Q&A with Joseph Finder

Suspicion by Joseph Finder is an intriguing novel about family and being entrapped in a bad situation. This stand-alone book explores the father/daughter relationship, how technology has changed the dynamics between people, the villainess of the drug cartels, and big government at its worst. These issues are intertwined within the theme, how one small decision can change someone’s life.


Elise Cooper: In the beginning of the book you have this quote, “Sometimes the smallest decision can change your life forever.” Please explain.


Joseph Finder: I wanted my main character, Danny, to be someone relatable. He makes a decision we could all make that will change ours or someone’s life forever. For example, as I write in the book when Abe Lincoln’s bodyguard decides to stay for another drink at the Ford Theatre’s bar.


EC: Part of the book’s theme is that certain entities such as big government, large corporations, or criminal organizations such as the Drug Cartel can take control over your life. Do you agree?


JF: I ran these scenarios by lawyers and those in the DEA. This is big government at its worst, where they force you to spend money on lawyers. I know of people who have gone through the mill being sued by the government. You are put in a terrible situation where some government lawyer wants to get you. They just don’t care. I showed how my character Danny was pinned down like a butterfly in a specimen kit. Then there are the drug cartels that are one of the worst villains possible. They are not constrained by laws, perception, and morals. They are ruthless and an uncapped villain. I hoped I showed how Danny and Tom were both entrapped in a situation they could not get out of. They both are victims and had to make necessary moral decisions that changed their lives.


EC: Why did you make Danny a writer?


JF: I wanted to write a character I identified with. I wrote about a writer who sees the side of publishing that does not have the mystique. Since I never had written about a writer before I decided to do it with this book. I wanted to show that there is not always glory to writing. There is the stress of a book deadline as well as pressure from the publisher and agent. Writing is a great job but has aspects people don’t think about.


EC: Do you use any personal experiences when discussing the father/daughter relationship?


JF: I got the idea because my daughter went to an elite private girl’s school in Boston. I remember one parent was in legal trouble and the way people shunned him. I also wanted the story to be about being a father, exploring the relationship with his teenage daughter. I thought that being a dad myself was a whole big research project. This life experience handed to me would make a great thriller.


EC: Do you think you write about experiences any parent can relate to?


JF: I went through raising a teenage daughter. I have a great relationship with my daughter who is now twenty. But those teenage years were insane and difficult. I wanted to show in Suspicion that being a parent of a teenager is the hardest job of all. The way a teenager disappears into their cell phones, their texting, and putting on earphones as they listen to their music. This all partitions them off from their parent. I remember as a teenager when I wanted to call a friend there was only one phone in our house. There was never ever any privacy since the phone would only go as far as the cord. Yet, now they have a world of communications including cell phones, Facebook and Twitter. That is why I put the quote in, ‘just a phone call away.’


EC: How would you rate this book among all of those you wrote?


JF: This book is my favorite. It is so personal and so “me” since it is written in my voice and style. It also has a character I can identify with in Danny because I am a father and a writer who struggled financially. There are issues I really care about like the family interaction. In some ways I can identify with Tom Galvin because although financially successful now, he is a self-made man. I got to like Tom more as I wrote the book and hope readers will get to like him more as they read the story.


EC: What do you want readers to get out of this book?


JF: A page turning experience. I hope they can imagine themselves in this situation, and relate to the characters whose lives were turned upside down. There is a reason we read thrillers, for the vicarious experience. Fans can expect the unexpected and will be surprised.


EC: Can you give a heads up about your next book?


JF: It will be another stand alone novel set in Boston. I have this weird superstition about talking about a book in progress. If you talk about it you deflate it. I enjoy writing stand alones since I can turn a character’s life inside out. After this next book I will get back to Nick Heller’s story.