Today we have a special guest… He is John Rachel, author of “Blinders Keepers”. This is a great interview; so I invite you to read it and learn about John and his latest book.
MMM – What was the inspiration that led you to write “Blinders Keepers”?
John Rachel – I have to answer that on two levels.
First, a general overview: America is going through a difficult period in its history. Fact seems sometimes stranger than fiction. The political gridlock, the war on terror, the increasing disconnect between electorate and their chosen representatives. This has produced a atmosphere of desperation on both sides. People don’t know where to turn and who to trust, politicians are frantic trying to gain the respect and trust of the voters. While this is not funny on its face, it suggests in the extreme the potential for humor in the ongoing comedy of errors. My novel attempts to put a smile on the situation, as serious as it is, and particularly to poke fun at the political leadership in the country, while offering an on-the-ground glimpse at how all this tumult and turmoil impacts the lives of ordinary people.
Second, this book had a very specific genesis: In 2012 I was approached by an executive from Los Angeles, a person whose business is making movies. His message was that “11-11-11” and “12-12-12” would make a good movie. The problem was these two books are very complex, multi-layered works with way too many characters, parallel stories, sub-plots, and overall so packed with story lines and epic distractions, a movie of these two novels would be no less than 18 hours long. So I got to work. I chopped to the bone, focused on just the main story line __ the journey of main character Noah Tass from Missouri to New York City __ made a lot of necessary changes to what became of certain key characters and their relationships to Noah, and produced a tight commercial screenplay called “Blinders Keepers”. It is now in the hands of six film companies in Hollywood, with the prospect of being turned into a full-length movie late 2015 or early 2016. The novel “Blinders Keepers” is the novelization of that screen play.
MMM – Is there anything in your personal life reflected in your books?
John Rachel – Certainly. My entire world view! I believe I have a perspective which is rather unique. It comes from my growing up without anything resembling a strong sense of family. I was taken away at birth from my mother. We were in a mental institution at the time and she was deemed unfit. After a year in the St. Vincent de Paul Society orphanage, two folks in their early 40s who were unable to have their own children, took me home. They were uneducated and very poor, so it took them five years to convince a probate court judge in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, that they were worthy. But the adoption finally went through. Then my adopted parents, Richard Ward and Florence Victoria, died when I was 14. They died three-and-a-half months apart, my father of brain cancer, my mother from the flu. But she had been sick all her life with high blood pressure and heart trouble, so the flu just did in her already weakened body. Tough times followed. Most all of the relatives disappeared on me. My smart mouth and precocious arrogance never made me popular. I loved books. They loved sports and beer. So I was pretty much on my own. I started working in a factory when I was 14. I made it to college and as promised by the Department of American Dreams, I have risen to the top now and sit on a huge fortune, plus a level of fame that causes ants to crawl all over me whenever I have a picnic. The point is I have a very independent view of life, and despite my best efforts have little patience when people complain about faulty hedge trimmers and cracked nail polish.
MMM – Tell us about other books you’ve written, please.
John Rachel – While living in Japan in 2008, I wrote my first novel, From Thailand With Love. It’s about trafficking Asian girls into the U.S. for prostitution. Then in November of 2009, I completed my second novel, The Man Who Loved Too Much. It was written over ten months, as I lived in and traveled through Japan, China, Nepal, India and Thailand. At 800+ pages, it’s an epic. Maybe it should have been titled The Man Who Wrote Too Much.
While writing my next novel, 11-11-11, I lived in Japan and Vietnam. 11-11-11 is the prequel to 12-12-12. The two are linked by characters and location. The clueless and basically powerless citizens of Pulnick, Missouri find it nearly impossible to eke out a meaningful existence in a world plagued by stupidity, superstition, gossip, political manipulation, and paranoid rumors about the end of the world. Does this sound familiar?
12-12-12 was completed January 2012 and was published March 18, 2012. While writing this dark satire, chock full unusual twists and biting political humor, I lived in Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia and of course Japan.
I have already completed my next novel, An Unlikely Truth. This is a serious political drama about a Green Party candidate in Dayton, Ohio trying to unseat a right-wing blowhard who has had a lock on the congressional seat for ten years. Next year, as we all know, is an election year so I think it is germane. It comes out in February.
MMM – Can you please tell us about a normal day of yours? Your place to write, your activities, the facts around you that give you ideas for your writing…
John Rachel – I have the best life. My biggest problem is my jaw hurts from smiling so much. Each day I devote 8-10 hours on being a novelist/blogger. In my creative mode, I am either working on a novel, short stories, blog postings or political articles (OpEdNews and other commie leftist sites) and devote almost the entire time to creative work. In my business mode, as when I have a new novel out and have demands on my time for interviews, promotion, videos, etc. only 20% of that 10 hours is creative, the rest interacting with whoever I need to be to sell books. Not fun but necessary. The rest of my time I spend cooking and taking care of things around the house. My wife is a full-time music teacher and I am her slave. I live in a traditional rural city about an hour from Osaka, surrounded by mountains, rice and bean fields, and Japanese people. I don’t know where they all came from but this place is packed with Japanese people. They are polite, adorable, smart and funny. My life is tranquil and full of wonder. The loudest sound here is the ringing of temple bells three times a day from a local Buddhist shrine.
MMM – Tell us a little bit about you, please.
John Rachel – I have a B. A. in Philosophy, have traveled extensively, am a songwriter, music producer, novelist, a left-of-left liberal, and have spent my entire life trying to resolve the intrinsic clash between the metaphysical purity of Buddhism and the overwhelming appeal of narcissism. Prompted by the trauma of graduating high school and having to leave my beloved city of Detroit to attend university, the development of my social skills and world view were arrested at age 18. This affliction figures prominently in all of my creative work. For more visit: http://jdrachel.com or Google ‘John Rachel criminal records’.
MMM – Is there anything coming from John Rachel in the future?
John Rachel – Over the next three years, expect six novels, four set in America, one in Africa and one in Japan. I will continue posting mildly amusing and provocative blogs, because I can never get enough hate mail. For the immediate future, I need to get on my bike, ride through my little traditional rural town here in Japan, smiling and saying Konnichiwa to a lot of old ladies in big funny-looking bonnets, and run some personal errands
MMM – Where can our readers purchase your book?
As a Kindle ebook from Amazon (US) . . . http://amzn.to/122cnyF
As a Kindle ebook from Amazon (UK) . . . http://amzn.to/189KuaF
As a paperback from Amazon (US) . . . http://amzn.to/11zaEjm
As a Nook Book from Barnes & Noble . . . http://bit.ly/17MtgjE
As an iBook from the Apple Store . . . http://bit.ly/11WqJiv
As an ebook from Kobo . . . http://bit.ly/18wHki2
As an EPUB ebook from Sony . . . http://bit.ly/11GNrLz
Every popular ebook format at Smashwords . . . http://bit.ly/190zmgs
As a paperback from the printer . . . http://bit.ly/10SPPyS
Direct from the publisher . . . http://bit.ly/14j2VGy
All of the facts and nothing but the facts are at … http://jdrachel.com/blinders-keepers/
MMM – Is there anything else you would like to add?
John Rachel – Love is a four-letter word but it can never be said often enough. Turn to everyone in your life and tell them you love them. Often. Relentlessly. Regardless of their immediate reaction, it will make a big difference in their lives and the future of the world.