Interview with John P Warren

What prompted you to write Turnover?
The absolute certainty that one party was going to win the 2012 election—more than the usual team bravado before a big game—gave me pause to wonder, especially after there were scattered reports some precincts voted 100% for one candidate. An evening’s research into the electronic voting structure in this country made me wonder, too, just how possible it might be for one side to be so dead-certain. What I found should make every American wonder if his or her vote counts the way they intended.
What makes you qualified to write about background investigations and vote fraud?
For thirty years, first in the US Army doing traffic analysis and cryptography work, then as an investigator and manager for the US Office of Personnel Management, and finally, as an executive and co-founder of USIS, I’ve had ample opportunity to observe and experience much about government operations, contracting, and political realities. Having been a Voters’ Rights Observer in Alabama and Mississippi in the mid-1970s gave me new appreciation for our precious right to vote.
Was the research for a story like Turnover hard to do?
Turnover would have been most difficult to research and write just ten years ago. The voting information, polling data, and news material at our fingertips today is staggering. In Turnover, for example, the scene where the vice-president is shown how to manipulate Florida’s vote using the Bush-Gore election of 2000 became possible after only a few hours on the internet.
What are you working on next?
There are two “nexts” actually. Before Turnover, I wrote a piece of historical fiction called Veneers, which I need to re-work a bit, according to friends in the Yale Writers Conference. Veneers will be published before the fall 2014, I hope, and then I will go full tilt on the sequel to Turnover. Most of the same characters will continue onward to deal with a Constitutional crisis we have never faced in this country. It will be fun to do.
Why do you write?
I write because I feel voices like mine go unheard in the mind-numbing din of the left and right extremes dominating our attention span. As a political moderate and fierce independent who leans to the left on some issues but to the right on others, I feel there’s an opportunity to gather an audience of reasonable people to read what my characters have to say.
When did you first start writing?
In both HS and college, I often received encouragement from teachers and professors, but I never pursued writing either as a hobby or career. Life intervened, but in the 90’s I wrote a short story that with beginner’s luck was published in a regional magazine. Since then, I go on weeks and months-long writing binges, with long breaks to catch my breath. Three novels have been written, but only Turnover has been published.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love this question because it makes me think about writing. Non-Fiction people are David McCullough, Joseph Ellis, Stephen Ambrose, Paul Kengor, Michael Beschloss, and Doris Kearns-Goodwin to name a few. Fiction people are Daniel Silva, Michael Connelly, John Dickson Carr, Michael Crichton, and David Baldacci.
Why did you become an indie author?
What I learned at Yale and elsewhere is that everybody is a writer these days, but unless you have an “in” with an agent or a publishing house, the chances of working through an agent’s slush pile, screened by an aspiring intern, can be mighty slim. Agents are looking for the next “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and I don’t blame them, but I’d rather do my work, get it all shined up, and let the public decide if I qualify as a writer or not. Indies have to be grateful for the good people at Smashwords and other outlets who provide a platform for expressing our dreams.
Published 2014-04-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.