|Author's Comments on Writing
Harris Baseman, author of The Dead Presidents Club: Tom Paine's "Common Sense" for the 21st Century, After Kamisiyah, The Accidental President and Turncoats, is a graduate of Bowdoin College and Harvard Law School. He currently resides in New England and the United States Virgin Islands.
Some Comments from the Author:
After practicing law for over forty years, I decided to try my hand at something new, something that many say they'd like to do, but few do--write a book. It was far more difficult than I had imagined. The story was suggested by a news story attributing some of the Gulf War Syndrome illnesses of our returning troops to Sarin gas and other contaminants that were released when American forces destroyed the ammunition depot at Kamisiyah, Iraq. I thought my first draft was pretty good, but recognized that it could stand some improvement. I took it to a friend, Sol Stein,(see his web site at www.solstein.com) who was a successful novelist, playright, publisher and book editor. He had edited books of the same "thriller" genre, most notably those of Jack Higgins. He convinced me my supposedly finished book was terrible, but more importantly, with great patience, he explained what was bad. and how it could be improved. I did my best to apply the lessons and, After Kamisiyah was the end product.
I liked the characters I created so much that I brought them back in a sequel, The Accidental President. That was enough of a good thing, and the next novel, Turncoats brought a whole new cast of characters. I may bring the popular first Jewish President of the United States back for an encore at some future time.
The plot of Turncoats was also suggested by a news story, this time, one about a sizable number of missing Soviet made suitcase sized nuclear bombs. What developed was a story about a plan to acquire them and then deploy them against targets in the United States and elsewhere. In writing Turncoats, I had apparently gotten better at endearing my characters to my readers since some readers were upset at the fate of some of them.
The idea for my fourth book, The Dead Presidents Club, came to me while recovering from surgery during an 18 day hospitalization. It is very different from the first three. Perhaps my ready access to drugs during my hospitalization played a role in developing the idea.
Dissatisfaction with the political leadership provided by both major political parties led me to imagine what prior presidents, most notably George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy might say about the current state of our affairs. In doing so, I applied my lawyer-honed research skills to find out what they said about similar problems in their day. For example, Thomas Jefferson had to deal with Muslim terrorism and Teddy Roosevelt with immigration problems. Sort of a "What would Jesus say" about current events, but involving dead former presidents based upon their experiences and writings. George Washington who railed against his fledgling republic's need to rely on Europe for many of its basic needs and wanted independence and self-reliance for his country has far-sighted and important things to say about our present day oil addiction, and offers a solution with thorium fueled nuclear reactors. Check it out. You may be pleasantly surprised.