Michael Sears (www.michaelsears.com) is one of only six 2013 Edgar nominees for Best First Novel. For this interview, the thriller writer discussed his novel “Black Fridays” and how he decided to write a Wall Street thriller.
In “Black Fridays,” Jason Stafford, an ex-Wall Street hotshot and ex-convict and the single parent of a five-year old autistic child is hired to investigate an isolated case of fraud within another Wall Street firm. That job leads him to uncover conspiracies and murder. Sears said, “The overall saga of Jason Stafford is that of a man seeking redemption, and finding it through his love for another human being—in this case, his autistic five-year old son.” He also said, “But ‘Black Fridays’ confronts another issue I wanted to explore. Wall Street and the people who work there have taken some well-deserved criticism over the last few years. But despite the fact that there are so many temptations, and so many who succumb to them, there are honest men and women on Wall Street.”
As a former Managing Director for two different Wall Street firms, where he worked in the bond market for twenty years and, earlier, in foreign exchange and derivatives Sears was well-informed about events on Wall Street. “The conspiracy that is the central plot of my book is based on real events,” he said. “In 2003, I read an article in the press about fifty traders in the foreign exchange market being swept in a FBI operation, code-named ‘Wooden Nickel.’ The collusion and theft was widespread and had been going on for at least two decades, according to reports at the time. I vowed that someday I would write that story.”
While Sears was intent on writing a financial thriller, he also dealt with issues many parents face when he decided to include an autistic child in the story. He said, “Meeting parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers of autistic children who have read the book and tell me how I have 'nailed it' is one of the most heart-in-throat moments that I hope I never get used to. The people who give their love to these children are all my heroes.”
“Black Fridays” has been nominated for five major awards and the second novel in the series, “Mortal Bonds” was released on Oct. 1. Sears says that he is hard at work on a third Jason Stafford novel. He also feels that his nomination for an Edgar has raised the bar for him as a writer. “The challenge to not fall into sophomore slump is greater,” he said. “But I think that with ‘Mortal Bonds’ I have succeeded in avoiding that. In fact, I think it's even better than the first.”
Learn more about Michael Sears on his website at MichaelSears.com.
In addition to his columns on Examiner.com, Terry Ambrose (terryambrose.com) writes mysteries and thrillers. "Kauai Temptations," Terry's latest funny Hawaiian mystery was called “More delicious than a Coconut Mocha Frap” by New York Times Bestselling author Jenn McKinley .