Q: Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
As a boy, the stories of H.G. Wells. As a man, I admired the way writers such as Greene and Ambler could produce popular thrillers that also had something to say.
I like stories that grip you by the neck. That take you to different places. And that have characters whose conflicts are a little more exotic, and a little more real, than deciding whether or not love is worth a bite in the neck.
Q: How did you come up with your story?
Corruption, Sex and Buddhism.
While visiting Cambodia, I saw that the country is, even by developing country standards, unusually corrupt (as well as unusually attractive!), and that American oil companies are interested in off-shore oil concessions. It’s no secret that the US government has sometimes looked the other way when American firms bribed foreigners for contracts. Despite the fact that such bribes have been against US law since the ’70s. And the record’s mixed: Americans and American companies have occasionally been prosecuted.
What if a junior US diplomat was pressured to help an American company secure an oil concession? What if that meant facilitating a bribe? A CONFLICT.
What if the diplomat’s lover was a western Buddhist full of integrity and idealism, working for an NGO promoting clean government? ANOTHER CONFLICT.
What if the Cambodian government became worried that the diplomat’s lover might publicize some official dirt . . . just before a local election?
Q: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? Why?
A Linux consultant. Because being a literary type does not always disqualify you from having an interest in engineering.
Q: Favorite genres to read?
Bio. and Memoirs, History/Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Noir
Q: What are your pet peeves?
Religious certainty. Examples of religious certainty include:
Christian evangelical fundamentalists.
People like Paul McCartney who believe that climate change skeptics are the same as holocaust deniers.
Vehement, adolescent (and adult) atheists, who insult the intelligence of people of faith.
Politicians who believe that reducing government deficits during a recession is more important than stimulating the economy.
Q: What is something most people don’t know about you?
I enjoy teen-age horror films.
Q: Where else can we find you, other titles, or anything else you’d like to share?
Me, my interests and life: http://jplathrop.net
Read the first chapter of The End of the Monsoon (published by John Murray in August) here: http://jplathrop.net/wp-content/uploads/EOM–UK.pdf