Interview with John Highsmith Adams

What's the story behind your latest book?
Good question. The roots of The Charette Legacy can be more fully understood by reading my first book, The Architecture of Exclusion. Back in the 1980s, when I was a young, intern architect struggling to advance my career, I experienced an incredibly frustrating, annual event known as the NCARB licensing exam. Like thousands of other aspiring architects, I had passed 9 of 10 portions of the 4 day-long exam, but kept stumbling over the subjective, graphic portion known as the Design Test. In Alabama at the time, where pass rates were around 25%, I knew there was something sinister going on. I decided to take the State Board of Architects to court, where, after 3.5 years of litigation, I became intimately familiar with the process, and the powerful propaganda that the Board and it's surrogate (NCARB), used to perpetuate the ruse. Keep in mind that this same licensing exam was being used in all 50 States, along with Puerto Rico and some Canadian Provinces. What I discovered was that the test was actually a de facto lottery with a preset pass rate, designed to mollify the State Boards and maintain the national reciprocity system. This bothered me immensely, not just because I'd been mistreated, but because it was illegal and the profession should only use a merit-based exam. An arbitrary process was bad for the profession's long-term viability, and would result in waning leadership in the construction industry. It was against this backdrop that I wrote The Architecture of Exclusion, determined to change the system.
Do you think the architectural profession will ever acknowledge your contributions?
Probably not, and that's okay. They eliminated the Design Exam a year after publishing my first book. That pretty much speaks for itself.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I knew the Architecture of Exclusion was probably too controversial for a major publisher. As the only one who'd seen the legal discovery documents, I was the only one who was really confident that I would not get sued for libel. So I self-published, and decided to do the same with The Charette Legacy.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It provided the platform for The Charette Legacy.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Encouraging people to think critically. Our world is so full of propaganda, which renders a democracy incapable of effective governance. We end up with rigged elections, climate change denial and all sorts of other maladies. I wish more people had the willingness to look beneath the surface.
How is The Charette Legacy Different than The Architecture of Exclusion?
Well first of all, it has the artistic license of fiction, which allowed a great deal of embellishment, thus making it entertaining. Getting people to read anything nowadays is a real challenge. Getting them to read nonfiction is nearly impossible.

So the Charette Legacy employs all of the suspense and action of a thriller, hopefully-resulting in an entertaining page-turner. It has all of the usual ploys of mega-villains, romance, action, espionage and violence.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love John Grisham, and in fact several readers have indicated a similarity with some of his early works. I also love E.L Doctorow , Norman Mailer, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Why did you choose to employ a pen name?
Whistleblowing can be very hazardous to one's career. I maintained my anonymity until recently. At this point in my career, I've decided that I can handle the fallout.
Published 2016-12-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Charette Legacy
Price: $1.95 USD. Words: 112,040. Language: English. Published: April 25, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American
A thriller/suspense novel based in part on actual historical events within the dark underside of the architectural profession's regulatory apparatus.