Follow Here To Purchase Aftershock.: A Novel welcomes as our guest today Joe Lane. Joe is an international business man and filmmaker and the author of AFTERSHOCK, a political thriller about the 2008 financial crisis and its aftershock for many Americans.

Joe splits his time between the U.S. and China where he launched Spango, a new pizza chain in Zhao Qing. A renaissance man, he's been as a contract consultant for new product development, a speaker, Yale student, works with animal shelters to raise funds for abandoned pets, and he's been a pilot for over 45 years.

Norm: Good day Joe and thanks for participating in our interview.

Could you tell our readers a little about Aftershock? 

Joe: It’s a factual retelling of the who and how of the 2008 financial collapse seen through the eyes and lives of nine fictional women who ultimately decide the arrogance, avarice, and indifference of the moneyed and political elite has to be crushed now, by any means. Some friends who reviewed the original manuscript told me they figured even Hannibal Lecter would cross the street to avoid an encounter with the women of the WA.

Norm: What purpose do you believe Aftershock serves and did you write the story to express something you believe or was it just for entertainment?

Joe: Both, I think. I absolutely believe in the solution the women propose, although most certainly not their tactics for getting there. When we interviewed everyday people in our trip across the country in the fall of 2013, we found out that too many people didn’t really understand how the collapse had happened and who was responsible for making it happen. So getting the details of the who, the how, and the what out in a venue that people who might not read the dry, sometimes tedious books and papers from academics and researchers was important. The women and their exploits, however, are pure fiction to entertain and keep readers wondering what’s next as well as getting that info out there. 

Norm: What served as the primary inspiration for the book?

Joe: We were living in China in 2008 so we experienced the financial wreck second hand and a little delayed. The more I learned the more enraged I became. The more I learned, the more it seemed that only some truly radical change in the funding of our political system is necessary to prevent the complete erosion of our fundamental democratic institutions. The solution the women push for is the only one I believe can overpower money’s stranglehold on our democracy. As long as we continue to permit the individuals and organizations with the most money to have the loudest voice in our government, we are doomed to a continued cycle of financial booms and busts where those with all that money get even more money and the rest of us get stuck with the bill for their skullduggery and collusion. 

As Penelope and her band of dark hearted heroines say, “Public funding of the entire electoral and governing processes, with very long, very sharp teethfor those who violate it, is the only avenue we everyday citizens can travel where our voice matters.” If we do not get private money out of the hands of politicians and political parties, the dark hand of private wealth under the control ofindividuals and corporations will continue to bend the system to its will for its exclusive benefit.

Norm: What was the time-line between the time you decided to write your book and publication? What were the major events along the way?

Joe: It took me about a year to write it and about a year and a half to revise it and get it published. The one big change was Barbara and I moving back to the US. Seeing first hand the level of devastation thefinancial rape of everyday people caused us to rethink our involvement. We’re on it full time now.

Norm: Did you know the end of your book at the beginning? 

Joe: The end, end, yes. How they’d get there and what Marisol ended up doing, no. Turned out Marisol came to be the avatar of that dark part of my psyche.

Norm: How did you go about creating the character of Major Penelope Baldwin?

Joe: She was the easiest. Sort of a rational version of me in my younger days but with the tenacity and cunning of some really tough people I used to know. 

Norm: How did you flesh out the secondary characters?

Joe: They were a bit more challenging in that they had to make each of the actions the women of the WA undertook completely plausible in real life as well as be people one might know as a neighbor orcolleague. 

Norm: Did you work from an outline?

Joe: No. I had to follow the characters as they came to life and the various ways they could make the attacks work and remain invisible to those trying to hunt them down. 

Norm: How much of the book is realistic?

Joe: That’s a very interesting question. The parts that depict the events and people that made the financial system crumble and their cowardice and avarice,completely factual. The actions the women use on the political and moneyed elite are based on specific tactics and regimens I know to have been used and/or planned and trained for with the intent of being used. So the story is completely realistic. Precisely factualin many areas – pure fiction for the rest. 

Norm: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

Joe: My characters did things I can only wish I could do, in that dark part of my psyche. Things I knew too much about as a much younger man. And that enabled me to put aside some of my infantile rage and look at ways we might use to untangle this political-social conundrum we seemed to be mired in. 

Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and Aftershock?

Joe: The best places are and 

Norm: What is next for Joe Lane?

Joe: My next novel is Myth of Innocence. It’s another story about some people who were mangled by the powers that be and yet eventually found ways to make those who did the mangling regret they had been so arrogant and indifferent. It’s just about ready to send to the publisher. 

The next new big project is a documentary, Depraved Indifference. It’s the story of two specific laws that were designed by organized money, enacted by the organized money water carriers in congress, and the lethal consequences these laws have visited on many Americans. 

After that, I want to finish 96. It’s my third novel. 96looks at how robots, robotics, and artificial intelligence seem destined to unravel the social contract we have lived with since the end of our days being hunter-gatherers. I am convinced that unless we begin to have a very serious discussion about how we’re going to employ our genius, we’re headed for a future that will not be kind to our species.

Norm: As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.

Joe: Why I choose women, rather than the usual single all-powerful tough guy, to do the heavy lifting and butt kicking? The answer is the two people who are the toughest, most principled people I’ve ever known are women. One is my daughter. She joined the Peace Corps after she graduated from college, came back, got her MSW in international social work, and is still working with people who have essentially nothing to help them make it on a daily basis. She’s living in Burkina Faso now with her husband and two of my seven grandsons. The other is my wife and partner, Barbara. No one, not even my parents, ever treated me with such caring, so gentlyand so lovingly. We’ve been together for 17 years now and these are the absolutely best years of my life, hands down. She’s tough as nails, generous to me in ways I never imagined possible, and the kind of partner who jumps in with both feet but who will also take me out to the woodshed when my BS gets out of control and I need a bit of attitude adjustment. 

Norm: Thanks again and good luck with all of your future endeavors