Mystery Books News is delighted to welcome Robert Wickes as our guest blogger. Robert is the author of political thriller The Hornbrook Prophecy (Crystal Dreams Publishing, August 2010 Trade Paperback), his debut novel.
Today, Robert provides us with some background information about his new book. And he's also providing our readers with an opportunity to win a copy of his book. Visit Mystery Book Contests, click on the "Robert Wickes: The Hornbrook Prophecy" contest link, enter your name, e-mail address, and this code (2754) for a chance to win! (One entry per person; contest ends August 17, 2010.)
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Photo provided courtesy of
When I first thought about writing a book I wanted to write a disaster novel. Ultimately, after considering that all the natural disasters had been done to death (pardon the pun), I figured that a really widespread disaster was more likely to be of social origin, and these days nothing happens in society without the heavy hand of politics. Thus, I was led to a story of modern political mischief ending (without much of a stretch of imagination) in disaster.
I finished the original manuscript sometime in 2002 or so but, as an “undocumented author” I had no success in getting someone interested in the work. I shelved it to work on a non-fiction book that ended up opening some doors for me. During the several intervening years, my father, who had read an early Hornbrook manuscript, kept telling me, “You’d better hurry up and get that novel published or it won’t be fiction anymore!” The economy then slowed the publisher’s efforts to get the book out so, as a result, the book is coming out in 2010, the year I set the story in originally. When I updated parts of the story to account for political and economic events of the last few years, I realized how right my father had been.
Reality is definitely catching up with fiction. Let me give you an example. In Hornbrook, a tax revolt is triggered by the actions of a coalition of corporations, led by a West Virginia coal mining company. So it amazed even me when I read last week that an Appalachian coal mining company was trying to organize its competitors for political action against politicians they view as anti-coal. A weird coincidence?
In my early drafts, the lead character, U.S. Senator Henley Hornbrook, was a leader of his political party. Over time, however, I turned him into an Independent because, frankly, I didn’t feel that either party deserved him. Some early reviews have referred to him as a modern “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” because he’s too idealistic to be realistic. Well, I don’t apologize for Mr. Hornbrook. I think the country could use a strong dose of idealism as well as someone to derail the bipartisan political juggernaut that’s steamrolling America with corruption, fiscal irresponsibility, and a legislative playbook that is only concerned with the outcome of the next election.
I constructed the story in three parts. In the beginning, we see Congress wrestling with a far-reaching, multi-dimensional, massive legislative act which proponents claim is necessary to save the nation’s economy. Naturally, it backfires, and in Part Two we see the chaos which ensues as unintended, but inevitable consequences of political ambition. In the final part, the good guys ride to the rescue.
That, of course, is what makes this fiction. I’m pretty sure there’s no one out there getting ready to ride to our rescue. A real Hornbrook would be Don Quixote on steroids. He would probably be stoned from the windmill.
But we can always dream.
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Robert Wickes is an optometric physician in private practive for more than three decades. With his wife of over 36 years, he has two sons: an aspiring kindergarten teacher and an F22 fighter pilot. He has served his community as a Boy Scout leader, soccer coach, Rotarian, Chamber of Commerce President, and political volunteer. Visit his website at RobertWickes.com.
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About The Hornbrook Prophecy: What would happen if the United States government suddenly went bankrupt? An ancient beheading and a 200-year-old prediction foretell the inevitable consequences of blind ambition and the abuse of power in a thought-provoking, passionate challenge to conventional political wisdom.
Maverick Senator Henley Hornbrook fights against unscrupulous President Winston Dillard while a nationwide tax revolt plunges the country into chaos before Hornbrook unveils a stunning plan that will forever change the nation and preserve its destiny. Is it fiction, or prediction?
In a classic confrontation between government oppression and rugged individualism, The Hornbrook Prophecy will spark debate from the classroom to the bar room about a new, principled hero who fights for more than the girl and the gold.
For a chance to win a copy of The Hornbrook Prophecy, courtesy of Robert Wickes, visit Mystery Book Contests, click on the "Robert Wickes: The Hornbrook Prophecy" contest link, and enter your name, e-mail address, and this code (2754) in the entry form. (One entry per person; contest ends August 17, 2010.)