While the United States is focused on diffusing Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear programs the ultra-nationalist CEO of Japan’s largest Keiretsu plots to build nuclear weapons to protect his country from a menacing China, and a large political action committee within the U.S. to thwart the expected U.S. cease and desist demands.
That’s the catalyst that draws three families intertwined by blood and marriage into conflict with each other, and how conspiracy, lust, infidelity, treachery, betrayal and murder destroy those families.
The American Nagoyas
John Nagoya―Second generation Japanese American.
Yoshi Nagoya―John’s wife.
Gingi Nagoya Morrison―John and Yoshi’s daughter.
Roger Nagoya―John and Yoshi’s son.
The Japanese Nagoyas
Toshio Nagoya―Chairman of the Cabal. John’s cousin.
Michiko Nagoya―Toshio’s wife.
Ogato Nagoya―Toshio’s and Michiko’s son.
Senator Ted Morrison
Sandy Morrison―Ted’s wealthy, socialite wife.
Danny Morrison―Ted and Sandy’s son; married to Gingi Nagoya.
Douglas Welfield―Sandy Morrison’s brother.
Targeted Age Group:
How is Writing In Your Genre Different from Others?
It’s new! It’s different from many suspense novels on the best seller lists. It’s fiction that soon may become a reality as china continues to menace its neighbors.
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Writers?
Once you begin your writing try to find a critique group that will give you honest feedback on character development, dialogue, voice, plot, conflict and setting. But don’t automatically take anyone’s critique as gospel. Remember, it’s your story. Analyze the critiques to see if they have merit. Say you have a six person group. If one person criticizes something then it may or may not be valid. But if three or four in the group say the same thing about a segment then you should take it under serious consideration.
Richard Brawer writes mystery, suspense and historical fiction novels. When not writing, he spends his time sailing and growing roses. He has two married daughters and lives in New Jersey with his wife.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
This book was inspired by many newspaper articles:
“The Chinese Air Force may one day play the most significant role in challenging
America’s Military presence in The Asia-Pacific.”
The Wall Street Journal 8/24/11
“Japan PM Warns on Defense”
“China’s military expansion poses a growing challenge to Japan’s national security.”
The Wall Street Journal 10/17/2011
“In Japan, Provocative Case for Staying Nuclear.
Some Say Bombs’ Potential as Deterrent Argues for Keeping Power Plants on Line.”
The Wall Street Journal 10/28/2011
“China Takes Aim at U.S. Naval Might” The Wall Street Journal 1/4/2012
“Japan’s reputation as one of the world’s sickest economies is exaggerated.”
George Melloan, The Wall Street Journal 1/27/2012
“Japanese Leader Warns of China’s Military Buildup”
The Wall Street Journal 3/19/2012
“Cash-Rich Japanese Firms Go on Global Buying Spree”
The Wall Street Journal 5/30/2012
“Japan’s Nationalist Movement Strengthens”
The Wall Street Journal 8/15/2012
“Chinese Warships Put Japan on Edge”
Huffington Post 10/16.2012
Quotes from some of these articles:
“The pace and scope of China’s sustained military investment have allowed China to pursue capabilities that may contribute to regional tensions and anxieties.”
Michael Shiffer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense.
“China’s increasing assertiveness has significant consequences for the security and stability of the region.” Representative Howard McKeon
“That’s the behind-the-scenes reason Japan decided to develop the Hayabusa (H-2B rocket). It sent a quiet message that Japan’s ballistic missile capability is credible.” Toshiyuki Shikata; former Lt. General in Japan’s military.
In an interview with Mr. Shintaro Ishihara, the governor of Tokyo, Mr. Ishihara said in reference to China’s increasing encroachment on other countries, “Think of Tibet. They don’t have a country. They don’t have a leader. They’ve even lost their culture….I don’t want Japan to end up as a second Tibet.” As reported in The Wall Street Journal August 8, 2012
“Tokyo will have to perform a solo balancing act but expect it to focus more on the growing power in Asia: China.” Michael Auslin, Director of Japan Studies, American enterprise Institute.
“The author presents detailed case studies on East Asia…to bolster his argument that the multipolar nuclear world is already changing…We are once again in a world where nuclear weapons count.” From The wall Street Journal review of Yale Professor Bracken’s nonfiction book titled “The Second Nuclear Age”.
Can a novel be developed from these essays?
Newspaper stories reporting a crime most often describe the scene, the motive and the perpetrator, generally enough information to create a plot and characters. However, opinion pieces and essays generally focus on a subject. Is there enough depth in that single subject to from a plot? Is there enough information to create a protagonist and antagonist?
I think the answer to both of those questions is, yes. A novelist is a person with an extraordinary imagination, a person who is profoundly curious, a person who asks questions, a person who is widely read on many subjects and can use his/her knowledge to create plots, scenes and characters.
For example, I have read numerous essays on China’s growing military and their unabashed encroachment on its neighbor’s sovereign territories in its search for oil and gas. The articles were exceptionally poignant when referring Japan/China relations.
I started asking the following questions to see if I could create a novel from those essays:
What do I know about the historic relationship between China and Japan?
I know that China and Japan have had 750 years of hostilities. In 1274 and 1281 under Kublai Khan, China tried to invade Japan and failed both times. However, Japan has defiled China with the Rape of Nanking and other atrocities during WWII for which Japan has yet to apologize.
China is still fuming over Japan’s brutality during WWII. Will China try to exact its revenge on Japan? My answer was, “Eventually, yes.”
How could China attack Japan today with the U.S. vowing to defend Japan?
Could the U.S. stop China? According to the newspaper articles, my answer was, “No.”
The U.S. is not going to war with China. It would be like Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. The country is too vast, the lines of supply too long even with today’s advanced military expertise, and China’s military is very strong.
Most importantly would Japan continue to put its defense in the hands of the U.S. even though Japan is well aware China is developing missiles and a huge army that will eventually be able to counter U.S. forces including aircraft carriers?
Or would they build nuclear bombs to protect themselves?
Based on Japan’s history with nuclear bombs and the latest nuclear power plant disaster, my first inclination was to answer these last two questions, “Yes,” and “No.”
As I read more and more essays and coupled them with another historical fact about Japan― It only took Japan fifty years to go from fighting with swords in 1853 to become the most powerful military in Asia by 1905―my imagination jumped into high gear, and I reversed my answer to those last two questions to, “No” and “Yes.” Japan already has vast uranium enriching facilities for their nuclear power plants and could easily enrich uranium to bomb quality in a short time. Japan also has a space program so they have ICBMs that can deliver the bombs.
However, there was still one other factor in the equation that might again reverse my answers. Considering Nagasaki and Hiroshima and now the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, would the people rebel against their government building nuclear weapons?
How could the people be persuaded that nuclear weapons are the only defense against an ever growing and intimidating China?
I am not saying the Japanese people are easily manipulated, but despite all their outward appearances of having a contentious democratic government and competitive companies, in times of crises, the Japanese people have always come together as one single minded group. They even have a word for it― ittai―come together as one body.
But how could I develop a novel from these questions and answers without it sounding like a treatise on Japan/China relationships or the reader saying, “Ridiculous!”
I needed to change course and think about the questions that would pop into the reader’s mind. Fiction has to have some basis in fact, and the facts in those essays have been widely reported. If I omit something that is obvious, the reader will be turned off.
Some of those obvious reader’s thoughts would surely be:
With the U.S. demanding North Korea and Iran abandon their nuclear weapons programs, if the Japanese government were to start a nuclear weapons program, the U.S. would most certainly demand Japan cease and desist.
Japan relies on the U.S. for its security. If the U.S. gives Japan an ultimatum, Japan would have to acquiesce because if the U.S. threatened to withdraw its security pact with Japan, Japan would be at the mercy of China.
Those readers thoughts would have to be answered logically or the reader will put the book aside.
Those thoughts led to one more important question, what would Japan due to thwart the expected United States’ demands to cease and desist?
When I had logically answered all my questions I developed the following plot:
Toshio Nagoya, ultra-nationalist CEO of Japan’s largest keiretsu, foresees a dire peril approaching his country from China’s escalating militancy. To protect his country Toshio forms a secret cabal with the CEOs of Japan’s seven largest keiretsus to build nuclear weapons in the shuttered power plants. (Note: You’ll have to read the book to see how they keep it secret) He and his group then provide funding and aid to ultra-nationalist groups already operating in Japan to heighten the peoples’ fear of China.
Toshio is well aware that the U.S. will eventually discover that Japan is making nuclear weapons and demand Japan cease and desist. To thwart those demands, the cabal forms a large political action committee within the U.S. to donate huge sums of money to congressmen’s campaigns. They will then “ask” the congressmen who depend on that financial support to get re-elected to blunt the administration’s insistence that Japan “stop or else.”
Now that I had a plot, I had to develop characters that fit the plot and at the same time are in conflict with each other. It is characters in conflict that keep the reader turning the pages.
These are the characters I developed:
The Japanese Nagoyas
Toshio Nagoya―ANTAGONIST. Ultra-nationalist CEO of Japan’s largest keiretsu; Chairman of the Cabal. He enlists his cousin, John Nagoya, a lawyer in the U.S. to create the PAC. However, he questions John’s loyalty. Toshio and John’s grandfathers were twins. John’s grandfather fled to the U.S. during the turmoil in Japan after the Shogun was overthrown and the Emperor Meiji was returned to power. Toshio has been indoctrinated that John’s grandfather was a traitor to Japan and guilty of treason. Toshio fears that that same traitor’s blood flows in John’s veins.
Michiko Nagoya―Toshio’s wife stuck in a loveless marriage.
Ogato Nagoya―Toshio’s and Michiko’s son; his primary goal is to garner praise from his father; works in America as liaison between Toshio and John; obsessed with John’s daughter, Gingi, from the first day he saw her.
The American Nagoyas
John Nagoya―Second generation Japanese American; Toshio’s cousin; he seeks revenge against his country because at the age of nine he watched a mob beat his parents to death after their release from the internment camps; a lawyer; Never accepted Gingi’s husband, but uses him in his plot with Toshio.
Yoshi Nagoya―John’s wife. Loves everything American.
Gingi Nagoya Morrison―John and Yoshi’s daughter; despises Ogato; married to Danny Morrison.
Roger Nagoya―John and Yoshi’s son. With John away on business for long periods of time, Yoshi raised Roger and Gingi with every advantage wealthy American parents could give their children. Roger is the PROTAGONIST in conflict with his father, Ogato and Toshio.
Senator Ted Morrison―Powerful Senator; avid fighter against foreign companies donating money to America’s politicians and PACs.
Sandy Morrison―Ted’s wealthy, socialite wife; Enamored by the prestige of her husband’s powerful position in the Senate; Dislikes sex but acquiesces to her husband’s desires but with no passion; never accepted Gingi as her daughter-in-law.
Danny Morrison―Ted and Sandy’s son born with a “silver spoon in his mouth”; not fond of working; likes to race sailboats and stock cars; married to Gingi Nagoya.
Douglas Welfield―Sandy Morrison’s brother; state party chairman; does a lot of business with the Japanese auto manufacturers; grudgingly supports Ted; but not enamored with his brother-in-law’s political position toward foreign companies operating in the U.S.
Imagine the conflicts: Conspiracy, lust, infidelity, treachery, betrayal and murder. Husbands vs wives; fathers vs sons; brother vs sister; mother-in-law vs daughter-in-law; cousin vs cousin.
So now you see how you can take seemingly innocuous essays and turn them into an explosive political thriller.