Trojan Horse 

I'd like to welcome the very interesting David Lender onto my blog today...

About David

David Lender writes thrillers set in the financial sector based on his over 25-year career as a Wall Street investment banker.  He draws on an insider’s knowledge from his career in mergers and acquisitions with Merrill Lynch, Rothschild and Bank of America for the international settings, obsessively driven personalities and real-world financial intrigues of his novels.  His characters range from David Baldacci-like corporate power brokers to Elmore Leonard-esque misfits and scam artists.  His plots reveal the egos and ruthlessness that motivate the players in the financial sector, as well as the inner workings of the most powerful of our financial institutions.

Briefly describe your journey in writing your first book

I was an English major and read classic literature for most of my life. One vacation I decided to read something totally different to get away from it all, and chose a thriller. Since then I’ve become a fan of the genre.  I’d always wanted to write, and after years of false starts, realized I wasn’t F. Scott Fitzgerald.  So I started outlining a thriller with it in mind to write a book I’d like to read on vacation. That outline became Trojan Horse.

What is your latest novel?

Trojan Horse is an international espionage thriller wrapped around a love story. Daniel Youngblood is a world-weary oil and gas investment banker who’s ready to hit the beach, when he’s hired by a Saudi Prince for an OPEC deal where he can net himself $25 million as a swan song.  At the same time, he meets and falls in love with Lydia, an exotic European fashion photographer, who he later discovers is really CIA-trained spy with a shocking past with the Saudi Prince.  She convinces Daniel to enlist in what becomes a race for the lovers to stop a Muslim terrorist internet plot to bring down the Saudi royal family and cripple the world’s oil capacity, all before they wind up dead.

What’s your favourite part of writing a novel?

Getting inside a character’s head and enjoying the back and forth of dialog as someone else is a kick.  Sometimes dialog just rolls out of someplace in my head and it’s surprising and exciting.

Are there any aspects of writing you struggle with?

I don’t get stuck very often when I’m writing because I’m an outliner.  So by the time I start writing I know where I’m going, or at least where I intend to go. Sometimes new ideas come up and I’ll run with them, but that’s never a struggle.

Where do you get your ideas from?

My ideas are linked to my career as an investment banker.  They all wind up being set in the financial sector (because I know that environment and the kind of people that populate it) or somehow use it as a backdrop.  This isn’t to say they’re based on finance, so my readers don’t need to be financial people.

How long does it take to complete a novel?

It’s hard to say, because the only way to say you’re finished is when you decide to stop editing and rewriting. But in general I’d say 18 months.

Did you query agents or traditional publishers before self-publishing?

I did, including attending some face-to-face pitchfests.  It’s a slow process, and I’ve had offers of representation, but after hard-nosed thought about it, decided those weren’t the right fit.

How did you handle the rejection letters?

I was an investment banker, always pitching deals to clients.  You develop a thick skin.  I think authors need to have even thicker skins, because it’s your work and you can let yourself take it personally. But if you do, you should find something else to do.  And after you’re published, what are you going to when somebody writes an unfavorable review?  Cry?

What’s your writing process?

I am an outliner.  I learned from an old-school editor (he was Robert Ludlum’s editor for his first nine books) to do a detailed-scene-by scene outline after writing character bios. I also worked with a talented Hollywood script development exec who coached me in face-to-face pitching for those pitchfests. He also commented on my outlines from the perspective of seeing them as movies.  That turned into some advice that resulted in serious re-thinking of my story arcs, my protagonists’ actions and even the depth and personalities of some of my characters. As a result of that process, I now use screenwriting techniques in thinking through my stories, such as storyboarding with 3x5 cards.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish?

I noticed what was happening with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform, knew enough about how much the traditional publishing channel forces authors to self-promote, looked at the comparative economics and said, “What have I got to lose by taking the Indie route?  It’s been a fascinating education, still evolving.

What's next in the pipeline? 

I have a finished novel, Bull Street, that I will probably tweak until I release it later this year. Bull Street is the story of a naïve, young Wall Streeter who gives a jaded billionaire the chance for redemption, as they team up to bring down an insider trading ring before they wind up in jail or dead.  I am also almost finished with a novella, The Gravy Train, also set on Wall Street.  It’s about a young investment banker who gets fired after the first deal he works on blows up, and then helps the former Chairman of the company try to buy it back from bankruptcy out from under some very sophisticated and ruthless sharks.

Do you think your books would translate well to the big screen? If so who would you like to see play your lead characters ? 

Absolutely.  They’re written using screenwriting structure and technique.  One Amazon reviewer said she couldn’t wait for the Brad and Angelina movie of Trojan Horse.  Sounds good to me.

Tell me three random things about yourself.

We have a pit bull puppy we love.  I love red burgundy.  I think The Beatles are the best band ever.  

Do you write in just one genre?

I have started a memoir about Styles, our pit bull puppy.  It will be about his first year of life with us.

Who are your writing influences?

F. Scott Fitzgerald, Elmore Leonard, John le Carre, Stephen King, Tom Clancy, John Steinbeck and Graham Greene, to name a few.

Which five people would you invite for dinner?

Elmore Leonard, George Martin, Eric Clapton, Annie Lennox and Mark Knopfler.

You can purchase Trojan Horse from Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Connect with David on his website.

I'm loving your idea for the memoir featuring Styles! I've got 8 rescue cats so I know how much fun animals can bring to your life.

Happy Reading!

Sibel xx