Thursday, July 23, 2009

Joseph Finder

From Ali Karim's interview with Joseph Finder at The Rap Sheet:

AK: What is it about the dark side of the corporate world that attracts you and that makes it an exciting backdrop for thrillers?

JF: It started with Paranoia. I wanted to do a classic spy novel, √† la John le Carr√©’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, but set it in a high-powered but very cool corporation. But I knew nothing about the corporate world. So I started visiting companies like Apple Computer and Hewlett-Packard, interviewing all sorts of executives and secretaries, poking around, getting the sort of real-world texture that anyone who actually works in a corporation stops seeing because it’s so routinized. To me, though, it was all new and fascinating. I felt like an anthropologist doing field work in Fiji: all the natives were strange and different, and their tribal customs were peculiar.

And I realized two things. One was that the corporate world was not at all a bland, colorless, hostile place. This is where most of us work, and most of us basically enjoy our work lives. In fact, we spend more time at work than we do at home. Work has become family in some ways. So I needed to render the appeal of it--what was cool about it--and not just what could be scary about it.

The other thing was that, in the corporate world, the stakes can be immense. When it comes to billions of dollars, people will do some really bad things if they have to. And when you work somewhere and something really bad is going on and no one’s telling you anything--well, that breeds some powerful paranoia. Michael Crichton showed this in Disclosure and Airframe--there’s some fantastic intrigue in the corporate world. Anyone who thinks the corporation is a boring setting doesn’t....[read on]
Visit Joseph Finder's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue