Zero follows a man that’s convinced by his devious wife to campaign for political office and embarks on a whirlwind tour of fundraising, cover-ups, and scams. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I was inspired by two plays written in an absurdist style (The Bald Soprano by Eugène Ionesco, Ubu Roi By Alfred Jarry). I was also inspired by numerous figures in American politics, particularly the devious, double-speaking opportunists who do/did not have the public interest at heart. My final inspiration was that famous Inspector Clouseau.
The characters in your story are interesting and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
It seems to me politicians follow a formula when running for office. I tried to tap into, illuminate and satirize those formulas: Portraying the country in dire trouble, presenting themselves as a savior, the person who will rescue and heal the nation. Politicians usually present a long list of promises, most of which cannot be kept. They speak the language of “what people want to hear” rather than “here is the hard, complex truth.” I find many politicians lack honesty and the ability to think critically; instead, they sidestep issues, play the victim card, amp up the shortcomings of their opponent. Key factors in becoming elected are money, publicity and the ability to spin “information” to their benefit. They look for catch-phrases, digestible sound-bites, repeatable slogans
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I suppose I have a cynical outlook when it comes to politics. I wanted to explore the circus atmosphere that surrounds a political campaign. I wished to undress the greed, deceit, self-serving interests and tactics of many political figures. That said, there are politicians that I truly admire, such as Barak Obama and Stacey Abrams.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am not working on another book at the moment. My book GOODS & EFFECTS was launched the same day as ZERO. Much of my time is now devoted to publicizing both books.
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Tags: Al Schnupp, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fiction, goodreads, humor, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, politics, read, reader, reading, satire, story, writer, writing, zero
Al Schnupp’s writing is witty, sharp, and distinct. The satire and humor organically embedded in this story makes it a stand out book of 2021 for me. You cannot go a page without finding the text to be entertaining or amusing.
We follow the story of Zero, a man who is not so wise but interesting to follow regardless. Zero has a wife, Maxine. His wife is sly, sometimes two-faced, and to some extent unethical. Maxine has a huge influence on Zero. She can convince her husband to partake in something that he was initially not confident about. Maxine may seem horrible to some, but there are parts of her character that I thought to be brave. She is unstoppable and a go-getter once she sets her mind to something. Horace is another major character that I found to be intriguing. Horace is a close associate of Zero and his wife, and they involve him in their ambitions. Zero is convinced by his wife to go for a political seat. Politics is not easy even for the wealthiest, most powerful, and experienced. Zero wants to vie for Icon of Groad, a top seat in his country. With the help of his wife, Zero strategizes and gets Horace, his campaign manager to help in his campaign spree. I enjoyed following this trio because of their diverse characters and how each complemented the other. Running a successful campaign is not a one-man show and Zero needed a support system to see his plan succeed.
The development of the plot and building of characters makes you appreciate how great of a writer Al Schnupp is. The author understands his readers and uses familiar examples when narrating the various occurrences and events. The style of narration is engaging and appealing to readers that enjoy satire. When reading this book, you realize how society is flawed to a certain degree as the author highlights issues that we face in contemporary society. The political theme in the book was significant and relevant especially for readers that are invested in policymaking and both local and international politics. Al Schnupp’s satire is top tier. I enjoyed how the author talks of the status quo. He is witty and uses distinct words and phrases when addressing societal issues through his characters and the storyline. I could not help but think of the many Zero’s we have in real life, as this character had a shady background, and yet he had ambitions to lead. Inspector Oodles was a favorite character. I liked the traits he was given and the process he took while investigating Zero’s father’s death. The detective work was another intriguing aspect of this story that I enjoyed following.
Zero is one of the funnest books I’ve read this year. I enjoyed the satirical storytelling, sharp by subtle wit, and the humorous detective work. If you’re looking for a light and fun story, look no further than Al Schnupp’s engaging political comedy.
Pages: 108 | ASIN: B093SXG461
Tags: Al Schnupp, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fiction, goodreads, humor, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, political thriller, read, reader, reading, satire, story, writer, writing, zero
In the latest Nick Grant adventure story the Japanese plot to steal the famous Hughes H-1 racer. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting novel?
Interesting, during the World War II, Howard Hughes got the opportunity to examine a captured Japanese A-6M Zero. He recognized several innovations he had incorporated into the H-1. Many years later, he told a story about a 1936 break in at his Culver City airport. The culprits ransacked the H-1 hangar and several blue prints were missing. The Japanese were never implicated. I took those snippets of story and wrote Nick Grant into the action.
The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write?
I enjoy writing the supporting characters as much as I do writing Nick. In each novel, I have introduced news characters – some good – some evil. In Black Dragons Attack my hands down favorite is Brian O’Malley. Without exception, the advance copy readers loved him. Those same early readers asked that I include Brian in future Nick Grant Adventures. Brian is a good hearted cowpoke who has a pivotal role in the story line. Cowboys and spies? An interesting combination that I hope my reader’s enjoy as much as I did crafting the story.
The Black Dragons are working for the Japanese Intelligence Service who are conspiring with the Third Reich in California. How did you develop this twist? Anything pulled from real life?
As a young military intelligence officer, the Army assigned me to the US Pacific Command, Oahu, Hawaii. Several of the old hands told me about their experiences before and during WW II. One retiring Army Counter Intelligence Agent spoke about a concerted espionage effort between the Japanese and Germans. A married couple, who were in fact German Spies, provided critical information to the Japanese prior to the December 7th, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Another spoke about and effort to steal US Communications codes. A third spoke about a effort in California to infiltrate US aircraft manufactures to steal advanced US technology. Much like the Chinese are doing to us today.
I understand that real people inspired this story. Who were those people and how did they impact you?
Once I saw bestselling author, Homer Hickam, of October Skies fame, wearing a T-Shirt emblazoned with the following: BE CARFEFULL – YOU MIGHT WIND UP IN MY NEXT NOVEL. I build my characters around people that I have known in my life. Some are blends of different individuals others are as I remember them but with cover names. As a career foreign intelligence officer I have known many people that would stretch the reader’s belief. One stands out in my mind, the senior intelligence officer of the Army’s Paratrooper Division, the 82d Airborne. Then Lieutenant Colonel Nick Grant – now Brigadier General (Retired) Grant was a huge influence on me. During down time on maneuvers he told me about his youth and burning desire to become a pilot. Like my character, Nick Grant actual comes from humble beginnings. He worked hard to achieve many things in his successful career. I modeled my Nick after General Grant’s steely eyed nerve, technical expertise, and strong desire to take the hard right instead of the easy wrong.
Book IV. The Black Dragons are back! After their last run in, Nick Grant believes his nemesis, Toshio Miyazaki, is dead. Determined to leave the spy games behind, Nick starts a new life as a Naval Aviation Cadet. During training, famous aviator and movie producer, Howard Hughes, lures Midshipman Grant into a mock dogfight. Afterwards Hughes offers Nick a pilot job. Nick’s college dreams stand in the way, and he turns Hughes down. However, their paths cross again in an unexpected way.
In 1936 the Black Dragons, working for the Japanese Intelligence Service, remain active in California and have a new partner, the Third Reich! Agents from both countries team up in their most audacious plan yet—steal the Hughes H-1 racer. Their plan—use the cutting edge technology to develop the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft.
The Japanese plan goes awry when US Naval Counterintelligence becomes aware of their activities. Commander Boltz assigns Nick and Senior Chief Ellis to guard the airfield until the FBI can take over. Together, they foil the Black Dragons’ attempt to steal the H-1 plans but the Japanese regroup with an even more sinister plan. They grab a hostage and demand that Nick deliver the H-1 technical plans and the Navy’s Top Secret Pacific War Plans.
When the Black Dragons attack, it’s up to Nick and friends to turn the tables, retrieve the stolen goods and a fabled katana. Join Nick Grant, Nancy Tanaka, and Leilani Porta in their latest adventure, Black Dragons Attack!
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