Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest today, Joseph D'Antoni author whose recent debut novel, Silent Sanction as just been published.
Norm: Good day Joseph and thanks for participating in our interview.
Please tell our readers a little about your personal and professional background.
Joseph: I am new to writing popular fiction novels. For the last 40 years I have been (and still am) a forensic economist and investigator. I mostly testify as an expert witness in civil litigation trials relating to economic damages. I typically testify for the plaintiff or the defendant and sometimes am appointed by the court directly.
I have also served in the capacity of an expert in criminal cases as well. Most recently this work has involved fraudulent activities of the recent bank failures. My forensic work has included work for the department of justice, CIA, FBI which has exposed me to all sorts of white collar and organized crime cases as well as general commercial disputes between parties in business transaction all of which has provided wonderful background and material for writing fictional novels.
Prior to becoming a testifying expert I taught business courses at three major universities and served as an economic consultant to many of the U.S. largest corporations and law firms. Until now most of my writing has been academic articles, economic feasibility studies, legal opinions, business and real estate appraisals and testimonial reports.
Fictional writing in my genre has been fun and I consider myself fortunate to be able to draw on a career of interesting subjects and subject materials for my novels. I hold an undergraduate, master’s and doctorate degrees from major universities in the fields of economics and finance. I have also been a fine art photographer and published in that area as well.
Norm: How did you get started in writing? What keeps you going?
Joseph: I have always wanted to do fiction writing but never seemed to have the time. Last year I was laid up recovering from knee surgery and read an article about how to write a novel in 30 days. My immobilized condition left me with few options including watching day time TV soap operas which almost drove me insane. After reading the article I set up my laptop computer and starting writing. By the time I started physical therapy I had completed the first draft of Silent Sanction. For me it took a medical condition to get me started and out of my day-to-day routine. After that I couldn’t stop writing every spare moment I had. I guess everyone who starts writing has a different story how they got started.
Norm: Silent Sanction is your debut novel. How did you enjoy the process and what motivated you to write the novel?
Joseph: With a little guidance from the article I read the process of starting to write for me was not difficult. My biggest challenge was I had to unlearn some of my academic writing habits. I had to let the story flow through dialogue which is a very different process from academic writing. I’m still working on that aspect of my craft. I also had to keep the plot, characters and timing of events in historical context since Silent Sanction takes place during the 1950-1960’s.
It wasn’t until I had some younger Beta readers report back that they didn’t know what the Cuban missile crisis was or hardly anything about the Cold War with Russia that I realized I had to go back and provide more history of the times in the novel. Interesting how time distorts perceptions when some readers haven’t lived through an era. I think it’s the writer’s job to bring the reader back to that time.
The motivation for Silent Sanction for me came about naturally from stories I already knew and had lived through. I stuck with the recommendation, “write what you know about.”
The story is part biographical and part fiction. Many of the characters are still alive and the events fresh in their minds as well as my own. The Russian submarine in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Mississippi was real and I was stationed on the submarine that in the book is named the USS Prowfish. I felt the story and characters might be enjoyed by others and I enjoyed sharing it with readers. Hopefully they will enjoy the story and learn a little history if they haven’t lived through that era of our history in the South. History has a tendency of repeating itself. Look at what’s being faced now with Russia. Are we headed toward another Cold War with the Soviets or will things calm down?
Norm: What purpose do you believe your story serves and what matters to you about the story?
Joseph: I think what matters most about the story is how someone from the far reaches of an isolated Louisiana swamp can have their life change in such dramatic ways. The protagonist Wade Hanna is basically a good, perhaps naïve, young man who comes from a difficult home making a few mistakes that any young man might make growing up. For Wade Hanna the consequences of those mistakes seemed magnified by the times and events surrounding him many of which are outside his control. One thing leads to another and quickly the undecided youth has decisions made for him that forever change his life and puts him in danger. Only time will tell if his unfortunate experience is for the better or worse.
The character Wade Hanna is not one but a compilation my many individuals I knew growing up as are many of the other characters that shape his life.
Norm: Where did you get your information or ideas for your novel?
Joseph: Many of the general ideas came from real life experiences I had growing up and in the Navy supplemented by research. I knew the places and the mob characters while growing up as well as some of the law enforcement personnel. It also helped that I lived in the South during the time period of the novel. Many of the fictional portions of the novel were researched. This ranged from historical characters and events to the fictional biological weapon deployed by the Soviet submarine. For the biological weapon my research included research of biological studies made by both MIT and Caltech scientists. I also had the benefit of great advice from some Navy SEALS who were around at the time as well as some Navy ship captains who lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Norm: What is the most favorite part of your book?
Joseph: I think the most compelling part of the novel for me was when Wade had just escaped his undercover operation for the NOPD and was suddenly called to active duty by the Navy. His submarine adventure was another of his silent sanctions that came so close to mutual undersea destruction. I also think the disappearance of the Russian sub after Captain Hodges had been called off duty was also interesting in the book and in real life. Because of reader’s inquiries about what happened to the Russian submarine I was prompted to write the short story Undersea Voices which is also on Amazon.
Norm: How much of the book is realistic?
Joseph: Like any fictional novel some of the story is based on real events. In the case of Silent Sanction much of the core story is based on real events at a time before there were cell phones and personal computers and rock and roll was in its infancy. If the story were cast in todays current environment is would be a very different story. If the events happened today I don’t think the story itself would have never happened. I think understanding the story within it’s historical context and what was going on in the South and the rest of the country at the beginning of the Vietnam War was all part of the real story and what made even the fictional aspects of the story realistic.
Norm: Did you learn anything from writing your novel and what was it?
Joseph: I learned a great deal about writing and that I love the craft of writing. I learned that I have work to do to become a better fictional writer and I am busy perfecting that craft. My characters were very real to me in real life and hopefully I was able to transfer that to the novel. I am busy working on my dialogue writing skills and you will see more of that in coming novels. I consider myself fortunate in that I never developed writer’s block. In fact my problem was quite the opposite. My characters spoke to me constantly to the point I had to cut them off. I hope that good fortune follows me into other books.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and Silent Sanction?
Joseph: I have a WEBSITE called, and will post new information on that site from time to time and try to answer all emails through that site. I am just getting into social networking and to be honest not very adept at it. I am still extremely busy with my forensic work and writing. I have started doing interviews and making some appearances around Los Angeles discussing books but finding time right now has been a challenge.
Norm: What is next for Joseph D’Antoni?
I am currently completing the next two books in the Wade Hanna
series and have a ideas for two more outside of Wade Hanna
adventures. One book should be out before the end of the year and
the other shortly thereafter. My goal is to try to write one to two
books per year. Much will depend on how readers react to my work. I
get extremely motivated to write more when I am encouraged by my
readers. I have been very pleased with the reception I received from
my debut novel and hopefully writing will develop into a near full
time work for me.
Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors