Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Indie Spotlight: Joe Lane

We love to read novels. To get lost in the fictional worlds the authors have created for us. But how often are we reading a book that was based on an event or series of events that took place in the author's life, without ever knowing it?

In today's spotlight, we meet Joe Lane. He wrote a fictional novel called Aftershock what was inspired by the economic collapse of 2008. Here, Joe shares his thoughts on why he used that specific event as a catalyst for his novel, and why female protagonists are featured so prominently.

The Inspiration Behind Aftershock

I am often asked why I wrote Aftershock. What got me going was rage over what happened leading up to and the ultimate economic collapse of 2008. There was also a lot of frustration about how successful the perpetrators and their political enablers had been at hiding the egregious illegal and unethical practices that made 2008 inevitable. I had done a lot of research over the past decade about how the financial elite had been able to so completely capture the political system and reshape it to their exclusive benefit. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial earthquake I imagined, since their transgressions had been so well documented, that just about everyone would understand and demand both retribution from them and a righting of the system to eradicate their dominance.

What I found when talking with a lot of people was that very few, very, very few, had much of an inkling of what actually happened or who was responsible for it. It isn’t that the data isn’t available, but rather that it has been presented in bits and pieces. Presented by people who are not celebrities or current or former leaders that the general public knows and trusts. In discussion after discussion, it was clear that the moneyed and political elite had done a masterful job of distraction and distortion. Essentially they played a very sophisticated version of ‘hide the pea’ with the general public. If, and only if, one had the time and the patience to wade through often mind numbing papers, endless documentaries, and then follow-up with authors and directors/writers could one grasp the big picture with sufficient minutia to enable one to point to specific acts by specific miscreants. 

I wanted tell the story in a suspenseful setting, provide an outcome that would be less depressing, and give readers certain factual data they might not otherwise come across. Of course the names are changed, much to my chagrin, to protect the guilty. So, while reading Aftershock and trying to imagine if specific instances or people (not of course their real names – I’d be in court for 150 years proving they did in fact do what I wrote down) are for real, read a few of the books I recommend, watch the documentary Inside Job, and peruse the Internet. I surmise you will learn enough to make you want to join the WA Cultural Restoration Society tomorrow, if not tonight.

Another question that often pops up is why women. And why so many? Why not a female Jason Bourne? It turns out that the two people I admire the most are women – the love of my life, Barbara, and my daughter, Kathryn. They are both tough as nails and the two most principled people I’ve ever encountered. It is also true that women are much tougher, and seriously more tenacious than men. Can you imagine men enduring 9-months of pregnancy and then delivery – our species would have died out eons ago. And keeping a secret, forget about it.

Another reality is that no one person ever accomplishes great change without a team of equally dedicated and tough partners. Dr. King had team of really talented and tough men and women to help him every step of the way. President Lincoln had partners, and even adversaries, who helped him get elected and then eradicate slavery from American soil.  Nelson Mandela had many people working with him from his earliest days as a freedom fighter to the completion of his term as President of South Africa.

Veterans retuning from war today mostly tell us they still believe that all killing is wrong, but sometimes necessary. So I needed a team of tough, dedicated, extremely dangerous women, who could wear tainted white hats yet still cut a heart out when all other options had been exhausted. A team who also knew they would have to employ sufficient slight of hand to keep all the alphabet agencies chasing shadows. The myth of the lone tough guy tearing through the universe vanquishing all enemies single handedly is, I think, a dangerous one. In reality, changing just about anything of consequence takes partners, intense cooperation, and time. Keeping people searching for, waiting for, a superman is a very clever way to keep those very same people from organizing and realizing the power of their numbers.

I think readers may find the women of the WA are not only tougher and more lethal than any of the comic book heroes, but perhaps even more unsettling than Dr. Lecter. So, keep the lights on while you read, and keep reminding yourself it is fiction … well mostly.


Joe Lane 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. For more info, visit:

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