Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Conversation with Novelist E. J. Simon

Omnimystery News: Author Interview with E. J. Simon
with E. J. Simon

We are delighted to welcome novelist E. J. Simon to Omnimystery News today.

E. J.'s debut crime thriller is Death Never Sleeps (iUniverse; July 2013 hardcover, trade paperback, and ebook formats), the first in a trilogy.

We recently had the opportunity to talk to E. J. about his new book.

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Omnimystery News: We introduced your novel as a "crime thriller". Would you agree with that?

E. J. Simon
Photo provided courtesy of
E. J. Simon

E. J. Simon: Its formal categorization would be crime thriller or suspense novel. It could just as easily have been called a techno-thriller. I would describe it as a psychological and technological drama wrapped inside of a traditional crime thriller.

I know books need to fit into neat labels for marketing purposes but I struggle with this since Death Never Sleeps crosses over many categories.

OMN: Tell us something about the book that isn't mentioned in the synopsis.

EJS: The artificial intelligence technology responsible for the reappearance of the main character is not a stretch of my imagination. Both Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and renowned physicist Stephen Hawking have recently stated that — through artificial intelligence — computers will become conscious and that we will soon be able to copy ourselves onto a computer. Like the car in your rear view mirror, it's closer than it appears.

OMN: How much of your own personal or professional experience have you included in the book?

EJS: Most of the characters in Death Never Sleeps are based upon real people whom I have known well. One of the lead characters, Michael Nicholas, is based on my own personality. Many of the situations – such as Michael witnessing the death of his uncle in chapter 39, are real events. Many of the most violent — the murders and kidnapping — are, fortunately, not based upon my experience, only my imagination and fears.

OMN: Describe your writing process for us.

EJS: I write a detailed outline setting out the major theme, detailing actual "scenes" (as I like to think of them) or chapters. I tend to follow the outline in the beginning. Once the story gets going, it takes on a life of its own. I consider it very similar to a "well-planned life." We can plot out our plans for the future but reality eventually takes over and we live different lives than the ones we planned. For most of us, I believe it works out better. I still tend to wind up following the overall outline — but the characters and events often surprise me.

OMN: Death Never Sleeps is such an interesting title. How did it come about?

EJS: My editor, Debra Ginsburg actually suggested the title. I was originally going to name the book Mirror Image reflecting the fact that the two brothers, Michael and Alex, appeared to be more similar to each other as the story progressed. I think Death Never Sleeps is a much stronger title and alludes to the central core of the story, the reemergence of Alex Nicholas through a breakthrough in artificial intelligence.

The spectacular cover was designed by Jeffrey Michelson, who is a former Apple Records advertising designer.

OMN: Suppose Death Never Sleeps is optioned for film and you're asked to recommend actors to play the key roles. What names would you suggest?

EJS: I always envisioned James Gandolfini playing the older brother, Alex Nicholas. Sadly, that's not going to happen. I could picture Michael Nicholas, the younger businessperson brother, being portrayed by Keanu Reeves or Matt Damon. Michaels' wife, Samantha, could be Diane Lane or Julianne Moore; and Donna, Alex's last wife, is a perfect fit for Michelle Pfeiffer.

OMN: Have any specific authors influenced how you write?

EJS: I enjoy the simple, clear writing style of Stuart Woods. I also admire the interesting complexity of Dan Brown's stories.

OMN: What kinds of books do you read for pleasure?

EJS: I read more non-fiction than fiction. I love stories about WW II, the French resistance; biographies of people I'm interested in such as Thomas Jefferson, Frank Sinatra, JFK and Churchill. Lately I've been reading about Albert Speer, Hitler's architect and armament's minister.

OMN: Of the fiction books you do read, do you have any favorite series characters?

EJS: Those created by Ian Fleming, Stuart Woods, Daniel Silva and Dan Brown.

OMN: What are some of your outside interests? Have any appeared in the book?

EJS: My wife and I collect modern art, specifically photographers such as Helmut Newton, David LaChapelle, Ellen vonUnwerth, and Annie Leibovitz, Yes, this has entered into my writing. I have included gallery scenes in the story, specifically at Staley-Wise, a major photography gallery in Soho, NYC. I also love baseball. I have a major scene in my (upcoming) second book that takes place at Yankee Stadium.

We are also regular theatre-goers both in our hometown of Westport and in Manhattan for Broadway and off-Broadway productions. I don't think actual theatre situations or stories appear in my books — but good theatre is a great exercise for one's imagination.

Finally, I love food and restaurants. I believe that so many major events in our lives happen — or are revealed — over meals. So many of my chapters occur in restaurants that you'll probably pick up weight by reading my book.

OMN: What's next for you?

EJS: Death Never Sleeps is the first book of a trilogy. The second book, still untitled, has been completed and is in the final editing process. I am also about to begin a non-fiction collaboration with Vito Colucci, a former undercover detective and the author of Rogue Town.

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E. J. Simon was the CEO of GMAC Global Relocation Services (a division of GM) and the Managing Director of Douglas Elliman, the largest real estate company in NY.

He is a consultant to many leading private equity firms and has held senior level positions at prominent financial services companies.

He is a world traveler, food enthusiast and lives in Connecticut. For more information about the author and his work, please visit his website at EJSimon.com or find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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Death Never Sleeps by E. J. Simon

Death Never Sleeps
E. J. Simon
A Crime Thriller

The problem with Alex Nicholas is that he won't stay dead.

Alex Nicholas was the consummate Queens bookie: fast cars and even faster women, and friends in all the wrong places. As an illegal sports betting and loan shark king in New York City, Alex was fearless — until the night his luck ran out and someone leveled the silver barrel of an automatic on him and pulled the trigger.

Michael Nicholas was everything his brother Alex was not: a powerful, married straight-arrow corporate CEO living the American Dream. Their two worlds collide when Michael discovers his brother's secret laptop.

As Michael crosses the globe to find his brother's murder, can he avoid his brother's fate? And can the information contained in the laptop help Alex reach out to help Michael — from beyond the grave.

Amazon.com Print/Kindle Format(s)  BN.com Print/Nook Format(s)  Kobo eBook Format

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