Michael Pocalyko's new novel is The Navigator.
From his Q & A with J. N. Duncan at The Big Thrill:
You touch on psychological, global-business, and political issues in your story. Which of these do you find most compelling as a writer?Visit Michael Pocalyko's website.
No contest. The psychological issues are the most compelling. Without giving away any spoilers, there is an unusual literary convention that I’ve employed in THE NAVIGATOR. I’ve attempted to show how psychological wounds, combat trauma, visit on the next generation. The prologue to THE NAVIGATOR has gotten a lot of play in advance of the book’s publication, mostly because of how dark and disturbing it is. We witness up-close in his point of view the psychological decomposition and breakdown of a very good man. Something horrible happens to the 20-year-old navigator in that death camp, only at this point in the novel we don’t know exactly what. We only know that it’s horrible. Then, wham! We’re in Washington and New York in the present day, caught up in blazing fast action, wondering just what that opening story could possibly have to do with the developing story. It’s only later, with a number of slow-reveals and thriller “stingers” that we find out how that incident and its effects are the genesis of everything. The psychological backstory, through the emergence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), literally compels all of the other action. It’s a way of eliciting a major theme in the novel: The past is never really the past, even if it’s not your own past. And once again, I believe that only the thriller form can best showcase that theme.
THE NAVIGATOR has a vast array of characters and subplots. Did you have any particular favorites, ones you couldn’t wait to get back to when writing the story?
I loved writing Horvath, the bad guy, which you know the instant you meet him in chapter three. Often, even in really great thrillers, the bad guys can come across as a bit one-dimensional. I wanted to avoid that pitfall, and I had some real fun creating Horvath. Every time he does something, you learn a little bit more about him. Those pieces coalesce and eventually fold into the narrative late in the book. Whenever I was writing him, the composition came easily and quickly. He’s a...[read on]