Edgemont’s Geoff Loftus has just published his first novel and second book, Double Blind. It’s a thriller about two beautiful women and two deadly secrets. The story line involves a New Yorker who goes on blind dates with two women and is lost in a tangle of Mafia, federal agents, violence, sex, betrayal, and murder. There's graphic sex and violence, and plentiful profanity and if this book were a movie, it would have an "R" rating.
Double Blind is a big departure from Loftus’ first book, Lead Like Ike: Ten Business Strategies from the CEO of D-Day. So we asked Loftus a few questions about writing fiction rather than historical analysis and the writing life in Edgemont and here is what he shared:
How did you do the research for the book and learn about the world of the Mafia?
Geoff: First, this book was not research-intensive. Most of the Mafia story was things I remembered seeing in the news -- and then doing an Internet search to make sure I remembered correctly. The clearest example of that is the moment in Double Blind when the hero reads about the New York cops being convicted of performing murder for hire for the Mob. That actually happened while I was writing, so I incorporated it in a very small way into the story. The other thing I did, especially with regard to the Mafia, was to use popularly accepted notions about what Mafiosi are like -- I borrowed heavily from Goodfellas and The Sopranos. If something's worked for someone else, why not use it?
How long did it take you to write the book and when do you find time to write?
Geoff: It took about 2 years to write this. After all, I've got a 9-to-5 job, so I have to write when I can: weekends, lunchtime, holidays, nights. If I were able to write full-time, I could write something like this in 3 or 4 months.
What can you say about the differences between writing a novel vs. non-fiction?
Geoff: I love the differences. With a novel, you're much freer to express yourself. You can be humorous (assuming you're funny), you can make astute social observations, you can play with language and with narrative voice. You decide where your story is going and how you're going to take it there. With non-fiction, you have to be true to your facts. Your story already happened -- so you're left to tell the story in the way you think best, but that leaves you with a lot fewer options than a novel. On the other hand, if you're doing a fair amount of research, as I did for Lead Like Ike: Ten Business Strategies from the CEO of D-Day, you learn a lot -- and, pardon me for sounding like an 8th-grade suck-up, but I'm not sure if anything is more fun than learning.
What do you think about publishing in the electronic age -- what has been your experience with Amazon and e-readers? Do stores stock hard copies of the book anymore?
Geoff: I have a nook (Barnes & Noble), and my wife reads e-books on her iPad. I love e-books. By and large, they cost less, and I tote around more than 60 titles in my nook. Try that stunt with hard copies and you'll end up with a hernia. As for why I went this route for Double Blind -- Lead Like Ike is in hard copy, audio book, and e-book formats -- it's the economics of e-publishing. My publisher, Saugatuck Books, is primarily an e-book publisher. Because the cost to publish is so low, Saugatuck can offer its authors a much larger slice of the pie. The royalty formula on Double Blind is a lot better for me than the formula for Lead Like Ike. And because the cost is so low, Saugatuck can charge readers less (only $4.99), so everyone wins.
Please provide information about your involvement in Edgemont with the ECC or any other community organizations.
Geoff: I'm about to enter my second year as Edgemont Community Council (ECC) president, my sixth on the ECCboard. The ECC is the Edgemont community's voice in the Town of Greenburgh, and sometimes to Westchester County and even New York State. We've been very active opposing the installation of cell-phone antennas in residential areas and the building of multi-family housing right next to the Greenburgh Nature Center. We've proposed a large number of budget cuts to Town Hall (which have been ignored). And for years, we've been calling for a town-wide reassessment for property taxes, which Town Supervisor Paul Feiner has recently gone on the record as saying will happen.
During the 2010-2011 school year, I was on Edgemont's School Board Nominating Committee. Before I was on ECC, I coached soccer and baseball from 1999-2006 for Edgemont Rec. In 2003, I was on the school district's Long Term Technology Planning Committee.
Where can readers find the book?
Preview a video about Double Blind here, and if you like it, the book is available on Amazon's Kindle or the Barnes & Noble nook, and by using free apps from the two retailers, it's available for iPad, iPhone, Android, Mac, or PC. Here is the link to Amazon: