An Interview with Joseph Finder
Right from the opening pages THE FIXER is a real page-turner. After investigative reporter Rick Hoffman loses his job, fiancée, and apartment, his only option is to move back into his childhood home. The house has been neglected for years when his father had to move into a nursing home after suffering a stroke. Rick starts to make renovations and finds $3.4 million hidden in the walls. Trying to find out where the money originated and how it was placed there Rick finds out that his father had deep dark secrets and a life he knew nothing about.
Elise Cooper: The house is almost like a supporting character. What gave you the idea for the story?
Joseph Finder: We were making renovations in the house we have. I was talking to the workers and they told me about finding all kinds of interesting stuff like money. I thought what would it be like for a guy totally broke to come upon a chunk of cash in a house. The book starts off with a classic “what if.”
EC: So you think the main female character, Andrea, is Rick’s moral compass?
JF: After graduating high school she was a Goldman Sachs investment banker. She took a detour from that life to get in touch with her pure moral values. She is Rick’s indicator, especially since he has lost sight of his values. Rick has hit rock bottom. Joseph Campbell can best summarize Rick’s story with the great line: “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life.” Rick reflects on his life and realizes it is not too late to make another move, basically recovering from a detour.
EC: Would you ever bring Rick back?
JF: I could. As an investigative journalist he could uncover some mystery or conspiracy. He has a lot of potential. Maybe Andrea will also come back since she can use her financial background skills to help solve other conspiracies. I could make the exception, something I have not done with the other characters in my stand-alone books.
EC: Why the title, THE FIXER?
JF: The house is a fixer upper. Rick is determined to fix his own life. The father and those he worked with are “fixers” who have helped pay off contractors.
JF: There is something like the arithmetic project. I actually hated math in school and it was not my strength. I thought it might be an interesting way for Andrea to do some good. Since math is a struggle for most people, including me, I decided to have her as someone who knows and loves math and pass that on to underprivileged children. Andrea loved math in high school, takes a detour, and ends up coming full circle to work with math.
EC: What did you mean by this quote, “You never end up where you thought you would”?
JF: I found it in my own life, thinking I would be a spy for the CIA and ended up writing suspense fiction. It is not something I would have predicted. Things happen to you that you don’t expect to happen.
EC: What gave you the idea for Rick to change jobs?
JF: He had a similar attitude to my daughter who is graduating college. She is willing to try different things and says, “I know what I want to do now, but it might not be what I will do five years from now.”
EC: What would you like to do five years from now?
JF: I want to write a book a year, getting higher and higher up the bestseller list. Maybe write a movie or TV show. Since I do not play well with others I know I have to write.
EC: Did you have a relationship with your dad like Rick had with his?
JF: Rick called his dad by his first name, Lenny. I called my parents’ dad and mom. Isn’t it interesting that there is this whole different world that you are not privy too, a past of your parents that could have secrets. My own dad died while I was writing this book so it became a book about fathers and sons. You never really know your parents, only a slice. I made Rick’s dad have a stroke because of my dad. That is why I had Rick unable to talk with his father since Lenny could not communicate.
EC: What did you want the readers to get out of this story?
JF: I want the readers to be entertained. I hope they realize the main character had a journey from where he was and where he ended up, finding his moral compass. The new world of technology has enabled me to write more realistic stories and has given me a lot more plot ideas.