Geoffrey Gluckman is the author of Deadly Exchange. You can visit him at geoffreygluckman.com
NP: When did you first discover the writing bug?
GG: I was eight years old.
NP: How long have you been writing before you wrote Deadly Exchange?
GG: Most of my life, but more non-fiction, poetry, then short story.
NP: What is your next writing project about?
GG: The second novel is more a literary mystery dealing with women/men/sex. Also working on the sequel for Deadly Exchange.
NP: Does it also deal with questions of identity?
GG: Not really
NP: Do you plan to write more espionage thrillers?
GG: Yes, working on sequel to Deadly Exchange.
NP: How do you go about researching topics for your books?
GG: Lots of research, both talking to people in specific areas of interest, reading, visiting locales, and real-life experience, etc.
NP: Do you have any pointers about research and fiction writing?
GG: Well, that's a big topic. I presented to some writing groups on the topic of authenticity—facts in fiction. But I guess, write what you know is nice to follow.
NP: What writers do you admire?
GG: Camus, F.S. Fitzgerald, Graham Greene, E.A. Poe, Kafka (I have them listed on my Goodreads page because whenever someone asks me that my mind goes blank)
NP: What are your favorite books?
GG: The Stranger (Camus), The Castle (Kafka), Our Man in Havana (Greene), The Great Gatsby.
NP: Have you tried to interest mainstream publishing in Deadly Exchange?
GG: Yes, numerous rejections, then with TOR books they really liked it and had it for 18 months and we were in discussion about it. Then they decided they didn't want it and I had lost all that time, so I went the self route.
NP: How did you feel about that experience?
GG: Rejections are to be expected (especially being a nobody), but the experience with TOR was annoying. I've heard others had similar experiences with bigger houses. So it goes!
NP: How was your experience wish self-publishing?
GG: With iUniverse, it was horrible. I had to hire my own cover designer and they made errors (perhaps through the digital publising process) in the final draft that went to print. Typos appeared in that version that weren't in the final draft I sent to them.
NP: Why did you choose iUniverse rather than Lulu.com or even Amazon's Create Space?
GG: It seemed better than Lulu (from research), the latter wasn't available then.
NP: Are you planning on using the Amazon Kindle digital publishing option for Deadly Exchange?
GG: I'm looking into it. I'd like to see numbers on Kindle sales to see what the market is.
NP: What would you like to tell those writers out there who want to self-publish?
GG: Hmmm—buyer beware. Don't do it, if you can avoid it.
NP: Did you use any editing services?
GG: I had a private line editor.
NP: How did you promote your book, and what tips would you have for other writers?
GG: Social sites, book signing tour, speaking engagements, web promo. Tip: plan to stick with marketing for at least 2 years because there are so many books out there.
NP: You write in your bio that you were trained as an undercover agent. What about that experience, if anything, prompted you to write Deadly Exchange?
GG: I drew a lot from those years to write the authentic aspects about espionage/undercover work in the story.
NP: How close is Deadly Exchange to reality? Could a sinister corporation or some other shadowy group be using a device similar to the one you created in your book without anyone knowing it?
GG: If you read the ending note, the technology was perfected by the CIA in the 80s and used by them and other countries since. The extent of which is still classified.
NP: How would anyone know?
GG: It would be hard to discern. Invisible weaponry is very hard to detect. Google invisible weaponry—look for Katherine A. Fitz's work.
NP: Are there good guys in the secret recesses of the clandestine world, ready to step in and put an end to plots by bad actors?
GG: I don't think so. That is the responsibility of the citizenry, as in 'government by the people, for the people.' (At least, in the US) We, the people, need to take that responsibility back. But people tend to be very apathetic.
NP: In other words, who watches the watchers?
GG: The Watchmen (ha-ha). Originally it was Congress and the citizens.
NP: Why did you turn down the CIA?
GG: I had studied what they did and some things I just couldn't agree with and hence did not want to be a part of.
NP: Did it have to do with how it would change your identity?
GG: Unfortunately, that happened anyway, which I worked hard to alter. It took many years to reverse.
NP: How did you become immersed in the world of clandestine ops?
GG: I actually chose it.
NP: It seems that today, the general public is less suspicious of government than it was a decade ago. Do you think that the current cultural climate makes people less receptive to books like Deadly Exchange?
GG: Actually, they should be more wary because things are worse now then 10 or 20 years ago. The daily distraction provided to the general public is like the entertainment provided to the Romans as the empire was collapsing.
NP: Do you think that people today are more willing to overlook any potential problems, to relinquish choice and privacy for the sake of promises of security and prosperity?
Yes, and both are illusions. To paraphrase, a founding father's quote: one who gives up freedom for security, deserves neither.
NP: Your books poses some interesting questions about freedom and identity. How do we know that we are truly free and how do we know that the identity that we do have is really us?
GG: It takes quite a bit of listening to the inner voice that speaks within. Practice, practice. Begin by looking at all the conditioning of society, parents, religions, etc in your life and ask yourself is this really true for me?
NP: Can we ever become emancipated or is freedom simply a trade one ideology for another?
GG: Tough question. I suppose only you will find that answer for you. Like Bob Marley sang: "Emanicipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds."
NP: Do you mean to say that, as in Kabbalistic teaching, we create the world by how we chose to use the energy that we do have for good or evil?
GG: Yes, I guess that could be a summary. The ancients knew lots of information, much of which has been distorted by those who placed themselves in charge.
NP: And is freedom then the realization of this simple fact?