Saturday, July 6, 2013

Guest Author: P.T. Dawkins

I have always enjoyed reading legal thrillers. I love to learn what goes on in the courtroom, as the prosecution and defense line up and execute their plans of attack. My approach is to use this framework but apply it to stories about the finance/money world – a place that is confusing to many but, as you get into it, fascinating. As I was writing my first two novels, The Analyst and The Ponzi, I tried to “dumb it down” (for lack of a better phrase – no insult intended.) For example, in The Analyst, one real challenge was trying to explain what it means to sell a stock “short.” (You’ll have to read The Analyst to find out.) Since that book was published, I've had a number of people tell me they learned something about the business, which is gratifying.  

I knew I enjoyed writing as far back as high school. My favorite course – I still remember – was how to write effective letters. (In this day and age, given BBM, Text Messaging and TLA’s, I doubt that course is still being offered.) I don’t fit the standard definition of “always wanting to be a writer” because it wasn't my career path. But writing itself has never been far away. I used whatever skill I had extensively in my career in the investment industry. Having left that in 2008, I have a wonderful opportunity to fulfill a dream – to write and publish fiction novels. Maybe my time in the investment industry was just training.

I learned in my writing courses at the University of Toronto that every scene and chapter needs to have seven elements (the “hook, inciting incident, etc.”) Before I write the first word, I do an outline of all of my chapters, which includes specific details of each of the seven points. That is my road map and I follow it as I write (and sometimes change it as I go along.) So, in The Ponzi, my most recent novel, my original outline had 70 chapters with 490 short paragraphs describing each part of the book. 

My career in the investment industry spanned almost 30 years and I either heard about or was exposed to some very interesting situations and people during that time. I have lot of stories circling in my mind. So, The Ponzi is part of a series of white-collar crime novels I intend to write. My first novel called The Analyst is about insider trading. The Ponzi is about Ponzi schemes. Of late we seem to be hearing more of this type of crime surfacing, highlighted by the Bernie Madoff case a few years ago.

If you’d like more information about either me or my novels, please visit my website


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