According to the book description, David Dawson is a former Navy SEAL who fought in the Middle East. He thought he had done all he could to serve his country. Little did he know, the fate of the United States would soon rest in his hands.
What inspired you to write STATS?
For three years I worked in Washington D.C. and spent a great deal of time on the Hill trying to save the country money, which I learned was not particularly important to the folks in Congress on both sides of the aisle. I also learned that as citizens of this country we have little choice but to believe what we read and hear coming out of D.C.
As a result, it dawned on me that most elections typically end up being decided on one aspect of our society; the economy. If the economy is good, it bodes well for the incumbent party. Bad economy? A new administration is almost certain. And the economy is many times judged on a single component, the unemployment rate. Low unemployment is good news, high unemployment bad news.
My story is based on the question of what if the numbers we heard about the economy were not true, made up, fake news? What if for the last 70 years a small group of wealthy economists had made up those numbers and by doing so determined who would be president years in advance and in turn sold that priceless information to foreign countries, multinational conglomerates, and the uber-wealthy who could financially benefit from knowing who would be leading the greatest economy the world has ever seen years in advance.
In short, we believe what we see and read because we have no way of checking the facts. But the press also believes what they see and read from think tanks, world-renowned number crunchers, and others. What if all those smart folks were lying to all of us? Enough money can make almost anyone lie about something. Even if it means our democracy is a sham and controlled by people who control the numbers...the STATS. Enough money can also lead people to murder. After that first murder, the rest are easier.
What is one of the keys to developing characters?
I had a writing professor tell me that if your reader doesn't care if your character lives or dies, then you have a weak character. Characters don't always have to be loved or even liked, but they have to be interesting. There needs to be many layers to them and as the reader peels back the onion they learn more and more about the character.
They may not like what they are learning, but they keep peeling. I have had readers say many of my characters become old friends as they move through the story. I like that analogy. Funny thing is, I miss my characters when I am finished with one of my books. They are indeed my friends.
What's your favorite scene in STATS?
I like the scene where Sidney is being threatened in her bedroom by the two bad guys and she stands up to them by calmly grabbing one of the guys by the balls to get his attention, refusing to let go until her husband can put a knife through the neck of the other bad guy. All this takes place before they share a Chinese dinner while being interviewed by local cops wanting to know what the hell happened. Yeah, I like that scene. You know, romantic.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Not a hell of a lot, especially this past year. My favorite college basketball team the University of Dayton got robbed of being a national champion, the Cincinnati Reds didn't score a run in two playoff games and the Bengals were their normal sucky selves, so sports did not go well. I did work out a lot and gained 10 pounds so I concluded I ate more than I worked out. So to answer your question, I didn't do a hell of a lot, except write.
Is there a new book or project underway?
I have concluded scripts are more fun and less vexing to write than books. I have completed 13 scripts and we are in the process of developing four of those projects and the fifth one is in pre-production. Of my current five books, Last at Bat, Fat Girl, Golden Reich, Answer Man, STATS, all have companion scripts completed and hopefully will make the screen in the next year or two. Or three.
Mark Donahue’s new book “STAT$” has roared onto the literary scene, and has readers clamoring for more. Luckily this clearly prolific writer has written four more phenomenal works, including “Last at Bat”, “Golden Reich”, “Fat Girl”, and “Answer Man”. Why has STAT$ been such a hit with readers? It’s thrilling plot, and extraordinary characters, have captured their attention, and kept them engaged until the very last page.
This timely book is destined to hit the bestseller list any day now. We are thrilled that we had a chance to catch up with Donahue, this is what he shared up with us.
“STATS: Numbers To Kill For” is a thrilling brilliant read. Where did you find the inspiration for this fascinating book?
I worked in DC for over 3 years and testified before both Senate and Congressional subcommittees. During that process I met scores of legislators and even worked with VP Gore on the “Reinvention of Government Task Force.” Believe me, government needs a lot of reinvention. But being a patriotic sort, I focused on reinventing the GSA, which after working 35 in commercial real estate, I knew something about. After 3 years of work, my team and I came up with a plan to save the government $1 billion dollars a year, provide better services to their agencies, with no government job loss and greatly reduce the time to deliver services. Given such results, I assumed I would have my name put on a building or maybe even my statue erected near the Washington Monument. Instead, I got 4 death threats and learned the depth of corruption, ineptitude, waste and stupidity that infects our government no matter which party is in power. Sounded like the basis of a good book to me.
You are a prolific writer, what has it been like to have some many books under your belt, and have them be trending with readers.
My goal was never to be prolific…it was to tell stories that people remembered. Characters that became friends and endings that made people think. I also knew I wanted to produce films and crafted stories that could/would be adapted to the screen.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self. What would you tell him, and why?
If I could go back in time I would tell my younger self to read more, learn to be a switch hitter earlier in my baseball career, and don’t believe it when my high school girlfriend told me she was on the pill. But writing, no matter your education, is based on your life’s experiences good and bad. My mother in law (a wonderful woman) had a saying, “We are a part of all we have met.” Not sure who wrote that line originally, but I understand it better now than I would have 30 years ago.
Having written a five distinct works, do you desire each story to stand on its own or have a connection between each other in one way or another?
I set out to write 5 very distinct books and tell very different stories. While I see many successful authors follow a pattern in their storytelling that approach would bore me. Many authors have a formulaic approach where they tell the same basic story just changing characters, and settings time after time, after time. Again, while perhaps a successful formula, I found reading those authors, I could usually figure out the ending by page 10. I also wanted to challenge myself and write everything from erotic thrillers to baseball based feel good stories. (Hmmm, wonder if I could connect those two genres? But I digress). In short, I did not aim for a connection between my stories, other than I wanted people to have a hard time putting the books down.
While I was reading “STATS: Numbers To Kill For” it occurred to me that it would made an epic film. Do you envision it as being a film?
As mentioned above, all my books have a companion script, budget and film trailer already produced. I think STATS would be an exciting film although after recent events, I may have to add an insurrection scene at the Capital. But who would believe that?