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Guest Blog by Author JOHN GAPPER!

Debut author JOHN GAPPER might be new to fiction but he's a seasoned, award-winning journalist and co-author of a non-fiction book. I think you'll enjoy his guest blog!

 


John Gapper is chief business commentator and an associate editor of the Financial Times. He writes a weekly column on business and finance, focussing on the media and technology industries and innovation. He also writes editorial and features on a range of business topics.

 

He has written extensively on Wall Street and the financial crisis; the troubles of the US auto industry; the future of digital media  and entertainment; innovation and venture capital; PR crises such as the BP oil spill; and software and open source.

 

John is based in the New York, where he helps to lead the FT's  expansion in the US. He was formerly comment page editor of the FT, and was in charge of introducing and editing the paper’s award-winning op-ed page.
     

He was named best business columnist in the 2011 Comment Awards in the UK and gained best columnist awards in the 2011 and 2012 Society of American Business Editors and Writers awards. He has received the technology writer and best communicator prizes in the the UK Business Journalist of the Year awards.

 

In the US, he has been shortlisted as best commentator in the Gerald Loeb awards. He was named one of the 100 most influential men in Britain by GQ magazine in 2009.
     

John won an open scholarship to Exeter College, Oxford University, where he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He was awarded a Harkness Fellowship to study at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Before the FT, he trained as a journalist with Mirror Group Newspapers, and worked on papers including the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph.
     

 He is co-author with Nick Denton of All That Glitters, the definitive account of the collapse of Barings, and has written a novel, to be published by Random House in 2012. He makes  appearances on television and radio, including on the BBC, CNBC and CNN and has written articles for publications including New York magazine.
     

John lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife, Rosie Dastgir, the writer and author of A Small Fortune (Penguin) and their two daughters.

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Re: Guest Blog by Author JOHN GAPPER!

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JOHN GAPPER!

[ Edited ]

You can find John on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/johngapperwriter

 

He's on Twitter here: http://www.johngapper.com/twitter.html

 

His website is here: http://www.johngapper.com/index.html

 

Check out this video of John here: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000059939

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Re: Guest Blog by Author JOHN GAPPER!

A Fatal Debt  

 

A Fatal Debt

 

 

Ben Cowper, an attending psychiatrist at the prestigious New York–Episcopal Hospital, is stunned to learn the identity of the emergency patient he’s just been assigned to treat: Harry Shapiro, a Wall Street colossus and one of Episcopal’s most prominent donors. But a high-profile reversal of fortune has left the once powerful investment banker jobless, bitter, and possibly desperate—judging by the handgun his wife finds him clutching.

 

In Ben’s expert opinion, Shapiro is a suicide waiting to happen. But when the headstrong financier balks at an extended stay in the hospital psych ward, Ben reluctantly releases him, bowing to political pressure from Episcopal’s chief administrator, who’s more concerned with the patient’s money than his mind.
   

Days later, the shocking news breaks: There’s been a shooting death in Harry Shapiro’s Hamptons mansion. But even more shocking is the identity of the victim. A tragedy sets in motion an explosive chain of events that turns Ben Cowper’s life upside-down.
   

As hard-nosed cops close in with harder questions, the hospital closes ranks to protect its own interests. But with colleagues freezing Ben out, innocent circumstances conspire to incriminate him. Hounded by a DA who’s out for blood, and haunted by the specter of a shattered career, Ben has no choice: He must delve into the hearts and minds of the people who know Harry best, uncover the secrets they’d rather die—or kill—to keep, and expose the truth behind a web of malice disguised as madness.

 

 

 

 

 

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Re: Guest Blog by Author JOHN GAPPER!

A journalist writes fiction

 

By John Gapper

 

I know what you’re thinking—isn’t a lot of journalism fiction? Well, not at the Financial Times, where I’ve worked for the past 25 years (yes, an entire quarter of a century) and which has high standards. I write a column there about business and finance and have covered investment banks for many years, since well before the 2008 crash. But writing A Fatal Debt, my Wall Street mystery novel, was a very different experience.

 

It took me a long time to come round to the idea of even trying. My wife, Rosie Dastgir, is a fiction writer—her debut novel A Small Fortune has just been published by Riverhead—and I always thought we should stick to a marital division of labor. I’d do the factual stuff and she’d do fiction. I was afraid of branching out into something unknown, at which I might fail.

 

But it had been suggested to me before—agents and publishers like the idea that an author might know about Wall Street since it’s a closed world to most. When I’d written a non-fiction book in the UK about the collapse of Barings bank in 1997 (All That Glitters, which I co-wrote with Nick Denton) a few people had told me to try fiction. I almost took the plunge, but pulled back.

 

Then, after the 2008 crash, when other journalists seemed to have taken all the good ideas for a non-fiction book, I thought maybe I should finally give it a go, and I set out on what became A Fatal Debt.

 

Since I wasn’t even sure that I could do it, I took a journalistic approach at first—I relied heavily on research. I went round and talked to many people on Wall Street—even the wives of hedge fund bigwigs—about their experiences. I spent time with psychiatrists, since Ben Cowper, the narrator, is a New York psychiatrist who gets enmeshed with Harry Shapiro, the former head of Wall Street bank that has crashed.

 

One thing that surprised me was how ready most of them were to talk. As a journalists, I am used to interviews but there is always an unspoken tension – how will you use what they tell you and how will they be portrayed? In the corporate world, where people are used to the media and often have public relations representatives, it can become a negotiation.

 

Furthermore, such people are usually unwilling to discuss their personal lives—they regard it as a professional transaction. It would be unthinkable in the middle of chatting to a bank chief executive about the progress of his business to ask him about his hidden hopes and fears—what keeps him up in the middle of the night. If he revealed his emotions, it would worry his investors.

 

Researching fiction, it turned out, was another thing altogether. Once they were convinced that I meant what I said—that nothing they said would be quoted or used in a way that identified them, some unveiled the most extraordinary details about their lives and work.

 

Eventually, though, I had actually to sit down at a desk with a blank computer screen and start to write. I can’t express how strange I found the process of letting my imagination loose, rather than relying (as I have always done) on notes and hard facts. There turned out to be a whole untapped world out there, somewhere inside my mind.

 

It was disturbing, as if I was losing my moorings and drifting into a dream-like state. At times, when I’d written all day in the Brooklyn Writers Center, immersed in the characters and story, I felt as if I was waking from a dream when I halted. I was groggy, and had to go home and take a nap.

 

I expect practiced novelists can slip in and out of the creative state easily, but as a novice I found it testing. Even then, I still unconsciously clung to the security of facts. One day, I thought of a plot twist that required a parking garage beneath the swanky apartment building where Shapiro lives in Manhattan. Oh dear, I thought. The real-life building I was thinking of didn’t have one. Then I realized. Hold on, you can just make it up. It’s a novel. What a liberation!

 

All the same, it was a relief to return to my day job with the first draft finished, and be surrounded again by colleagues, facts and daily deadlines, all the day-to-day scaffolding that keeps one in place. The novelist’s life is rewarding—to create an imaginary world story rather than recounting the factual existence of others—but mentally tough.

 

One thing that writing fiction lessened in me was the fear of failure. Journalism is a craft to be learned—some are better at it than others but there are rules to follow. Constructing fiction—even genre fiction like a mystery—is much more mysterious. An author has to find not only a story but his or her own way of writing.

 

That is an enormous challenge but it means that everyone, apart from a few hugely gifted writers, faces the same insecurity. I’m sure I’ll be as sensitive as any writer to a bad review but just to have finished it and to see it on shelves means plenty in itself. I might even try again.

 

 

 

 

           

           

           

           

                       

             

           

             

 

           

             

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Ryan_G
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JOHN GAPPER!

In the past, I've tended to not enjoy books like this, but I'm intrigued despite myself.  Thanks for coming by.

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JOHN GAPPER!


Ryan_G wrote:

In the past, I've tended to not enjoy books like this, but I'm intrigued despite myself.  Thanks for coming by.


My son is an economist - this book is right up his alley!

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Ryan_G
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JOHN GAPPER!

Then it might be bad for me to say when numbers start coming out, my eyes glaze over.  I love almost every other subject, ut that.  I understand it, it makes sense to me, I just don't enjoy it.  :-)


becke_davis wrote:

Ryan_G wrote:

In the past, I've tended to not enjoy books like this, but I'm intrigued despite myself.  Thanks for coming by.


My son is an economist - this book is right up his alley!


 

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JOHN GAPPER!


Ryan_G wrote:

Then it might be bad for me to say when numbers start coming out, my eyes glaze over.  I love almost every other subject, ut that.  I understand it, it makes sense to me, I just don't enjoy it.  :-)


becke_davis wrote:

Ryan_G wrote:

In the past, I've tended to not enjoy books like this, but I'm intrigued despite myself.  Thanks for coming by.


My son is an economist - this book is right up his alley!


 


I'm interested in books with financial cons, twists, etc., but I'm no math whiz myself!

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maxcat
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JOHN GAPPER!

Great blog, John. I'm interested in your book and will look for it.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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eadieburke
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JOHN GAPPER!

Welcome John:

 

I enjoyed your blog. I will have to get your book for my husband for his birthday in July. He is the CFO of a corrugated box company and invests their money on a daily basis. He also does a good job investing our money too.

 

Thanks for visiting with us!

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt