Author Mark Donahue Talks About "Stat$": Numbers To Kill For"
by Markos Papadatos — Digital Journal
February 22, 2021
ACCORDING TO THE BOOK DESCRIPTION, David Dawson is a former Navy SEAL who fought in the Middle East. He thought he had done all he could to serve his country. Little did he know, the fate of the United States would soon rest in his hands.
What inspired you to write STAT$?
For three years I worked in Washington D.C. and spent a great deal of time on the Hill trying to save the country money, which I learned was not particularly important to the folks in Congress on both sides of the aisle. I also learned that as citizens of this country we have little choice but to believe what we read and hear coming out of D.C.
As a result, it dawned on me that most elections typically end up being decided on one aspect of our society; the economy. If the economy is good, it bodes well for the incumbent party. Bad economy? A new Administration is almost certain. And the economy is many times judged on a single component, the unemployment rate. Low unemployment is good news, high unemployment bad news.
My story is based on the question of what if the numbers we heard about the economy were not true, made up, fake news? What if for the last 70 years a small group of wealthy economists had made up those numbers and by doing so determined who would be president years in advance and in turn sold that priceless information to foreign countries, multinational conglomerates, and the uber-wealthy who could financially benefit from knowing who would be leading the greatest economy the world has ever seen years in advance.
In short, we believe what we see and read because we have no way of checking the facts. But the press also believes what they see and read from think tanks, world-renowned number crunchers, and others. What if all those smart folks were lying to all of us? Enough money can make almost anyone lie about something. Even if it means our democracy is a sham and controlled by people who control the numbers…the STATS. Enough money can also lead people to murder. After that first murder, the rest are easier.
What is one of the keys to developing characters?
I had a writing professor tell me that if your reader doesn’t care if your character lives or dies, then you have a weak character. Characters don’t always have to be loved or even liked, but they have to be interesting. There need to be many layers to them and as the reader peels back the onion they learn more and more about the character.
They may not like what they are learning, but they keep peeling. I have had readers say many of my characters become old friends as they move through the story. I like that analogy. Funny thing is, I miss my characters when I am finished with one of my books. They are indeed my friends.
What’s your favorite scene in Stat$?
I like the scene where Sidney is being threatened in her bedroom by the two bad guys and she stands up to them by calmly grabbing one of the guys by the balls to get his attention, refusing to let go until her husband can put a knife through the neck of the other bad guy. All this takes place before they share a Chinese dinner while being interviewed by local cops wanting to know what the hell happened. Yeah, I like that scene. You know, romantic.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Not a hell of a lot, especially this past year. My favorite college basketball team, the University of Dayton Flyers got robbed of being a national champion, the Cincinnati Reds didn’t score a run in two playoff games and the Bengals were their normal sucky selves, so sports did not go well. I did work out a lot and gained 10 pounds so I concluded I ate more than I worked out. So to answer your question, I didn’t do a hell of a lot, except write.
Is there a new book or project underway?
I have concluded scripts are more fun and less vexing to write than books. I have completed 13 scripts and we are in the process of developing four of those projects and the fifth one is in pre-production. Of my current five books, Last at Bat, Fat Girl, Golden Reich, Answer Man, Stat$, all have companion scripts completed and hopefully will make the screen in the next year or two. Or three.
Stat$: Numbers To Kill For is available on Amazon.