I’ve asked Jon D. Zimmer to join me today to discuss what drives an author to put pen to paper. I’ve always heard a writer should write what he’s familiar with, using his own experiences. Here’s what this author has to say about it. The floor is yours, Mr. Zimmer.
All of your subjects regarding writing are open, and answering each of them is what a writer must do, either consciously or unconsciously, before making a decision to write a book in whatever genre chosen. The main decision to be made is whether you are writing the book strictly for financial gain, to express a point of view, or both. I believe the latter is the choice among most writers.
I wrote An American Dynasty to express a point of view. I believe the country is losing its middle class, the ability to provide an education for everyone, and medical care and shelter for those in need. We are becoming a dispassionate nation where only a wealthy few are seen as significant.
I didn’t have to do much research on what I wanted to express as I lived it. My first year of college cost me three hundred and eight dollars. My friends that did not go to the university found jobs that supported a middle class life style, and provided them with health insurance and paid vacations. However, if you weren’t a WASP, life could be less than pleasant, but we took up the cause to end it in the sixties.
I didn’t want to write a non fiction book about it, so many have already been written, so I decided to write a fiction novel with all of the human emotions of greed, deceit, romance, etc. that people could identify with.
The following is an excerpt from the book which defines my message. Jack has joined the hobos to travel to California during the Great Depression, he encounters an unbelievable world that he thought only existed in novels.
Jack’s group waits for an open freight car. Two of them approach about half way through the length of the train. Jack and his friends take the second box car. So far everything seems alright. There are about eight hobos that jump into the second car with Jack and his group.
They are all settling down in the freight car, when Fred yells, “Oh no.” Everyone jumps up and goes to the open door. They see a man falling in mid air. He is silent. As he is falling, he does a summersault, and he is now going head first into the dry riverbed some two hundred feet below the bridge. It is almost like he wants to be sure that he will not survive the fall.
Jack turns away. He doesn’t want to see the man hit the ground. As Jack turns away, so do the rest of the men in the car. They are quiet, each within their thoughts, Did he commit suicide? Was he careless, and fell from the car? Did someone push him?
The silence is finally broken, when Jason says, “Could anyone see who it was?” No one responds. Then Jason speaks again, reciting everyone’s thoughts, “Do you think he committed suicide?”
Fred speaks up, “It sure looks like he did. There is no reason for anyone to push him out of that car.”
Everyone kind of shakes their head in agreement with Fred’s remarks, and then they settle back down waiting for the next stop, waiting for hope, waiting for something that might bring a semblance of the life they are looking for.
Jack’s thoughts are a little more philosophical, and he keeps them to himself. He has not yet experienced the despair, and the hopelessness that most of these men have, and he doesn’t want to. He never wants to think of any man’s life as being insignificant, of being nothing more than a passing thought, of how did he, or she die.
His thoughts now become less philosophical, sadder as he thinks about the man. He knows that he has a mother and a father, maybe brothers and sisters, other relatives, school mates and friends, and from time to time they will think of him, but right now he is no more than carrion for the coyotes and the birds. Totally forgotten, and of no significance to those with him, in his moment of death.
Jack is emotionally shaken by the chain of events that has occurred these past few days. His thoughts are taking him back to his senior year in high school, and a reading by his teacher in his English Literature class. It is a sermon from John Donne written over three hundred years ago:
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
Those words have resonated with Jack ever since he heard them. He believes them. He feels that we have nothing without each other. He sees the horrors of poverty destroying the beauty of his gullible, yet paradoxically, morally correct values.
There were many other considerations that I had to make about writing the book, i.e. what tense to use? I used the present tense so the message would seem more current. It is the only book of the five that I have written where I didn’t use the past tense.
Thank you for joining us today, Mr. Zimmer. Novel writing is a complicated task and it is always interesting to me to see what goes through a writer’s mind as he/she brings an idea to life. I leave our readers with your bio.
Literary Fiction (76,123 Words)
The saga of four generations of an American family, the Gilberts, from World War 1 to the present. Although the story is fiction, the events of the times are breathtakingly historical.
The Gilberts pass through a century of the American spectacle, going from poverty to extreme wealth. A wealth that they paradoxically wanted, but a wealth that they see destroying not just the American dream, but the essence of America.
How did they go from taking in borders during the Great Depression of the 1930s to the wealthy elite of the twenty first century?
Their journey is filled with the remarkable events that shape the emotions and the mores of each generation. They are a compassionate, loving family, but surviving those events in their endeavor for wealth sees them involved in deceit, romances, conspiracies, and even homicide.
The family patriarch covered up something horrific in the trenches of World War 1. Something he knew was right for all involved, but it haunted him his entire life. What we call PTST today, he called his dark bouts.”When he told his wife about the Dark Bouts she told him she would always be there, and love would win in the end. What she said gave him hope, not so much as ridding himself of the Dark Bouts, but of her always being there.”
Jack Gilbert is the second generation, a product of The Great Depression. He leaves his home in Michigan after high school, and travels to California as a hobo. He enters a world unlike anything he believes exists. He witnesses a murder. He is involved in another death, and he sees a suicide all during his short trip.
His life continues into a Machiavellian existence as he becomes a member of the OSS during World Two, witnessing, and participating in the intrigues and brutality of espionage.
After the war he becomes extremely wealthy, he wants to return to that young idealistic man he once was, and make a difference in the world, but he continues to use his OSS, now CIA friends to solve and resolve some of the mysteries and intrigues in his now complicated life of romances, love, wealth and politics.
All of the generations have similar episodes of suspense and intrigue tailored to their times. The final two generations are on the precipice of a dramatically changing America. David, Jack’s son, and the third generation wants to enter politics like his father in the hope of restoring the country to a place where everyone matters.
David’s children are the fourth generation, and they are truly a representation of the present.
His wife was killed by her bi-polar brother who somehow managed to get a gun so he could send the family to heaven. He had a son with her who was the only survivor of the rampage, a genius, but has psychological issues from witnessing his mother’s death.
His daughter to his second wife is gay, and her partner is a person of interest in a drug shooting. His son is secretly transferring corporate funds into a personal off shore account
What makes this story so unique is the flow through four generations, a century, to the present. Everything that was, is, and it is happening now within our wealth controlled political election process.
Author’s Biography: Graduated from Valley College, attended Cal State Northridge University, and the Masters Program at Pepperdine University.
Began a career in business running several divisions of large corporations, and started up two companies.
Wrote five novels: The Trinity Pact, The Cozy Place, The Secret Invasion, An American Dynasty, and The Dark Journey of Charlotte Prentice
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Residence: San Francisco Tele: 415-941-7371