I’m a political economist, public policy analyst, and author with advanced degrees in political science, finance, and economics. My scholarship on political and economic issues have won several national awards while his commentaries have been published in a wide variety of national media journals, including The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, BusinessWeek, The Financial Times, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. Currently I write on economic policy and politics on the blog, Casino Capitalism and Crapshoot Politics.
I have been inspired by and harbored a life-long fascination with the art, culture, and politics of the Italian Renaissance, and have lived and studied in Italy, near Florence. My enduring interest in the social movements and artistic creativity of this period led me to the life stories of Girolamo Savonarola, Niccolò Machiavelli, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci. As a visiting scholar to the Bridwell Library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, I researched primary Renaissance materials for the dramatized history-fiction trilogy on Savonarola and Machiavelli. This work, titled The City of Man: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso, has been an Amazon Kindle bestseller for more than four years running. In God We Trust is actually a modernized version of this 15th century Italian episode.
An early convert to digital technology, my eBooks are programmed to take full advantage of the search and link capabilities of digital text, as well as incorporating the enhancements of images, illustrations, tables, and indexes. These features give the reader the freedom to pursue their own path through the story with direct access to historical information on the Internet.
In addition to In God We Trust, I recently published two more works. Saving Mona Lisa is a novel about the world’s most famous painting told through the eyes of Leonardo da Vinci’s young assistant and eventual archivist, Francesco Melzi. The story is inspired by two real mysteries: Why did Leonardo insist the painting was never finished, refusing to surrender it to its rightful owner? And, who painted the copies, several of which depict Mona Lisa bare-breasted? The story delves into the conflicts inherent to artistic creativity and love by examining one of the most creative and complex personalities in history.
Political Economy Simplified: A Citizen’s Survival Guide is a condensed public policy primer that integrates analyses of economics, financial markets, and American politics into a broad overview of national policy for citizen-voters. This primer derives from and supplements my blog, Casino Capitalism and Crapshoot Politics.
What inspires you to write?
I have a deep curiosity about questions of life and seek answers in history, biographies, and stories about history. Once I begin searching, researching, and investigating these stories, I am driven by a desire to share them. I believe creating and sharing through social connectedness is what provides the greatest meaning to our lives. Thus I am compelled to the difficult work of writing.
Tell us about your writing process.
I start with questions that provoke my curiosity. If the investigation is fruitful I try to imagine how such ideas fit into the large scheme of life in this world and whether there is something to create and communicate. If so, that’s when I begin to do more focused research and take notes and build up through an outline. I am mostly writing historical narratives, so I must research all the history to be sure my artistic contribution to the story is consistent with that history. I sketch stories out in a flowchart manner so I can see all the relationships. Then I storyboard the story to be sure I can bring out these relationships in the narrative. I’m an academic and I treat writing like a dissertation.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Not consciously. But I put my characters in situations where they come out with lines that surprise and impress me sometimes.
What advice would you give other writers?
Writing is not easy, nor is it lucrative. One must have a compelling reason to go through the process. Is this the way you choose to communicate? Yes? Okay, now there is nothing but hard work ahead of you – enjoy.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I am a technophile. I have long used computer software for creating music, photography, and writing. I knew before ebooks that I wanted to write in digital formats because of the power it puts in the hands of both reader and writer. I could not imagine writing a dissertation without these tools.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It is being democratized, with all the pros and cons that brings to the art of story-telling and communication. Books are a packaging technology for spreading ideas. The packaging has changed and so has the publishing model. Embrace the change.
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
historical fiction, politics and economics, art history
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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