Tell me about yourself, how you became to be a writer, and why you are a writer.
I’ve always written, but it wasn’t until recently that I attempted to become a writer. I was the go to guy for toasts, business presentations and speeches. I’ve always viewed my writing as a hobby, something just for me. I took a writing class at the New York Writers studio. In that class I intentionally joined a group whose members had all been published. As the weeks went by, I realized that my work was just as good as theirs, so I decided to go for it. Of course, this was five years ago.
Tell me about your novel—what inspired it?
My novel, The Vig, was inspired by true events and also recent events in the financial industry. I worked downtown for years and ran into a number of characters that were more animated than anything I could make up. I also grew up on what would be considered the wrong side of the tracks. The novel combines both of these worlds. After all, bookies and bankers are not that different, as the world has seen in the last few years.
How did you choose the title of the novel?
The Vig was chosen to evoke the similarities between the world of finance and organized crime. Although most people have heard the word vig when it comes to illegal gambling, it is often used on the trading floors and trading desks around the world. The Vig could be a commission or a payoff, a management fee or a tribute, the price of a spread or a kick back. I’ve found that whether it’s a banker in Armani or a gangster in a track suit, they both make their money in the vig.
What made you choose your particular genre?
I’ve worked on the trading floor of the American Stock Exchange for years and I’ve also grown up with some questionable characters. I’ve always seen the similarities between both worlds. When you break it down, most Wall Street scandals are the type of deal you would hear being done on the docks. A pay off to recommend a stock, inside information, none of it is very complicated. It’s about greed and weakness. As I say in the book “it’s a simple trade wrapped in a complicated package.” I also wanted to write about the decisions that people make and what motivates them. My lead character takes a bribe to look the other way when he discovers a simple scam that really isn’t hurting anyone. Of course there are consequences. In a novel the consequences are immediate but in life they take a little longer.
What’s the next project for you? Tell the readers about it.
I’ve written a short story, The Garden, It is being published by TLT publishing in early summer of 2012. The story is part of a collection entitled New Beginnings. Proceeds will go to various Japanese Tsunami relief funds. The Garden is a radical departure from The Vig. It’s a love story with a bit of fantasy.
What character from your book(s) are you like the most and why?
As with most authors, I think there is a little of me in each character. All of them do share a black and white view of the world. There are very few shades of grey. I can be a bit black and white myself. What interests me is that both main characters have similar back rounds but have chosen different paths.
Let’s put the novel aside and talk about YOU for a minute—what are your hobbies and what can’t you live without that’s non-book related? What do you do when you are not writing? If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?
I’m a full time financial advisor. I work with a select group of clients. I devote a lot of time to them. I think of myself as more of a coach than an investment advisor. I do love spending time with my family. I’m off to my daughter’s basketball game after this.
Where would I live??? Florence comes to mind or maybe Telluride. My wife and I would love to spend some time in various places around the world. It’s a big world with lots to discover.
If a reader asked you to recommend the three BEST books to read, aside from your own, what would they be?
The Great Gatsby
Anything by Raymond Chandler
I love Fitzgerald for his prose, McMurtry for his characters, and Chandler for his efficiency of words.
If you could have dinner with one author, who would it be?
Hemmingway or Fitzgerald. Although I can’t drink like I used too.
Post where you can be found—website, blog, twitter, facebook, etc.
I have a The Vig facebook page. Johnnuckel@gmail.com or www.diversifiedassetmgmt.com