time ago about the collapse of a consulting firm; gradually it evolved into a suspense novel about crime, love, and memory in Hong Kong. In both cases, the novels took shape iteratively as I devised ways to overcome successive challenges of logic and narrative flow.
How much of the book is realistic?
The descriptions of Hong Kong are as realistic as I could make them. It’s also realistic that a management consultant like Harry West would be reluctant to take on a project involving money laundering, corruption and murder, for which he considers police, detectives, or ex-military to be much better suited. On the other hand, this story is a prequel to another suspense novel in which Harry investigates apparent visitations by ghosts on Boston’s Red Line subway trains (in GHOSTS ON THE RED LINE) so Harry’s career seems to include quite unusual assignments. While I’ve had some memorable assignments myself as a consultant, I can’t claim any as interesting as Harry’s.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
The hardest part is laying down the original story, getting from the beginning to the end. Once that is done, the fun part begins, to revise over, and over, and over, and over, like a painter scraping a bit here, adding a bit there, trying to identify problems and to fix them.
How long did it take to write your latest release?
THE TRAIL OF MONEY started as a very different story about six years ago. I shopped an earlier version to numerous agents, a very frustrating process, and then decided to put it aside while I completed another book, GHOSTS ON THE RED LINE. Once my second book was published (thereby becoming my first in print), I returned to this one and spent about a year on multiple revisions before it too was made available to my eager readers.
Do you have a favorite line or scene from your latest release?
When Harry meets a long-lost love in Hong Kong, he recalls their first encounter years earlier in London. I enjoyed writing the scene describing their time in London, and still enjoy re-reading it.
Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I did hire a professional editor to review a draft of the manuscript back in May 2012. He did an excellent job identifying significant issues and he made constructive suggestions, which guided (in spirit and in substance) my subsequent revisions.
What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
It’s now the world’s largest bookseller and is incredibly efficient. Amazon really has made self-publishing viable whereas before it was generally a costly vanity affair. I also use Createspace (an Amazon company) as the print-on-demand source for paperback copies of the book; I’ve found Createspace also to be an excellent resource, with particularly good customer support.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’m endlessly impressed by T.C.Boyle’s writing, the way that he produces propulsive torrents of words to describe a scene, or emotion, or situation. I found his recent book, Talk Talk almost impossible to put down. Other favorites include Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River which is so overwhelming in parts that it’s hard to read, and Mordechai Richler’s Barney’s Version(the book, not the movie) which I consider a literary masterpiece. And, of course, Charles Dickens, whose power of description vastly exceeds that of conventional mortals.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading THE TRAIL OF MONEY, and/or GHOSTS ON THE RED LINE. I hope that you enjoyed them. If you did, please post your positive review(s) on Amazon or BN.com!
THE TRAIL OF MONEY
Devastated by the death of his daughter, numbed by the dissolution of his marriage, and facing collapse of his management consulting firm, Harry West embarks on his personal journey out of emptiness and loss when he takes on a project in Hong Kong, to evaluate a business deal involving the son of one of the richest men in Asia.
But the assignment is not what he expects. Instead, he is asked to uncover evidence of money laundering and corruption, evidence that will expose people who will stop at nothing to protect themselves. To discover the truth, Harry must draw on resources that he never knew he had.
Along the way, Harry’s journey is shaped by two women in Hong Kong, an American journalist who is investigating the same business deal, and a long-lost love who comes back into his life.
To purchase The Trail of Money or any of Peter Shapiro’s novels, visit his Amazon Author Page.