William Manchee's Blog - Posts Tagged "politics"

Like Stan when I was young I was fascinated with politics and thought maybe that would be a career I would enjoy. So, I geared my studies in that direction and went to law school assuming that would be the best route into politics. It seemed to be working out well until I was drafted during the Vietnam War and ended up in the Marine Corps.

Accepting my fate, I reported for officer training school but soon learned a military career wasn't in the cards. On the second day of training I found myself in the hospital with a bleeding kidney. Whether it was a slip on the ice or an overzealous drill sergeant that put me out of commission is impossible to say, but either way my military service was ended in short order. The experience did, however, give me the inspiration for the first Stan Turner Mystery, Undaunted.

This turn of events was disappointing to me because I thought a stellar military record was an essential ingredient for a career in politics. Of course, we know that's not true today, but back then I thought that it was. After being discharged from the Marine Corps I went to Dallas to continue my legal education at SMU. Still keenly interested in politics I got involved in the Republican Party. It was the minority party at the time and I soon found myself as County Chairman, not because I was a political star, but simply because I was a willing volunteer and had a little credibility because I was in law school.

These next two years were an exciting adventure, but I soon learned that politics was a dirty business often fueled more by a selfish desire for power and wealth than concern for what was best for the people. More importantly, I learned that politics required a complete and total commitment of time, energy, and talent with nothing left over for friends and family. So, not being willing to make that kind of a sacrifice, I opted out of politics and concentrated on raising a family and building a legal career.

I don't know why I haven't written about law school earlier, but it never quite seemed like the right time until now. So, much of what you will read in Disillusioned, was inspired by actual people and events during this most interesting historical period. Although the story is pure fiction I believe you'll feel the flavor of the times and enjoy Stan's tumultous life as he struggles to right an injustice and finish law school despite many difficult distractions.Disillusioned
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Published on February 20, 2014 15:55 • 79 views • Tags: collin-county, drug-cartels, murder, novel, politics, president-gerald-ford, texas
While my son Jeff was in college at UT in the late 90's he was also trying to qualify for the pro golfing circuit. One summer when he got an invitation to go to Trinidad & Tobago for a tournament I couldn’t resist the urge to go with him. I love to travel and it was a good excuse to see another part of the world.

As luck would have it, when the time came to leave, I was very sick with an upper respiratory infection. Even so, there was no way I was going to miss this trip, so I packed my antibiotics in my suitcase and headed for the airport. I was traveling alone as Jeff had taken an earlier flight. Despite feeling like crap, I was doing okay until the plane started its descent into Miami. Suddenly my ears began to ache and my head felt like it was going to explode. Somehow I survived the landing but then realized I had two more landings to endure when the plane stopped at Barbados and then in Trinidad.

Somehow I survived the ordeal and breathed a sigh of relief to be on the ground in Trinidad. After making it trough customs, I made my way through the terminal looking for transportation to my hotel. When I stepped outside I was mobbed by cab drivers wanting to provide me transportation while I was there. It was like an attack from paparazzi as I learned later a cab driver could earn enough money from one American during a week’s stay to sustain a family for several months. Luckily my son spotted me and his driver helped extricate me from the mob.

It turned out our driver was deeply involved in politics and enjoyed talking about it. He filled us in the current political situation and gave us a short history lesson on Trinidad and Tobago. The country itself was very beautiful but obviously underdeveloped. It brought back memories of my childhood in the 50's and 60's in California. During the few days we were there our driver took us all around the island and even brought us to a political rally where all the speeches were not spoken but sang in Calypso.

Our time in Trinidad was so interesting and I learned so much about it, when I got home I felt compelled to write a novel set there. Each day I was there I bought a copy of the Daily Express, the main newspaper in Port of Spain, Trinidad's capital, which I dissected to provide background and local color for the novel. It’s amazing how much information you can find in a single newspaper if you read it cover to cover including all the advertisements.

Unfortunately, Trouble in Trinidad, as it was first called, came out the same weekend as the 9-11 attack on New York City. Needless to say the launch fizzled when all my appearance were cancelled to make room for programming about the national tragedy. Not only was my launch derailed but the entire publishing industry took a huge hit from which it has never recovered.

Whereas this trip to Trinidad was my initial inspiration for writing The Prime Minister’s Daughter, my inspiration for the local characters came experiences at home. A few years earlier I had represented a man from India who was having a bitter dispute with a fellow countryman. Over eighteen months I prosecuted a lawsuit for him and we became good friends. He invited me into his home on many times. I met his family, his friends and several of his enemies. It was from these interactions that I was able to create and write about the fictional Indian Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Ahmad Shah, and his family.

I wasn’t sure how good a job I had done at depicting Ahmad and his family in the novel, but I doubted nobody from Trinidad would ever read it, so it didn’t really matter. That assumption, however, turned out to be erroneous. Even though the book launch was a bust, I still went out on the road trying to promote the book. While I was at a signing at Book Expo in New York a man came up to get an autographed copy and informed me he was getting the book to give as a gift to the Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago! My heart, needless to say, sank. Then at a Walden Books in Philadelphia a man from Trinidad came up to me and chewed me out for even thinking about writing a book about his homeland when I hadn't lived there and couldn’t possibly know anything about it. He hadn’t read the book, so I was only mildly upset by his outrage. I argued that it wasn’t a book about Trinidad and Tobago but about an American Teenager’s experience there, from his perspective. He wasn’t impressed with the argument and just shook his head and walked off.

Later that year I met an avid reader from Trinidad and Tobago over the internet and sent her a copy of the book. She read it and said it was great. Of course, she may have just been a nice person who didn’t want to upset me. But then I learned that the University of the Southern Carribean had ordered several copies of the book for their library. That was a major university in the region, so that made me feel better. But still, they may buy every book about Trinidad & Tobago. Who knows? The Prime Minister's Daughter
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Published on May 14, 2014 21:47 • 14 views • Tags: assassination, cia, daughter, kevin-wells, politics, prime-minister, trinidad-and-tobago