Our guest blogger today is none other than Simon Wood – the author of the thriller TERMINATED. I’ve met Simon several times, and he and I serve on the Board of Directors of Mystery Writers of America, he’s the President of the Northern California chapter of MWA. Simon is a great guy, with a wicked sense of humor, and I just have to say this…although he’ll probably kill me…he has an accent to die for 🙂 I just love hearing him talk.
So Welcome Simon to Murder She Writes!
I get a kick out of global espionage tales where the world is at stake, but I prefer stories with a small focus. While James Bond can sweep me away by crossing the planet in order to save it, a crime story set amongst a close-knit family that barely leaves the confines of a single location will intrigue me more.
It’s a matter of intensity. There might be a lot of intensity in a spy thriller featuring a high stakes game, but I find more intensity in a spat between two friends. I think this is because I can relate to a spat more than I can to global espionage. I also think the little things bother us no matter how we pretend they don’t. recently, I came across a study that made the claim that small things were responsible for most divorces. Yes, things like cheating and violence were the headline grabbing motives, but the majority of divorces were caused by petty and minor things such as inattentiveness, lack of respect and forgetting to throw socks in the laundry. The effectiveness of little things to drive us nuts is like water torture. The continual drip, drip, drip of a minor infraction to the forehead will eventually make us snap.
My latest book, TERMINATED, deals with a minor slight turning into something deadly. This takes place in the workplace and not the home. The ignition source in the book is a bad employee performance evaluation. For the resentful coworker, the bad review is the final straw that breaks the employee’s back. Now, this might seem like overkill, but not really. We’ve all worked somewhere where an innocent or a not so innocent comment develops into a grudge or a clash of personalities is grounds for a war of words. We all have our pet peeves and triggers that can turn us into someone we’re not.
I was a little worried that a bad review was too extreme to be the reason behind all the carnage in the book. My fears were allayed when I looked into some workplace violence claims. Just as with most divorces, the most minor of issues work as the flashpoint between people. The more I looked, the more the root cause of the violence turned out to be someone crossing someone else’s boundaries, such as stealing their lunch from the fridge, poor taste in jokes, a backfiring prank, a careless remark, or a bout of pride where no one was willing to stand down. The strangest reason I encountered was a disparaging remark said at a company picnic. That one incident escalated in a four-year campaign of terror leading to a murder attempt. After I’d finished reading that, the motive in my book seemed more than reasonable.
I’ve worked at places where restraining orders have had to be taken out against coworkers. I once witnessed an exercise in anger take place across the street from my office. An employee was fired and he responded by hurling an office chair through his boss’ window on the street below. He came back a couple of night later and drove his car through the building’s main doors.
If writing this book has taught me anything, it’s to watch what you say, treat everyone with respect and don’t take someone’s yogurt from the communal fridge.
BIO: Simon Wood is an ex-racecar driver, a licensed pilot and an occasional private investigator. He shares his world with his American wife, Julie. A longhaired dachshund and five cats dominate their lives. He’s had over 150 stories and articles published. His short fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines anthologies, such as Seattle Noir, Thriller 2 and Woman’s World. He’s a frequent contributor to Writer’s Digest. He’s the Anthony Award winning author of WORKING STIFFS, ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN, PAYING THE PIPER and WE ALL FALL DOWN. As Simon Janus, he’s the author of THE SCRUBS and ROAD RASH. His latest thriller, TERMINATED, is out in mass paperback. Curious people can learn more at: www.simonwood.net
And Simon is offering up a book to some lucky random commenter! He’ll be checking in periodically to answer questions too…