THE MULTIMA SCHEME
Gary D. McGugan
Tellwell Talent (2018)
Review and Interview by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (8/19)
Gary D. McGugan loves to tell stories and is the author of Three Weeks Less a Day, The Multima Scheme, and Unrelenting Peril. Whether sharing a vision with colleagues in large multinational corporations, helping consulting clients implement expert advice, or writing a corporate thriller, Gary uses artful suspense to entertain and inform. His launch of a new writing career—at an age most people retire—reveals an ongoing zest for new challenges and a life-long pursuit of knowledge. Home may be in Toronto, but his love of travel and broad business knowledge accumulated from extensive experiences around the globe are evident in every chapter Gary writes.
Hi Gary, Welcome to Reader Views – it’s a pleasure to have you back to talk about The Multima Scheme, the second book in your Multima corporate intrigue series. What is The Multima Scheme about?
Thanks for having me back, Sheri! The Multima Scheme is an entertaining tale about the persistent threats of some nefarious forces in organized crime to infiltrate powerful companies like fictional Multima Corporation.
As a reader, it was exciting to dig into The Multima Scheme right after finishing Three Weeks Less a Day. How soon after you published your first book did you begin writing your sequel?
I began writing The Multima Scheme while my publisher was still fiddling with layouts and cover designs for the first book in the trilogy – Three Weeks Less a Day. Writing the final chapters of the first novel, I started visualizing how Suzanne Simpson might develop and the role she should play in The Multima Scheme.
Did you have a preconceived idea about how you wanted The Multima Scheme to play out or did the plot line develop over time?
I had a clear idea how the character Suzanne Simpson would evolve and how her story would play out. I was more ambivalent about a couple other characters and created new twists and turns in the plot to develop more suspense in the story. This led to unexpected endings for them.
How much of the story came as a surprise to you as you were writing? Did any of your characters end up doing something you hadn’t planned on, taking the story in a new direction?
I think readers will be quite surprised by the character Fidelia Morales. Her ultimate direction came as a bit of a surprise to me also! But I think readers will agree her unexpected pivot adds to satisfaction with the story’s eventual outcome.
You mentioned in our last interview that it took four years to write Three Weeks Less a Day. How long did it take to write The Multima Scheme? Was it easier, harder or just different?
The Multima Scheme took about 15 months to prepare. “Just different” would be a good description of the experience. While writing the second story, I was intently focused on getting the book completed. As a result, I was more disciplined and sacrificed sales and promotion efforts to concentrate on writing. From that experience, I’ve learned successful writers today must spend as much time promoting books as actually writing them!
What are some of the challenges in writing a sequel?
I had two primary goals that create challenges. First, I wanted each of my novels to be independent, self-contained stories. Second, I was determined to avoid annoying readers of Three Weeks Less a Day with a lot of repetitive details. I think I successfully achieved both objectives.
How do you keep the plot unpredictable without sacrificing believability?
I like to ask the question, “Is it plausible?” Readers of fiction expect authors to stretch the boundaries to create interest and suspense. For every twist and turn, I ask that question during every review and edit. If it doesn’t pass my ‘plausible’ test, I find a way to tweak the plot to make it more believable.
There are a number of characters that morphed into totally different personalities in The Multima Scheme. What was it like to take already well-developed characters and dig even deeper into their psyches?
Most of us have some complexity. Over time, I find some people are not who they first appear to be. I like to weave that truth into my characters to make them become more authentic and allow readers to better relate to them.
Who is the most interesting character development-wise in The Multima Scheme?
Readers will have to decide that for themselves! Fugitive Howard Knight, executive Suzanne Simpson, conniving Janet Weissel, or aspiring Douglas Whitfield. They all demonstrate quite interesting attributes readers probably won’t initially expect.
Which character in your book are you least likely to get along with and why?
Multima Financial Services president James Fitzgerald is a staid, predictable, and perhaps even boring individual who likes to follow all the rules, all the time. I don’t!
If your books were adapted into a movie, who would you cast in the leading roles?
I have no idea! I’ll stick to writing entertaining stories and let folks with a passion for movies answer that one.
Your stories are so creative – how do you come up with your ideas? Have you ever taken any creative writing courses?
Some studies conclude people who read fiction may develop the creative side of their brain more fully. I’ve always enjoyed reading novels and study the ideas and techniques other writers use. In the corporate world, I learned early the value of the concept of ‘thinking outside the box’ and try to let my imagination run wild as often as possible.
What do your family and friends think about your writing? How do they support your writing career? How did it feel sharing your work with them for the first time?
I have an exceptionally supportive family and network of friends around the globe. I’m deeply indebted to them all. They not only buy my books; these great people promote them! Several frequently share posts on social media to help spread the word. All encourage their friends, neighbors, and associates to visit book signings and other events.
My books are a source of pride and satisfaction every time I share my work with a reader. With family and friends, even more so, because I’m confident they’ll each derive some level of enjoyment.
Do you feel you’ve grown as a writer since you began your first novel? How?
Every day I look back on some positive learning experience I’ve gained from my writing. From technique to structure or style, I think every element of my writing improves with experience, practice, and an eagerness to learn and adapt.
What can readers expect from your final book in the Multima series, Unrelenting Peril?
I think Unrelenting Peril may be the best novel of the trilogy. The story is entertaining, complex, and packed with action. Readers will see my penchant for telling stories in international settings, using a rapid pace with short chapters. I think they’ll want more. So, I’m already working on another novel to be released in 2020. It won’t have Multima Corporation in the background, but it will feature a couple intriguing characters from the Multima trilogy as they follow markedly different paths!
Gary, thank you for visiting Reader Views today. It was a pleasure learning more about you and your work!
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For readers living in Canada, Gary has personal appearances planned in more than 75 locations of Canada’s largest bookseller – Chapters/Indigo between April and November 2019. Stop by and say hello. Visit his website to find a list of his upcoming events: https://www.garydmcguganbooks.com/news–events.html