A Killer Beginning by Ken Goldstein

Today I welcome to the blog Ken Goldstein, author of the satirical Silicon Valley crime-thriller This Is Rage. Given the intricate sequence of events that open This Is Rage, you’d think Ken had a detailed, master plan in place for the book’s plot from the outset…you’d be wrong.

Ken Goldstein It started with an initial thought — what if the unlikely collision of a failed radio talk show host and a voracious venture capitalist caused an extraordinary impact on the economy at large? For the most part, I imagined I knew how the story would unravel but then reality kicked in and character development took me down a very different path.

Having worked as a tech insider for many years, I knew the types of storylines and sub-storylines I wanted to incorporate but as a first-time novelist, I wasn’t sure of the pacing of the book. I felt some of the elements in the first few drafts sounded a bit forced, so it was back to the drawing board.

I had to put it away for a few weeks and remind myself of what I like to read and that’s dialogue. A great exchange of words can make me feel as if I’m in the book; knee-deep in the situation, which is the feeling I wanted my readers to share.

Ken Goldstein And still, I didn’t want the book to be too dialogue-heavy so I had to really challenge myself to find balance. About half way through the first draft I got into a holding pattern and a friend referred me to Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. There I learned it was okay to write only as much as I could envision in the moment and trust that as I moved forward I’d be able to edge closer in the right direction.

The end result is a mix of expository writing, inner monologue, and dialogue. The plot is completely made up, as are the characters, but I was able to extract from events and experiences and set a tone of realism, then stretch that into the absurd.

The book is biting, comic, and full of satire. From the opening scene, there’s a botched attempt to kidnap a billionaire investor, two startup execs go missing, and two terminally unlucky programmers get in way over their heads. It was important to me that I keep the action moving. I also wanted to relate finances and political power in a way that leaves you thinking, you know, way after you’ve finished the book.

This Is Rage is available from The Story Plant (ISBN: 978-1611880717).

Ken Goldstein advises start-ups and established corporations in technology, entertainment, media, and e-commerce. He served as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of SHOP.COM, a market leader in online consumer commerce acquired by Market America. He previously served as executive vice president and managing director of Disney Online, and as vice president of entertainment at Broderbund Software. He frequently speaks and teaches on topics of management, leadership, and creative destruction. He and his wife Shelley live in Southern California. THIS IS RAGE is his first novel. To learn more, visit Ken’s website and Facebook page.
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