Carrie and Ron Janson Chat about RED MONEY
Carrie: What inspired you to write Red Money?
Ron: I became inspired to write a mystery/thriller novel about a year or so after my book, Shareholder Value – A Business Experience, was published in the fall of 2001 under my birth name. Prior to this, I had written several corporate finance related articles that were published in business journals. The book, a nonfiction work on an important aspect of finance, is written as a story, with the learning taking place through a series of “experiences” that the various characters live and work through. I particularly enjoyed the character development and storytelling aspects of composing this book and wanted to pursue a new writing career in fiction, as I felt that I could develop a story that would captivate those who read mysteries and thrillers. For me, the next challenge was to write a fictional story with a compelling plot and cast of characters.
Carrie: Give us an idea about the plot without giving too much away.
Ron: The plot centers on a young married couple from Romania – deeply in love and traumatized by the murder of the husband’s older brother (a police officer) in their homeland shortly after they emigrate to the U.S. to escape a communist regime, under the guise of a student visa to study criminal justice at a college in New York City. The older brother’s homicide, preceded by the murder of his superior, the police precinct chief in their hometown, was the price paid for investigating the cover up and closing in on those responsible for an earlier mob-related killing of a greedy dock supervisor who was being shut off from narcotics shipment pay-offs. After graduating from college, the young male Romanian émigré becomes intertwined with The Red Mafia – first through drug raids via his job as a detective in New York City, and then through an accidental discovery after taking a position with the FBI in Miami. His investigative work in Miami links his brother’s slaying in Romania to a year-old killing of a female FBI employee in Washington, DC, who was romantically linked to a young American member of the mob and was “taken out” when she became a liability. The newly minted FBI agent pursues the mystery of these murders – driving him and his wife into a state of anxiety – to an exciting and deadly climax.
Carrie: What is the underlying theme of RED MONEY?
Ron: The story of RED MONEY is basically one of good versus evil, in which each side is portrayed for what it really is, and where the protagonists are a “good” family (two brothers who are law enforcement officers plus an innocent spouse) unlike many mob-related stories that focus on the mob family.
Carrie: What is your favorite scene in RED MONEY?
Ron: That would be the very last major action scene, in which retribution for much pain and suffering occurs.
Carrie: Why should readers buy RED MONEY?
Ron: Virtually all who have read it claim it’s a page turner with twists and turns and good action scenes. Through May 30, readers can get a 20% discount off the $14.95 retail price and be entered in a contest by ordering on my website.
Carrie: Who are your favorite authors?
Ron: My favorite authors for the past fifteen years or so have been Robert Ludlum and John Grisham, and they have had an influence on my writing.
Carrie: Can you give a glimpse into your life beyond writing fiction?
Ron: My professional career spans nearly 40 years and has been oriented toward the financial areas of business – highlighted by financial management jobs at four major companies, the co-founding of two management consulting firms, and helping to launch a medical device company. During the past few years, I have moved into corporate education to complement my fiction writing. My main outside interests are golf and swimming at the beach. I have been married for 33 years and have two daughters who are now in their twenties. We also have a six-year old dog that is a good companion. I also enjoy watching TV mystery shows along with some sports, and am a church-goer.
Carrie: Tell us something surprising about yourself—something not many people know about you.
Ron: The most surprising aspect of my life that most friends did not know is that I write fiction. When a local newspaper article appeared last July, many people in my home town were shocked that I was about to be a published fictional author. At a recent high school reunion in the town where I grew up, fellow graduates were also surprised to learn of my new vocation. The reason is that, while I have been at this for the past 5 years, I have kept a low profile on this aspect of my life – until now, that is.
Carrie: What’s next for Ron Janson?
Ron: In addition to promotional efforts for RED MONEY – presentations and signings at libraries, clubs and local book stores – I’ll be at the upcoming Book Expo America (BEA) in New York City at the end of May. Along with RED MONEY, we’ll be promoting my second novel, WHAT IS HERS, a mystery that takes place at the eastern Connecticut shoreline and is scheduled for release on July 31, 2009. This story is the first of a series about a retired New York City detective who wants to pursue a later stage life of peace and tranquility at a beach house where he has gone to live and retire, but gets dragged into violent crime cases. A third novel, building off the second, has been completed in manuscript form and a fourth is underway.
Carrie: Would you be willing to share your biggest challenge/failure and greatest success?
Ron: Yes. The failure was exactly that (a small business failure) … but one that was turned into a good company later on. Key successes are: (1) my work in finance that gained recognition in prestigious business journals and was then published, and (2) getting RED MONEY published after a 5-year effort of persevering through continual rejections of my manuscript by agents and publishers, improving the writing and delivering a final product that is getting good reviews by virtually everyone who reads it.
Carrie: Who is the primary audience for your books?
Ron: The primary audience for my novels is adults over 21 who enjoy mysteries and thrillers.
RED MONEY PART 2 Excerpt:
During the late spring of 1979, Andrei Serban was completing his bachelor’s degree requirements. The past couple of years had been difficult. He had not been able to get over his brother Lucien’s brutal death, and thought about it constantly. He had done some research at John Jay College and the New York Public Library and discovered a crime organization in Russia – the Organizatsiya – growing and expanding in the Communist Bloc. His research indicated that the Organizatsiya, or the Russian mob, was opposed to the communists in Eastern Europe, worked around them, and was apparently having success in buying off selected officials and achieving the level of influence that went along with this corruption. Those who tried to oppose the mob often disappeared or were murdered. To Andrei, it seemed like another twist to the Communist Party tactics he so detested, with one major difference: the Party was driven by gaining political power, while the Organizatsiya was apparently motivated by accumulating economic resources. As Andrei viewed it, from thousands of miles away, their wealth from drug and munitions trafficking was beginning to grow significantly. On many nights, after Sophie had fallen asleep, Andrei would lie awake thinking about what he had learned recently. He started to wonder if The Red Mafia, the other name given to the Organizatsiya, could have orchestrated the murder of his brother and the Chief. He now realized that Lucien was pleading for someone to believe that his suspicions about Petar Belcescu’s death had substance. Maybe Lucien had discovered something after Sophie and he had left Romania, which his letter implied. Then the most disturbing of all his thoughts, which made him shudder every time it crossed his mind. What if he were wrong about what he had believed for so long: that Ceausescu and his band of communists were the enemy and the ones to be feared? What if there was another enemy, one that was worse?
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