Brad Good - Engaging International Tale With an Atypical Hero
Brad Good began living and working in China over thirty years ago and has invested across the country. He holds an MBA and Masters in East Asian Studies from the University of Chicago and a BA from U.C. Berkeley. He speaks fluent Mandarin and is a fifth-degree blackbelt in Shaolin Kempo Karate. After spending COVID in China, Good now resides in Austin, Texas. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, The Control Center.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Control Center is about.
A chance meeting one night in Shanghai introduces American banker Jack Gold to an Israeli man named Ari, who has a stunning proposition: Help Israel and the United States infiltrate China’s heavily guarded Control Center (broadcasting center) and address the nation with the truth they deserve to hear. Jack’s love for China, and the beautiful artist he meets one night, pushes him to the brink as he risks everything to help a nation of people whose lives and livelihoods have been stifled by government control.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything that made you want to tackle this?
Living and working in China, I saw firsthand the subjugation of the Chinese people. This is, of course, in addition to all the other misdeeds of China’s Communist Party. I asked myself, “what if” I could do anything to improve the situation, what would it be? Also, I felt Americans would find it fascinating to learn about cultural and societal issues in contemporary China.
Tell us more about Jack Gold. What makes him tick?
Jack is a guy from Los Angeles who was interested in China and happened to be in the right place to help in the mission. He has integrity. He is fluent in spoken Mandarin, and happens to have some martial arts training, which attracted the attention of the Israeli security forces. He’s humble and not trying to impress anyone, but knows when to stand up.
Why did you pick Shanghai to start the story?
Shanghai is the business center of China (Beijing is the political center.) It’s where Jack would be working in finance. Shanghai is the most populous city in the world.
This is book one out of four. Can it (they) be read as a standalone? How does it tie in with the other books in the series?
The books are largely cumulative, so it is best to read them in order. However, Book 4 is a story about how Jack faces a China that regresses to communism when he is granted a position in the U.S. Government. In other words, Jack faces the exact same situation America now faces with China. Although some background would be missing, Book 4 is the most relevant contemporary story about China. With that caveat, some could be justified in jumping ahead to read it. (I wish they would.)
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I have a fifth-degree blackbelt and am fluent in Mandarin. I started living and working in China in 1988. Whenever I get into a taxi in China, within thirty seconds, I can tell whether the driver is going to try to cheat me, or if he doesn’t know where he/she is going.
Interesting cover. Please tell us more about how it came about.
I’m proud of the book covers. Each cover contains important elements from that book’s story while maintaining consistency across the series. I had no control over the designs. I only insisted that the designers read all of the books.
You've lived and worked in China since 1988. How has this influenced your worldview and your writing?
I am constantly astounded how politicians and the media in America discuss one China-related issue at a time, as opposed to summarizing them and looking at the situation as a whole. They do this at their peril. Studying Chinese for so long has impacted my sentence structure when writing English. I’ll survive.
What was your greatest challenge when writing this story?
The greatest challenge was finding good editors. My grammar, despite my education, is sub-par.
Readers say that the book was hard to put down. How did you manage to keep the pace throughout?
I constantly asked myself while writing: “Will someone want to read this on an airplane?” Also, I felt strongly that everyone who reads my books should finish being happy they learned something.
Did you plan out the entire story (series) before you started writing, or did some of it just "happen" along the way?
The series just happened. For example, while waiting for my editor I got impatient and wrote Book 4, in two and a half months. I believe it’s the best book.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I put myself into the character with an ultimate ending/conclusion topic. Anytime things become predictable, I make something difficult happen that was unexpected. This can be seen in Book 4 when to Jack’s surprise China invades Taiwan. Because of this approach, I would get absorbed into the story, sometimes excessively. (Not a good thing.)
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I love hearing from readers. People can see more at www.bradleygood.com and reach me there.