Interview with the late Joseph R. Garber, Bestselling Author of Thrillers
I began my first novel, Rascal Money, while trapped by a blizzard in the Fort Wayne, Indiana, airport. I had nothing better to do at the moment and was in a shall-we-say cranky frame of mine.
Joseph R. Garber’s first novel, Rascal Money, was published in 1989. His second novel, Vertical Run, was published in 1995 and became a bestseller. Vertical was optioned to Warner Bros. and someday be a motion picture. Before Joseph passed away, he was a columnist for Forbes Magazine and wrote occasional literary criticism for the San Francisco Review of Books. He was a well-known business analyst, and Mr. Garber served on the board of directors of a number of companies. He was working on his next novel, which he touched on in this interview with me.
Kenna: Give us a little bit of your background, maybe something more than the fact that you are a successful and published writer?
I was born in Philadelphia, a fact which I do my damnedest to forget. Although I skipped about the country in the wake of a frequently relocating father, I mostly grew up in New Hampshire. I spent two years at the University of Virginia majoring in beer-drinking, a discipline for which little academic credit was awarded. Immediately thereafter, in that era of universal conscription, I was subjected to the United States Army's tender mercies, an experience which persuaded me to return to college but changed my major.
After graduating, I spent a few years with AT&T (then the world's largest and most boring company) before being recruited by Booz, Allen & Hamilton, one of the bluest blue chip management consulting firms. I've remained active in the consulting world ever since, these days spending my time on mergers and acquisitions projects - smaller, private, and most assuredly friendly deals.
I began my first novel, Rascal Money, while trapped by a blizzard in the Fort Wayne, Indiana, airport. I had nothing better to do at the moment and was in a shall-we-say cranky frame of mine. That novel was intended to lampoon the predatory ways of the 1980's corporate raiders - a task which (according to reviews in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere) I managed to accomplish with some wit.
My second published novel, Vertical Run, which became an international best-seller, was inspired by a spate of IRA bomb incidents involving one of the tenants in my office building.
I make very little distinction between work and play - all the money-making things I do (novels, a column in Forbes Magazine, consulting) I do because they are fun. My chief recreations are reading, the opera, charity, and wildlife preservation work, and a considerable amount of exotic travel - when abroad I usually can be found doing something imprudent involving carnivores.
Vertical Run Review
Getting It Down on Paper
Q. Some writers use index cards, outlines or just let the story take over. What system do you use and why?
A. I start with character and situation, and with a vague sense of what's going to occur on the last few pages. What happens in between is as much of a surprise to me as it is to readers.
What Do You Think?
As a writer, how do you put down your thoughts or ideas for your next story?
© 2007 Kenna McHugh