Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Diane Lunsford is talking with Gary D. McGugan, author of The Multima Scheme (Book 2 in The Multima Trilogy of Corporate Intrigue).
FQ: Once again, I want to thank you for yet another enjoyable read. The returning characters have added depth and the ‘freshman class’ is keeping pace quite nicely with the old timers. I’ve noticed you plant a few seeds along the way to tie the story line to actual current affairs both politically and economically. Have you had any fans make mention that some of the situations are quite parallel with real life? If so, how do you respond to such observation(s)?
McGUGAN: Thanks for your kind words, and thank you again for an opportunity to chat with you and your audience. Yes, readers often comment about how plausible some passages in each of my stories might be. Although novels are works of fiction, I think stories are always more potent if scenarios and actions all seem plausible. My stories all stretch credulity a bit to make them exciting. But I try to validate plausibility with references to current events or well-known figures in a way that readers easily recognize. I think of it as part of the art of telling a story!
FQ: Considering the current pandemic, what creative ways have you come up with in promoting The Multima Trilogy (aside from social media) to keep a quasi-tangent connection with your fan base?
McGUGAN: Great question! And I wish I had an answer showing brilliant foresight and profound perceptiveness. Unfortunately, at this stage, I have neither. Since the arrival of the pandemic, my focus has been the completion of Pernicious Pursuit, my fourth novel. Until only a few weeks ago, I was planning to promote all my books with author events at bookstores. Indigo stores in Canada had already booked more than 35 dates for the Spring of 2020. That strategy must change as this pandemic will be with us for some time. Feathered Quill is part of my alternate approach. Working with sites like yours, I hope to attract new readers to all my novels, and I value your interest and support!
FQ: In line with my previous question, what social media platform is your ‘go to’ means for messaging? Why?
McGUGAN: Facebook is my primary platform (@gary.d.mcgugan.books). Twitter (@GaryDMcGugan) is another medium I enjoy and use. And Instagram is the most recent platform I’ve embraced. (authorgarydmcgugan). I favor Facebook primarily because it has a useful events tool that helps me promote author signing events effectively.
FQ: We learn in Three Weeks Less A Day that Howard Knight got himself in quite a pickle toward the end. Why bring his wife into the mix to lie for him when he decides to flee the country?
McGUGAN: Howard Knight has human shortcomings and we can often question his judgment. But he has a streak of brilliance, reads people well, and anticipates the FBI will come looking for him. He also predicts correctly that his executive assistant will call his home to see if he was delayed. His wife doesn’t realize she’s telling a lie when she relays her understanding of events.
There’s nothing unusual about a person in Howard’s position calling his wife at the last minute to let her know he won’t be home for a few days. He intentionally lies about his destination, knowing his wife has no reason to doubt the information. To her, it’s just a ‘heads up’ that he won’t be home for a few days. Unintentionally, she passes on the misleading information.
FQ: In conjunction with Knight’s flight, why is his paramour, Fidelia Morales, the only one who was ever given a ‘pass’ to leave The Organization?
McGUGAN: Giancarlo Mareno, the kingpin of The Organization, is quite an interesting and complex character. To him, Fidelia Morales was much more than the woman who ran his call-girl operations around the globe. Clearly, her expertise generated phenomenal wealth for him. But, on some level, he was attached to her emotionally. It might not have been love that influenced his judgment, but some tender connection led him to grant her wish initially. The moment she betrayed his trust, she became an enemy and any emotional attachment evaporated immediately.
FQ: It seems that Multima has a stringent vetting process for new employees, yet moles for The Organization still manage to infiltrate the inner sanctum. Was it difficult to keep track of who was doing what and how did you manage to keep it all straight?
McGUGAN: You caught one of the dichotomies of large multinational corporations. Like most large companies, Multima has sophisticated screening and hiring processes for ninety-five percent of its new hires. But with most large companies, a few people have extraordinary influence. In the case of Multima, board director Howard Knight needed only to inquire about the possibility of a job for a protégé, good friend, or family member to the CEO.
When any CEO then asks a human resources department to consider a candidate, that request almost always results in a quick and favorable hiring decision. It’s the way corporations work.
FQ: Without giving too much of a spoiler, there was quite the unmasking toward the relationship between Suzanne Simpson and John George Mortimer at the end of Three Days Less A Week. Did you work a couple of scenarios on how the plot would move forward with the information; particularly with Suzanne’s and Mortimer’s relationship? Why did you choose the path you chose?
McGUGAN: Sure. I thought through more than a couple scenarios before deciding on the one unveiled in The Multima Scheme. Ultimately, I wanted to create a complicated scenario for Suzanne Simpson to highlight her business acumen and extraordinary good judgment. Since my early days working in large corporations, I’ve always found women underrepresented in management hierarchies. One of the messages I like to include as an undertone in my writing is the great benefit women bring to organizations. I try to subtly champion why companies should promote more women to more prominent positions where they can exert greater influence on a company’s success.
FQ: In our first interview, you gave an intriguing answer to one of my questions that touched upon the audience you envisioned for this trilogy and your response was: ‘...I wanted Three Weeks Less a Day to appeal to an extensive demographic readership...’ How critical do you believe it to be in the writing process to have a distinct vision of who the intended audience is?
McGUGAN: I think it’s vital. A clear vision of the intended demographic helps develop the plot, the pacing of the story, and even with choices of individual words.
FQ: Think of a character you would consider for a future novel and describe what brings him or her to life.
McGUGAN: In Pernicious Pursuit, I introduce one new character named Nadine Violette, a trusting and naïve woman from the Caribbean island of Martinique. In the story, we learn how this college-aged young woman becomes a victim of human trafficking and her subsequent struggles to escape human bondage. We also see how misogynist criminal elements can change the trajectory of women’s lives quickly, dramatically, and permanently. I think readers will be very intrigued by the ways this character develops in the story.
FQ: I thoroughly enjoyed Book II, The Multima Scheme, and have taken the plunge into Book III, Unrelenting Peril. Knowing you were embarking upon the third and final book in the series, how difficult was it to write the proverbial ‘the end’?
McGUGAN: ‘The end’ sounds so final! Three Weeks Less a Day, The Multima Scheme, and Unrelenting Peril make up a trilogy designed around the goings-on at Multima Corporation. While I don’t currently have plans to enlarge the series around Multima, I plan to use some of the characters in those three novels in future stories. For example, in Pernicious Pursuit I take four of the naughtiest characters and launch them on a completely different trajectory of action and excitement. I think readers will enjoy reading about the ways the characters change and evolve in this very entertaining new action/suspense story. I hope Feathered Quill will read and review it soon!
FQ: Thank you again for your time and the pleasure of reading this fantastic series. I look forward to your future projects.
McGUGAN: It is I who thank you for the opportunity to chat with you and your audience.