In this dark comedy, a young man who escapes his hopelessly hayseed home town in Missouri is mistakenly labeled a terrorist and must survive a manhunt by government security agencies, while the President of an America in chaos and collapse perpetrates an end-of-the-world hoax, attempting to reclaim control and get himself re-elected.
Blinders Keepers is social-political satire in the tradition of Jonathan Swift, Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller, but revved up and spit-shined to take on the historical new levels of absurdity and dysfunction of the 21st Century.
How did you decide to create a trailer and what was your experience?
I am fascinated by slow motion videos and the kind of incoherent free association that is usually associated with right wing politics.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I have to answer that on two levels.
First, a general overview: America is going through a difficult period in its history. Fact seems sometimes stranger than fiction. The political gridlock, the war on terror, the increasing disconnect between electorate and their chosen representatives. This has produced a atmosphere of desperation on both sides. People don’t know where to turn and who to trust, politicians are frantic trying to gain the respect and trust of the voters. While this is not funny on its face, it suggests in the extreme the potential for humor in the ongoing comedy of errors. My novel attempts to put a smile on the situation, as serious as it is, and particularly to poke fun at the political leadership in the country, while offering an on-the-ground glimpse at how all this tumult and turmoil impacts the lives of ordinary people.
Second, this book had a very specific genesis: In 2012 I was approached by an executive from Los Angeles, a person whose business is making movies. His message was that “11-11-11” and “12-12-12” would make a good movie. The problem was these two books are very complex, multi-layered works with way too many characters, parallel stories, sub-plots, and overall so packed with story lines and epic distractions, a movie of these two novels would be no less than 18 hours long. So I got to work. I chopped to the bone, focused on just the main story line __ the journey of main character Noah Tass from Missouri to New York City __ made a lot of necessary changes to what became of certain key characters and their relationships to Noah, and produced a tight commercial screenplay called “Blinders Keepers”. It is now in the hands of six film companies in Hollywood, with the prospect of being turned into a full-length movie late 2015 or early 2016. The novel “Blinders Keepers” is the novelization of that screen play.
John Rachel has a B. A. in Philosophy, has traveled extensively, is a songwriter, music producer, novelist, a left-of-left liberal, and has spent his entire life trying to resolve the intrinsic clash between the metaphysical purity of Buddhism and the overwhelming appeal of narcissism. Prompted by the trauma of graduating high school and having to leave his beloved city of Detroit to attend university, the development of his social skills and world view were arrested at age 18. This affliction figures prominently in all of his creative work.
While living in Japan in 2008, he wrote his first novel, From Thailand With Love. Then in November of 2009, he completed his second novel, The Man Who Loved Too Much. It was written over ten months, as he lived in and traveled through Japan, China, Nepal, India and Thailand.
While writing 11-11-11, he lived in Japan and Vietnam. 11-11-11 is the prequel to 12-12-12. The two are linked by characters and location. The clueless and basically powerless citizens of Pulnick, Missouri find it nearly impossible to eke out a meaningful existence in a world plagued by stupidity, superstition, gossip, political manipulation, and paranoid rumors about the end of the world. Does this sound familiar? The lead character for the two novels is Noah Tass, a bright young man in his early twenties, who ultimately is caught up in all of the ongoing insanity as he attempts to escape the bland hopelessness of his dreary life and begin a new, meaningful existence elsewhere. His bizarre journey is one of self-discovery and the kind of enlightenment one only achieves by confronting the weird and unexpected. Sounds serious? Actually there is much more laughing than crying. The events of these two novels are fictional, an alternative reality. But remarkably they ring truer than reality itself.
12-12-12 was completed January 2012 and was published March 18, 2012. While writing this dark satire, chock full unusual twists and biting political humor, the author lived in Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia and of course Japan.
John Rachel’s most recent novels include Blinders Keepers (published June 1, 2013), and An Unlikely Truth (planned publication date February 24, 2014). Blinders Keepers sprung from a suggestion made by a movie industry executive. Impressed by 11-11-11 and 12-12-12, this gentleman was convinced they would make a great movie, but would require drastic editing, since filming them in their entirety would amount to about 20 hours of screen time. Author Rachel combined the stories, cut the plot line to the bone, and finished the screenplay Blinders Keepers __ ‘The blind leading the blind and the rest of us directing them to the nearest cliff.’ __ just last autumn. The novelization of that screenplay is the book (for more on this bizarre social-political satire, you can check it out here).
Before starting on the screenplay, the hyperthyroid Rachel had just completed his political drama An Unlikely Truth. Though it contains much of the biting humor which has driven his previous novels, it overall represents a dramatic shift of tone for the author. Set in lovely homespun Dayton Ohio, it’s the story of an underdog Green Party candidate’s unpropitious fourth run for Congress against a slick GOP pretty boy, a sixth-term incumbent, an ex-military guy, totally full of hot air but a walking Kodak moment with a campaign war chest that made him almost unassailable. The story incorporates a unique and powerful strategy for defeating the sort of ubiquitous blowhards which lately have monopolized Washington DC, are owned lock-stock-and-barrel by big corporations and Wall Street bankers, vote their pocketbooks, smugly ignore the needs of the vast majority of citizens, and have mutated contemporary American politics into a play-for-pay game show with legislative votes going to the highest bidder. An Unlikely Truth’s release early next year is shrewdly timed for the mid-term congressional elections in November.
During the writing of these last two works, Rachel traveled extensively in Japan, and went back to America twice. He just recently returned from a nine-nation tour of Europe.
The guy just can’t seem to settle down. His last permanent U.S. residence was Portland, Oregon where he had a state-of-the-art ProTools recording studio, music production house, radio promotion and music publishing company. During his ten years in Portland, he professionally recorded and produced many artists in the Pacific Northwest, releasing and promoting their music on radio across the U. S. of A.
John Rachel has no pets but raises organic vegetables in the fields adjacent to his home. He often refers to his current life as living in a fairy tale, and maintains that his biggest complaint now is that his jaw hurts from smiling so much.
You can follow his adventures and developing world view at: http://jdrachel.com