Monday, October 5, 2015

The Phoenix Year by David L. Blond Interview and Giveaway

The Phoenix Year

David Blond

Genre: thriller

Publisher: Wattle Publishing

Date of Publication: 2014

Number of pages: 332

Word Count: approx. 125,000

Book Description:

“… from out of the fire, would rise a new order, like the legend of the phoenix.

There would emerge a new world, a new super economy…”

So starts a sequence of events destined to rock world economies to their very core. On the 50th anniversary of their induction into the Society of the Phoenix, a group of billionaires is about to change the world dramatically, with devastating effect.

Overseen by the reclusive Heinrich Von Kleise, the Society has hatched an audacious plan to subvert world economies, by using and abusing some of the world’s wealthiest businessmen and their families; in some cases, holding them literally to ransom, or worse.

Michael Ross, an economic advisor to the US President, Ben Masters, a disgraced property tycoon, Natalya Avramowitz, a Russian economist and spy, and “Kim” a CIA Agent, find themselves at the center of this plot, involving inside trading, sex slavery, and political corruption.

As the world careens towards financial Armageddon, can Michael, Natalya and Kim prevent global disintegration, or are the world’s financial institutions fated to implode?

The Phoenix Year by David L. Blond is a gripping novel, encompassing many of the financial crises that have hit the headlines in the past decade. The author has skillfully woven these together to create an action-packed conspiracy thriller.

About the Author:

Dr. David L. Blond works as a private economic consultant specializing in quantitative analysis of economic data. He began his career working for the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. During the period of 1978 – 1985, he was a Senior Economist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense in Washington, and after leaving that position worked for various major global economic forecasting and consulting firms in senior positions. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Interview – 1
What makes The Phoenix Year unique?
It is a love story set in our times. The events of the past few years—starting with the Dot-com bubble burst and 9/11 through the financial recession to today’s volatile stock market and collapsing oil prices – are all part of the underlying story of the book. At the same time it deals with real people who recognize that whatever has happened in the past few years with the millions made homeless and millions losing their jobs and homes is nothing compared to what is planned by a group of wealthy, seemingly altruistic billionaires who set out to change the world by setting a tsunami to destroy Wall Street oriented managerial capitalism. What they do to try to stop what will be worse coming and how they must come to grips with the fact that they alone can’t stop the inevitable but must try to live with it and use it for food is the heart and soul of the story. In the end, really, I wrote it as a love story between two people who come from very different worlds but find redemption in working together.   
Tell us a little bit about your main characters
The Phoenix Year is a love story set in turbulent economic times where the main characters are forced to come to terms with the their own past lives – Michael had inadvertently set in motion the events that lead to the collapse of the global market at the end of the first book; Natalya had to face the fact that she had been used badly by her father for his own purposes leaving with a divided loyalty to the America she loved and the Russia of her birth; Kim had to deal with the damage done when she was a prostitute in Bangkok as she investigated the links between kidnapped children of executives providing inside information to some shadowy conspiracy; Ben and Lilly Masters and their wayward daughter Beth faced the fact that they did once truly love each other when all the cards were dealt against them sending them from the heights of the New York society to the lowest depths which anyone can fall.  
Describe your ideal writing spot.
I write fiction for relaxation. Much of my work involves building and analyzing large scale multi-product, multi-country data sets and trying to understand the how they fit together. I find if I can alternate while I thinking, plot lines and character development it is relaxing. So I usually keep open several windows on my computer to allow me to move from sometimes rather difficult economic analyses to the world of fiction were I can be in control of scene, plot, and character development.  
How do you keep busy when not writing?
I own and manage a well-regarded global economic practice involving working with large scale models and data bases combining information from clients with data developed by international organizations. I also work on complex consulting projects for clients throughout the world. 
If you could have any superhuman ability, what would you choose and why?
To change and influence minds that are made up. A superhero who need not fight because he can turn a villain into a saint would be the most powerful superhero of all times. 
Why should readers of thrillers and general fiction pick up The Phoenix Year? People relate to thrillers because it offers escape into a world that is mainly fantasy. But the economic events that have changed people’s lives since the collapse in 2008 are real events. The Phoenix Year is a thriller that I believe everyone can understand for the consequences are often times far more damaging to futures that some global cataclysm averted.  It has all the elements of a thriller – a potent love story between two different people, secret agents, sexual enslavement, insider trading, financial manipulations that will lead to damaging global prosperity, a storyline that races from Thailand to the heights of the Alps, but unlike most thrillers, the heroes, at least in the first novel of the trilogy, can’t stop the disaster that was started by the conspirators from unfolding as planned.  Instead they must try to ride the tiger until they can use the power obtained to try to turn what is a negative – a sudden, total, collapse of world stock exchanges with the loss of trillions of dollars of wealth -- into a positive for the world economy.      
You specialize in economics in your day job. Was this the inspiration for the book?
Yes, economics is the driving force for the world.  It impacts everyone. Explaining what happened starting really in 2001 with the collapse of the Dot-com bubble and the terrorist attacks of September 11th in terms that everyone can understand without being pedantic. There is a serious malaise that is gripping the world as if all the issues that from global climate change to poverty and stagnation have become obvious and unsolvable. There are solutions and it provides at least one possible path that may turn the negatives that end the first volume into positives that allow the human race to survive and prosper in the 21st century and beyond.   
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I hope the reader takes away aside from a good story and interesting characters that the book has a message and a goal. It is the first of two additional parts explaining how it might be possible to solve some of the pressing problems that come from the style of capitalism that has been practiced during the second half of the twentieth century. Capitalism defined by short-term goals to meet profit targets tends to create the paradox – strong profits combined with weak economic growth, high rates of unemployment, stagnant wages, and a growing divide between the 1% and the 99%. If not changed and altered, then it leads to economic stagnation or worse social revolution. The members of the Society of the Phoenix set out to destroy Wall Street capitalism because they saw it as the only way to break the cycle. Michael and Natalya, as the reluctant heirs, must turn their flawed vision into a reality if only to stop the global economy from totally collapsing. The last time that happened 50 million people were killed as nations went to war for social and economic supremacy in 1939. 
What books have influenced your life most?
Atlas Shrugged was a major influence, not because I liked the principle of greed and self-interest as the only noble sentiments for rich and poor alike, but because Ayn Rand was an amazing story teller.  She made you feel the depression and the hopelessness of the main characters. You could even root for John Galt and the other “industrialists” returning to save the world from their retreat in Happy Valley. 
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I’ve read a number of books by Mark Helprin and especially loved In Sunlight and Shadow.  If I could learn to craft fiction with the care for dialogue, story and words, beautiful words, then I would become a far better writer. So If I could ask for a mentor, it would be him. 
Where are you from?
I grew up in Washington, D.C., did graduate study in economics in New York, worked in Switzerland, and later returned to Washington where I worked first as the Senior Economist at the Pentagon, and later as a private consultant in Washington, D.C.  I now manage my own consulting company out of a home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
What book are you reading now?

Paul Erdman’s The Crash of ’79 which was published in 1976. I met Paul and his wife Heidi in England when I was on my honeymoon just after he had managed to get out of a Swiss jail where he was accused of bank fraud when his Basel based bank failed under the weight of trying to corner the cocoa market. The earliest version of my own book started while in Switzerland when I worked for the United Nations (1974 – 1978). As a read for the first time The Crash of 1979, I see that my own style is more about character development around a global conspiracy plot theme. What is interesting is that much of what Erdman wrote and published in 1976 involving Iranian nuclear weapons is the stuff of everyday life today. In Erdman’s book it is the Shah of Iran who acquires nuclear weapons rather than the Revolutionary Government of Iran. Erdman’s book also involved asking questions about how long capitalism as it existed back in the 1970’s could long endure.  

Twitter: @davidblond2000

Publisher Twitter: @wattlepub

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