Jay Beck has continued writing about the fascinating adventures of political consultant, Mark Young, in his next book, "Casting Stones." Set in Greece during the 1985 elections, the historical novel pits the United States against the Soviet Union in a battle over Greece's future political economic soul. The novel is set in the turbulent times of airline hijackings, terror bombing and assassinations. The Soviet KGB, Greek secret police and terrorists all conspire against Mark Young as he tries to win a national election while simultaneously rescuing the most valuable ancient sculpture ever created. Mark is torn between the turmoil in Greece and a critical situation threatening to end his relationship with his girlfriend, Vicki back in Washington, D.C. All of these diverse threads come together in an unexpected and thrilling conclusion.
By writing fiction, I’ve try to expand on my history and the events I have observed. I still have a long way to go in tapping into all of that rich material, particularly since politics and entertainment so often go hand in hand, as I hope I have demonstrated in my work. These will be exciting areas for me to investigate and discuss while I continue to write about them. As I mentioned earlier, the third book in the trilogy concerns the interactions between the campaigns and the time of history of Ross Perot, Bill Clinton, and George Bush, a vast political world for me to plumb. I have stories to tell. Enter to win a paperback
- What inspires you to write?
I’m an only child and entertained myself for long hours when I was a young. I loved stories, jokes, and my family was very outgoing, verbal and funny. I loved to listen to people tell stories, to read stores, films and the inspiration was that I wanted to be able to “do that.”
- How often do you write?
I generally write every day unless something comes up to force a distraction. It’s a natural thing that I HAVE to do. If I don’t get to write something…a sentence… a phrase or description of something or someone I feel cheated.
- Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?
I’m a morning person, well, after coffee, and that is when my mind is fresh to write. I’ve found that I can think of an issue the night before and by the morning I have a better idea about how to express that concern. Sometimes, however I jump up in the middle of the night to write down a thought that has come to me, least it totally vanishes by the morning’s light. I go over and edit what I’ve written at different times as that is not as creative, but at least I can see what I don’t like and mark it for a revisit later, when I’m fresh like in the morning.
- How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?
Not hard for me. I don’t force things. That usually has a bad outcome.
- Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?
No. Turns out I usually get 2-3 pages a day on average. Sometimes that is spread all over the book as I go back over a sentence in one place and add a fresh paragraph in another. If I have a scene that I’m planning and concentrate on it, I can get 2-3 pages done sometimes before the juice goes flat.
- Writers are often associated with loner tendencies; is there any truth to that?
Well it’s hard to write in the middle of a crowd. I think the act of putting words down on paper almost has to be solitary.
- Do you think writers have a normal life like others?
I do. Although the routine of when I write is less spontaneous than not writing, I can’t say the rest of it is not normal. How else would I get ideas if not among people?
- Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
Often, I have an outline of where I want the story to go, but it works best when the story takes over and goes where it wants to go with me trying to keep up.