Monday, November 4, 2013

"Killing Wall Street" by Sanjay Sanghoee

Killing Wall Street
by Sanjay Sanghoee

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing author Sanjay Sanghoee about his book Killing Wall Street. We also have two paperback copies to give away. These prizes are available internationally, so make sure you enter below.

Killing Wall Street is a timely thriller about the terrible consequences of corporate greed and the unimaginable power of working class rage.
Catherine is a working class single mother whose life is spiraling out of control. Her husband has left her, her daughter thinks she is a failure, her job is in jeopardy, and her savings have evaporated after the financial crisis. When an arrogant banker whom she is dating betrays her trust and threatens to ruin her completely, she decides that she has had enough, and plots a shocking revenge against the system that has victimized her.
Special Agent Michael Sands, a rising star in the FBI, is fresh off a terrorism case when he is put in charge of an unusual investigation. Someone is killing high-profile CEOs, bankers and lawyers connected with a multi-billion dollar merger, and the killer is a step ahead of law enforcement every time. When Wall Street begins to panic at the murders, the race is on to catch the phantom killer. But as Michael investigates, he discovers that the victims were all hiding a deadly secret – one that involves a conspiracy of the highest order and which threatens to corrupt and destroy our democracy forever.
The stakes keep escalating for both Catherine and Michael as they encounter the frightening reality of financial power, and are confronted with impossible moral choices at every step.

I’ve finally found my code.  If you’re laughing now, shame on you.  We all have a code – some of us just take longer to figure out what it is.  Mine is to purge the world of financial violence.  This isn’t just about revenge for Edward’s abuse, mind you – he’s just one guy.  This is because there are others like him, and each day they are allowed to roam free and ply their trade, they suck a little more life out of everyone else, out of life itself.  They plunder and pillage with impunity and no one seems to be able to stop them!
If you’re wondering who I’m talking about, you only need to open the Wall Street Journal on any given day.  They are the CEOs, the investment bankers, the lawyers, the hedge fund managers, basically the big fish who keep smiling and telling us that we’re safe while secretly preparing to have us little fish for dinner.  These monsters abuse and embezzle us out of a living, out of a home, out of a car, out of our peace of mind and still expect us to believe in their trickle-down con-games.  Oh please...I may be dumb but I’m not stupid.
Which is why I intend to kill them. 
I know I can’t get them all but I can get a few, and that’s got to be worth something.  I have lived in fear for too long and I can’t live that way anymore.  If the devil won’t leave me alone, I won’t leave him alone.

Killing Wall Street is not just about banking or bankers. It's about corporate greed at every level and about the very real pain that results from it for the average man or woman. This book is about consequences at every level - for the main characters, Cathy and Michael, for the bankers, CEOs and others who don't play fair, for the corrupt politicians out there, as well as for the system itself. The plot line is simple - Cathy is a single mom who gets screwed by the financial crisis that nearly bankrupts her, and in response she decides to hand out her own justice to those who are culpable. In the process, Michael, a cop, is given the task of piecing together bewildering clues to find the killer and uncovers a seedy conspiracy that reaches the highest levels. The crimes are great fun to read because of Cathy's darkly humorous first-person voice, and the financial plot is credible (probably because the author is a banker himself). In the middle of all this we get to witness a woman going through a midlife crisis and all the challenges that come with being a single parent. It makes Cathy three-dimensional and as a woman myself, I found it refreshing for someone to spend as much time detailing his female protagonist as much as concentrating on the 'thriller' aspect! It all leads to one big twist and then one more, and then you realize what a huge price almost everyone in the novel has paid for their choices. As I said, this book is about consequences. RECOMMEND!

Interview With the Author
Hi Sanjay, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book Killing Wall Street.

Which writers have influenced you the most?
I love old-world thriller writers like Frederick Forsyth, John le Carré, Jeffrey Archer, Ken Follett, but I am also a fan of Philip K. Dick, Stephen King (the earlier works), Michael Crichton, Chris Cleave, and Michael Lewis.  So basically a variety of genres and styles.

What age group do you recommend your book for?
Anyone over 18 should enjoy the story of a single mother taking revenge on corporate corruption and Wall Street!

What sparked the idea for this book?
The panic that I observed in people in the beginning of 2009 after the financial crisis. People were losing jobs, credit was tightening and people really didn’t know how they were going to survive.  I found that period very scary and wondered if an ordinary American caught in that dilemma could completely snap?  I was also inspired by the Michael Douglas movie Falling Down, which was extremely haunting and showed an otherwise good person caught in a circumstance not really of his making.

Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
They dovetail with each other as the plot develops.  You really can’t separate the two.

What was the hardest part to write in this book?
Capturing a woman’s voice and reactions (since I’m a guy)!  I wanted to make sure that it is authentic to the way a woman might talk and react to the circumstances in the novel and not just my idea of how a woman might do those things.  I showed early drafts to a lot of female friends to keep myself honest.

How to you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope it makes people think more deeply about the difficulty faced by so many Americans in simply surviving in our capitalist society.  People are very trapped by their paychecks, debt, and other circumstances which kill their spirit and that’s a tragic thing for a nation like America.  We are very advanced technologically and are a rich nation, but I think we are extremely poor in terms of spirituality and empathy.

How long did it take you to write this book?
One year, give or take.

What is your writing routine?
None, but when I’m writing a new book I tend to go into a zone for several months during which I need to be alone and become very anti-social.  My only company are my characters during that period. In terms of a daily routine, I tend to write about 5 or 6 hours a day during the period when I am writing, but it could be anytime during the day and is sometimes broken up.

How did you get your book published?
Through a friend who is an agent.  The publishing landscape has become extremely difficult, though, and readers themselves have a very short attention span.  It’s becoming increasingly about marketing, which is killing good content.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Start by writing short and punchy novels with unique ‘hooks’.  That is the only way to break into the market nowadays.  Don’t go for the ‘great American novel’ right away. Once you’re ready, don’t be hesitant to ask people for introductions to agents and be shameless in promoting yourself.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I read a lot obviously but I also write a lot of political and business commentary for the Huffington Post and sometimes other publications.  Otherwise I like to swim and just go and sit on a beach to relax!

What does your family think of your writing?
They love it.  Of course, they wonder sometimes how someone as dumb as me can write smart stuff, but I wonder about that myself too so it’s okay.

Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
It was pretty normal.  I played a lot, wrote short stories since I was 7 years old and was physically active.  My parents were big believers in balance so I did many different things at once.  I was never the smartest academically but not bad either.  There is a cliché that Indian parents push their kids too hard on academics but my parents were pretty liberal and made it a point to make me well-rounded. I always had an imagination, though, and was always cooking up stories…

Did you enjoy school?
Oh yeah, but mainly because I always made friends easily and it was fun.  Not necessarily the academics part – I have always had a hard time sitting in a classroom.

Did you like reading when you were a child?
Even more than I do now.  My parents would buy me books by the suitcase and I would devour them within weeks!  I read War & Peace when I was 10 (true story).

What was your favorite book as a child?
Hardy Boys mysteries.  I absolutely loved them!

Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Hard to tell but I don’t think so.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When my father bought me a small red Brother typewriter at the age of 8.  I learned quickly how to type and couldn’t stop…  I still remember that typewriter and recently unearthed my first published short story from around that time entitled The Detective and the Ghosts (don’t ask).

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Occasionally.  I got many emails from readers on my first novel Merger, and they were mostly complimentary.  I really enjoy hearing from readers.  Since I write political commentary nowadays, I have a small following and interact a lot with some of my regular readers, including those I disagree with.  It’s nice to have people reading my work even if they are critical.  I still remember one time when I ordered a rare CD from a small store in Berkeley, California, online, put my credit card info in, and got an email from the proprietor of the store 10 min later asking me if I was the author of Merger?  That was just amazing!

That's great! What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I am thinking of writing a pseudo-Sci-Fi book to talk about the issues of inequality and economic injustice we are seeing in America today, but am also thinking about writing a non-fiction work on the same subject, so let’s see.  Haven’t really worked that out yet.

Thanks for stopping by today, Sanjay. Best of luck with your future projects.

About the Author
Sanjay Sanghoee  is a contributor to Huffington Post, Fortune, and other publications on politics and business. He has a wide following for his articles on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Topics that he routinely writes about include corporate crime, Wall Street reform, political gridlock, workers' rights, and gun control.
He is the author of Killing Wall Street, a fast-paced new thriller about corporate greed and the frightening power of an ordinary citizen's rage, as well as Merger, a corporate thriller which Chicago Tribune called "Timely, gripping, and original," and Barron's Weekly called a "high-octane thriller."
Sanjay is a former investment banker and worked for several years at a leading multi-billion dollar hedge fund. He currently helps new hedge funds and private equity firms with their launch and operations. He also sits on the Board of a mid-sized Hispanic radio station group.
In addition to his work and writing, Sanjay was a news anchor with WKCR 89.9 FM in the '90s in New York City, and interviewed notable media personalities including Larry King, Christiane Amanpour, Art Buchwald, and others. He has an MBA from Columbia Business School and received an Award for Ethics in Business in 1999.

We have two paperback copies of Killing Wall Street up for grabs in our giveaway. This giveaway is open internationally.