Shane Simpson is an author who enjoys writing riveting action with a twist. He believes that every action has a reaction, which can either be positive and make the world a better place, or it can destroy. This was the central theme in The Owner, his first standalone book in the Albert Pabek Thriller series. As our Author of the Day, Simpson reveals how The Owner was written in rapid fire, how much Albert Pabek has in common with Jack Reacher and talks about how life is about people - not money.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Owner is about
It’s a story about a regular guy from a blue-collar family that decides enough is enough. He’s out to avenge the wrongs done to his family, his friends, and ultimately he himself. Albert gets tired of idle talk and seeks out his revenge.
What inspired you to write a book with revenge and vigilante justice as central themes?
Millions of people were irreparably hurt during the Great Recession a few years ago. Homes were lost and families were forever broken by the financial strain. Greed allowed big business to run unfettered and the little guy ended up paying the price. The “system” protected the greedy and punished everyone else.
The Owner is about the underdog winning against the greed and the system. Winning in emotional terms, though. It’s not about money (at least in the beginning).
Tell us more about Albert Pabek – who is he and what makes him tick?
Albert lost his parents before the recession hit Detroit. Then, he lost his auto factory job during the downturn. The anger of his “economic displacement” soon morphed into rage. The rage migrated into action.
Growing up in modest upbringings, Albert sailed frequently on weekends and during the summer with his family on small boat named Paradise Winds. A second-generation factory worker, he worshipped his family. The sudden loss of his father, as well as his mother a few months later, altered Albert’s view on life.
You included a lot of twists in the book. Did you plan them out before you started writing, or did some of them just “happen”?
The storyline was written linearly. I had a good idea on where the book was going to end. However, there are multiple sub-stories running parallel to each other. The twists are really around not everyone being exactly as they seem. All of us are complex individuals with selfish motives, no matter how altruistic we may portray ourselves.
Did you know from the start that this was going to become a series? How do the other books in the series tie in with The Owner?
No. The Owner is a standalone story. It paints a great story with a superb finality to it.
The sequels are really around the less than perfect characters, more than a dozen of them, which were introduced in The Owner. I’m wrapping up the 4th book in the series now, and I enjoy all of the individual personalities and quirks more each day. They’ve each come to life in such different ways compared to their roles played in the first book.
Does The Owner have an underlying message? What do you hope readers will take away from it?
Certainly. Every action has a reaction. The reaction can be positive and make the world a better place. Or, it can be destructive. Either way, there’s a response. Big business, without a caring human leader behind it, has no moral conscience. The book is a reminder to everyone that it’s important to be an empathetic, sympathetic, and morally responsible person.
The plot of The Owner has a carefully planned out history that spans years – why did you take this approach?
I didn’t want Albert’s motivations to be viewed as rash or missing premeditation. In fact, I wanted readers to think exactly the opposite. Albert spent years meticulously working out his plan of attack. He sails into San Francisco fully aware of the consequences of his actions. Albert doesn’t care about the repercussions.
Which actor would you imagine in the role of Albert Pabek, should this ever be adapted for a movie or TV series?
Albert is kind of like the everyday version of Jack Reacher sans being a loner. But, I don’t think Tom Cruise could play the role. The best actor will have an autoworker’s blue-collar mentality and Detroit edge to him.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’m a mediocre sailor and windsurfer. I’ve been known to work in tall buildings, but never really thought about leaping them in a single bound (or any number of bounds).
Your readers report that the book kept them at the edge of their seats right throughout. How did you pull this off?
The book setting takes place over three days and the reader knows this from the onset. Albert has three days to pull of his revenge. The clock is ticking, there is no guaranteed roadmap, and he’s usually behind schedule. A lot of things are jammed into those 72 hours. Readers can’t help themselves. They just want to know what’s going to happen in the next few minutes.
Each of the seventy chapters focuses primarily on a different aspect of the story and most have a minor cliffhanger closing. The sub-storylines throughout the book feel like there “must be” a link somewhere, but the reader just can’t quite touch it. That’s what makes it compelling. You just “know” something is there and keep reading for more information.
You have held operational and international sourcing roles within several manufacturing industries. How has this influenced your writing?
Most definitely! The US worker has a tough job; no doubt about it. But, I’ve seen factories all over the world. We’ve got it easy in some respects. I’ve talked to factory workers in China that live in dormitories and haven’t been home to see their families in a year. On the white-collar side, I’ve sat through countless reviews of numerically valuing choices that impact people’s lives. Left unchecked, the executive meeting room has no soul. That’s what The Owner is about – making sure people hang onto their human side. In the end, life is about people, not money.
Tell us about your writing habits – where, when and how do you write and where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from all walks of life, not just in the workplace. The Owner was written rapid fire and has a non-stop intensity seething through its 450 pages. It starts out at a modest pace and continues building steam. By the time readers hit the midway point, they’re not putting it down until the end. There’s a unique hook halfway into the story. You just can’t stop yourself.
The sequels are written with a lot of foreboding, and each one is becoming a little more challenging. Imagine the dozen or so main characters in The Owner growing by another six or so. Then, kill off a couple and watch what happens. The editor continuity checks are the extensive.
What are you working on right now?
Book 4 in the series, titled The Objector, is wrapping up now and will be released this summer. Albert is done with San Francisco (again), but is running for his life. Things have changed a lot since the first day of summer.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
AlbertPabek.com is a good place to start. You can find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/shanesimpsonbooks, Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/shanesimpson_, Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/ShaneSimpson, and finally, Amazon, the largest bookstore on Earth at http://www.amzn.com/e/B00FC452BG.