Interview with John Reinhard Dizon

Hi John, can you tell the readers what qualifies you to write "The Standard"?
I've been writing all my life, and my first major influence was Ian Fleming. I read the entire James Bond series and have been writing action/adventure thrillers ever since.
You've selected an interesting topic to write about. Can you tell us how you picked the topic and a bit about your background?
I always wondered why no one ever tried to remake Goldfinger and began toying with the idea. With all due respect, I though the storyline was kind of shallow and began creating an outtake. It just so happens there had been a lot of talk about returning to a gold standard to resolve the global recession, and I did lots of research. I've got a Bachelor's degree in English, so I don't do badly in the research department.
Could you tell us a little about the plot of your book?
The Standard is an action/adventure spy thriller centering on the global economy and a proposed return to a gold standard. A coalition of underworld cartels attempt to undermine the effort by buying up available gold reserves before launching attacks on international banking institutions. MI6 and the CIA join in a combined effort to thwart what they believe will lead to a nuclear attack on the American mainland.
The title is very intriging. What's it all about and how would you classify it as to genre?
The Standard is intended as a double entendre. It not only refers to the gold standard, but to the moral standard that the main protagonist, William Shanahan, desperately tries to maintain throughout the novel. I consider myself a postmodernist writer, so you might consider this cross-genre as it might be labeled as a literary work by default.
Briefly tell us about your main character William Shanahan?
William Shanahan starts out as a flat character whose moral evolution is the essence of the book. He finds it increasingly difficult to believe that his Government, as well as the Americans', is in full support of Jack Gawain's bloody campaign of counter-terror. He begins a process of reevaluating his core values and starts seeing gray areas in his black-and-white world. He starts seeing different sides to every story, and after a time his personal standards are no longer subject to absolute rationalizations.
What makes your main character important to the reader?
William Shanahan is probably the litmus test for the reading audience. If this ever makes its way to an academic reading list, I'm quite sure most of the essay questions would begin with 'If you were William Shanahan…'. He's not quite the average person, but he has a lot of traditional values that most people share deep down inside. There are few of his values that are not called into question, and this is where the reader will come away wondering how they might've acted in his place.
Who do you think is the most interesting character in your book?
Most reviewers seem to agree on Jack Gawain, and if I ever write a sequel it'll be about Gawain. Like Shanahan, he places a sacred value on God and country though it manifests itself far differently. As a UDA volunteer, he stopped at nothing to achieve his goals, and as an MI6 agent it's business as usual. Yet his romance with Fianna Hesher, an Irish-American stewardess, suddenly makes him vulnerable in a way he did not expect. He begins changing as a person, but not as abruptly as Shanahan. That would be the premise for a sequel.
Could you tell us about one or two of the other characters in your book?
Fianna Hesher isn't as deep as Morgana but she becomes a damsel in distress that compromises Gawain, giving him a humanity that would be otherwise absent. Emiliano Murra is a Sardinian crime boss in whom Shanahan finds a kindred spirit, and their parting of the ways is symbolic of Shanahan's estrangement from his previous mindframe.
Enrique Chupacabra is probably the worst of a bad lot. All of the criminal characters are the essence of evil. The storyline defines their development as a combination of nature and nurture. They all grew up in desperate environments, but once they started making money in narcotics and murder, it became second nature to them. They will appear before the Great White Throne on Judgment Day with a sneer on their faces and no regrets.
Is there some personal element in your story, or is it just pure fiction?
I hate to say it, but lots of the characters in the drug cartels were based on real people I knew. I find it a lot easier to use people you know than creating antagonists from scratch. This way they have a prefabricated personality. I ask, suppose so-and-so was a dealer with a ton of money in that environment? What would he do?
If you were to rewrite your book is there anything you would change?
Some reviewers thought it moved slowly at first, but lots of that was due to building up the storyline. That's my style and I can't change it, though I'm a bit perplexed as more than a few people get killed early on. Others said there were too many characters, but they were all essential in purveying the social and physical environment. If the characters don't perceive the scenery, you run the risk of having some scenes turn into a travelogue.
What would someone who read your book remember most about the story?
I hope that they would come away feeling as if they got to experience Florida and the Caribbean. I did a whole lot of research to make the backdrops as vivid as possible. I would also hope they came away feeling as if they had been on an Ian Fleming-level thrill ride. And, of course, more than a few things to talk about with family and friends.
Published 2014-01-19.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Destroyer: (Abaddon)
Price: $4.89 USD. Words: 51,400. Language: English. Published: September 19, 2013 by Tenth Street Press. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Richard McCain is a retired Special Forces operative whose underground activities during the Tribulation Era of American history places him on the FBI’s Most Wanted list as the mysterious Destroyer. Called upon by his ex-wife to rescue her sister from the tragedy of a terrorist strike in Mexico City. In doing so, he is forced to rely upon the Angel Train network of Christian activists.
The Standard
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 90,550. Language: English. Published: August 1, 2013 by Tenth Street Press. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
In the not too distant future, a coalition of international groups is planning a return to the gold standard in resolving a global recession. A criminal network of drug cartels and financial speculators are plotting to convert their holdings into bullion before launching attacks against major gold depositories in three countries to give them a monopoly in the new market.