BookLife Talks with Jeffrey Bates
A sponsored Q&A with the author of 'The President's Widow'Bates’s full-length debut novel, inspired by actual events, finds the first lady of the U.S. confessing to the murder of the president. Her attorney must find out who she’s protecting even as she falls for a Secret Service agent who’s convinced the first lady is guilty.
Was the plot of The President’s Widow inspired by current events?
It was inspired by a true reported incident during the Clinton administration. According to the report, the president and the first lady had a loud argument in the residence. A lamp was shattered, prompting the Secret Service to intervene. That story stuck with me, and I often wondered what would have happened had the president been struck and fatally injured.
You’ve written short stories in the past. Do you think that type of writing helped you to write a full-length novel?
Yes, it definitely helped. While editing the novel, I could see where parts were overwritten or overexplained, and I was able to go back and be more concise, which helped enhance the story’s forward momentum.
Why do you think the thriller genre is so popular?Thrillers take us into those dark and dangerous places we try to avoid in real life. We meet heroes we like to think we’d emulate in those dangerous situations, and the villains give us a mirror onto our own dark side, allowing us to experience the thrill of being evil without having to actually break the law.
Who is your ideal reader and why? It could be a particular person, or a kind of person, or someone imaginary.
My ideal reader is someone who likes to immerse themselves in the fictional world I’m creating and to identify with the characters. They appreciate the craft of a well-written narrative that has enough clever twists and surprises to keep them reading well past their bedtime.
Are you working on anything new?
I’m currently working on a new novel, an action-thriller, about an elite group of former Navy SEALs who are recruited to kidnap and ransom the corpse of a beloved American president. My collection of 10 short detective stories, The Hollywood Eye, is available now on Amazon and follows the exploits of a private detective who outwits the criminals, scammers, and grifters who populate Tinseltown’s darker side. As a con artist himself, the detective knows how to beat them at their own game.