01-08-2013 10:05 AM - edited 01-08-2013 10:08 AM
Q&A with Mari Passananti
The K Street Affair
Debbie - Mari, welcome to the B&N.com General Fiction forum.
Tell us a bit about your new novel The K Street Affair.
Mari- When I first submitted The K Street Affair to agents, the best rejection I received included a comment that the world was not ready for “a female Jason Bourne.” I respectfully disagreed with that advice. My heroine, Lena Mancuso, isn’t a professional spy like Bourne—she’s a lawyer. But more importantly, I was excited about writing an adventure story about a woman risking everything to stop a heinous crime, and kicking some butt along the way.
As for the book’s villains: I’ve always been fascinated by the nexus between money and politics, and by the alarmingly cozy relationships many large corporate interests enjoy with our elected officials.
I’ll be forever grateful to a certain private equity executive who first floated the phrase “offshore money laundering” my way, because without their network of shell companies, my villains wouldn’t have managed to be nearly as dastardly.
The basic premise of The K Street Affair boils down to two questions:
What if a politically wired multinational corporation set out to start a war to advance its own economic interests?
If one relatively ordinary citizen stumbled upon their plans, should she risk everything, including her life and the lives of her family members, to stop them?
This is your second published novel. Is release day as exciting this time around?
Yes, maybe even more exciting.
The K Street Affair is very different from your first novel The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken. Can you tell us what you’re working on now? Does it also take a different avenue than the other two?
I have two new projects underway. One is a sequel to The K Street Affair.
The other is a novel about a woman who gives up her career to follow her celebrated humanitarian husband to the third world. If he works tirelessly to save countless children, but treats his own family abominably, is he still a great man? In aid to the developing world, do appearances matter more than results? And does modern marriage have room for two big, ambitious personalities, or does one partner always end up yielding?
Does being a first generation American reflect at all in your writing?
Not overtly, but I do think growing up in a multi-cultural family affects the way I see the world. My parents are both from Europe. I’ve spent a good amount of time abroad, starting from a very young age. Travel opens the mind, creates empathy and exposes the traveler to different ways of thinking about various socio-political issues. I think blind nationalism is terrifying, and that’s a theme I hope to explore in the sequel to The K Street Affair.
Do you write full time?
I wish. I write when my son is at school. Preschool gives me a twenty-hour work week, which never feels like enough.
Do you belong to a writer’s group?
No, but I do have a handful of very sharp beta readers and a great editor.
Do you have any Barnes & Noble events or signings?
I’m working on getting some scheduled, and all events will be listed on my website (maripassanantibooks.com). I’d be thrilled to do as many Barnes & Noble store events as possible.
Mari, thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Good luck with the new novel.
Thank you so much.