Local Author Showcase: John Wendell Adams

Local Author Showcase spotlights Skokie-area writers and their work. This month, we talked with John Wendell Adams, who is currently President of AMS Strategic Solutions. He also happens to be a local author who writes suspense fiction. In celebration of the release of John’s new book, Payback, the library is hosting a speaking engagement with John on March 29th starting at 6:30 pm with a short reception. You can register here. We interviewed John about his writing career and new book.

Your background is in business and management. How did you end up writing fiction?

Actually, I have been writing nonfiction and business documents for many years. However, fiction writing turned out to be a divine inspiration. More than seven years ago, my wife and I were on vacation in the Caribbean. I was out running and when I came back I was trying to cool down. I heard a voice say, "John you are a writer." I looked around but there was no one there but me.  I know it sounds strange but I was inspired by that. After I recovered from my run, I went to the front desk, asked them for sheets of paper, and started writing my first novel that day.

Tell us a little more about your new book, Payback, the sequel to Betrayal.

In this novel the protagonist, Jack Alexander, is a whistle-blower. He is trying to put behind him all of the ugliness associated with the dishonest deeds of his old boss, Catherine Alexander, but he is required by subpoena to testify at her trial. His testimony helps to seal her conviction and she is put into prison for crimes against the federal government. She vowed after the verdict was read to pay him back for the hurt he caused her and her family. 

Other characters are introduced, namely Catherine's young daughter Rachel.  She experiences ugly, hurtful comments from her friends and classmates during the years her mother is incarcerated. After several attempts, Catherine convinces her daughter to come and visit her in prison. She weaves a tale of what an evil person Jack is and why he needs to pay for the pain he caused.

Jack, an executive vice president for a technology firm, is working with the CEO on a major acquisition. He becomes the president of the newly-acquired firm. Not too long after, Jack is kidnapped. And while Catherine has a rock-solid alibi, the plot moves quickly to who has taken him, where he’s being hidden, and why. The story is full of intrigue and suspense as the Chicago police and the FBI work together to solve the case and rescue Jack.

 Where do you find inspiration?

Someone once told me that "you should write what you know." I've worked in corporate America for more than thirty years so my stories come from that background. In addition, the story is set in Chicago and partly in Atlanta. I grew up and worked in Chicago, and I've spent considerable time in Atlanta since our oldest son and one of my best friends live there.

What is the best piece of advice you received as an aspiring novelist?

Great question. First, write what you know. Second, write your first draft as fast as you can without thought to punctuation, spelling, or dialog. Third, get others' opinion of the story: things they like, things they didn't like. Fourth, hire professionals for the things you aren't great at doing such as cover design. Fifth, find a very good editor. This last piece of advice was the best. A great editor can turn a very good book into an excellent one.

Can we expect further adventures of your character, Jack Alexander?

Yes, there will be additional adventures with Jack Alexander. He will be back in future stories.