I was asked if I would be interested in taking part in the book tour for Provocateur by Charles D. Martin. It sounds like a great read and while I can’t review it I can share about it because well I want to know more too. It has some great reviews out and a lot of buzz so I’m seriously eager to learn all I can. Be sure to add it to your TBR list. Today is an author interview and tomorrow is a guest post by Charles. Stay tuned for that.
Hi Charles, can you share a bit about yourself?
I was born in a small town in Ohio and grew up in a poor family. I worked my way through college and graduated from Ohio State University (1960). Upon graduation I got a job working for Howard Hughes and moved to California where I have lived the rest of my life. I had an extremely successful career in Venture Capital and Private Equity. I am a very happily married man and live in the southern California coastal town of Laguna Beach.
What are you reading now?
I read a huge amount, but mostly related to macroeconomics, global public policy issues and the investment landscape. On the fiction front, I am beginning work on a sequel to Provocateur and working with an Academy Award winning screenwriter on the adaptation of my novel to a movie format.
Who are some of your favorite authors? Your favorite books?
Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove is a work of artistry as good as anything painted by Picasso. When I was a young man, at the beginning of my skyrocketing career, I read Moby Dick. That was many years ago. I have a love for the sea, which was part of what engaged me. I read it at a time in my life when I was working extremely long, high pressure hours. As you may know Moby Dick consists of a large number of short chapters. It was on my night stand and I would read one chapter every night before going to sleep. Reading it that way took me on a journey inside the story where I felt like I was living with the characters. It was a sad day when I turned the last page.
What inspired you to start writing?
I enjoy writing and have always done a lot through my life. I have written two books before this novel, both are non-fiction, one on investing and one on sailing. I have also written many white papers & blogs on matters relating to investing, the global economy and public policy. Writing this novel has opened my eyes to the power and excitement of fiction. Through it a writer can create wonderful, interesting characters and take them on a journey through a life experience. One can explore aspects of the human experience in far more depth and granularity than is possible in movies or any other medium. A writer can also dig into philosophic issues that can be embedded in the story line. I love it and want to do more!!!
The writing of Provocateur was stimulated by an experience that got me thinking about the story thesis. I have always been intrigued by the dynamics between men and women and found, in this story, the perfect platform to articulate some of the fascinating aspects of the interaction between the sexes.
Did you do any research for Provocateur?
Living a rich, full life…was my research.
Even though it is purely fiction, out of my imagination, there is a lot of my own life, and my philosophic observations about it, in this novel. For example, in creating the character of Olga, I recall meeting such a woman at a State dinner at the US Ambassador’s residence in Madrid years ago. She had been a CIA agent during the cold-war period working in Eastern Europe. She had lived a very adventuring life and was a totally fascinating woman. I was also inspired by the obituary of Nancy Wake, a British OSS agent who passed away last August at age 98. Her fabulous life story is captured on my website.
Did this story just flow or did you have difficult moments when the story wouldn’t come that you had to work through?
There were definitely points were I was stymied … when I did not know how to move forward. I would get my heroine in a jam and couldn’t figure out how to get her out. And there were other times that I was challenged to figure out how she could credibly succeed with her missions. The story was written linearly, without a grand plan…without knowing where it was headed. After the completion of the early draft, I did a major restructuring, wrote a new chapter and completely rewrote another. All in all I wrote 61 drafts.
Please tell us about Provocateur:
Provocateur is a story about strong women and the stealth power that they have over men. Provocateur explores that aspect of the human experience that surrounds the age-old contest between men and women. It is the story of Nadia, a young Russian woman who comes to America through a mail-order-bride program. She becomes employed in an enterprise operated by an ex-CIA agent named Olga, whose agency, through clever
missions, extracts large amounts of money from wealthy men. In her “assignments” Nadia must get the best of alpha males that are at the top of the male order. Nadia, born an orphan, rises out of a life of poverty and despair, where she had no experience with affection, to face the struggles and take on the challenges of her “profession.” She is a complex, enigmatic woman of superior intelligence who must “win” through her finesse and feminine prowess.
What do you have planned next?
Academy Award winning screenwriter, David Ward, is doing an adaptation for a movie.
The thesis for the book lends itself to follow on novels. We may see Nadia again.