Quick Hit Q&A: Eric Stone

With the official publication of Scoundrels: Tales of Greed, Murder and Financial Crimes, we’ve asked some of the contributors to tell us about writing, crime, and Scoundrels.

First up is Eric Stone, author of the successful Ray Sharp series and the story “Arbitraging the Blood Brain Barrier,” which can be found in this collection.

Down & Out:  What makes writing about white collar crime different from writing traditional crime fiction stories? Or maybe, what makes it not-so-different?

Stone: Everybody knows how a basic old-fashioned bank robbery works – mask, gun, teller, maybe a note, money in the bag out the door. But my story takes place in a currency arbitrage trading room. Currency arbitrage is a relatively simple financial matter once you understand it, but a lot of people aren’t familiar with it. Readers need to understand it well enough that when somebody gets murdered over it, that makes sense to them. Nothing can slow down the pace of a story like too much explanation. It is especially deadly in a short story. So the trick is to find ways to let the action do the explaining and keep the plot moving along at a good clip, even with something as unfamiliar as arbitrage.

D&O:  Which writer has had the greatest impact on your writing?

Stone: In my long form fiction, Herman Melville. Moby Dick showed me how big, broad, complex, varied and beautiful a novel can be. Overall, especially in my “genre” fiction, Chester Himes. He gave me a real appreciation for the importance of social, economic and political context in fiction and showed me ways that all of that can be seamlessly integrated into a story.

D&O: What are common themes or objects you find yourself returning to, story after story?

Stone: Economics, politics and the interplay and dislocation that they often cause between tradition and modern development. So far all of my published fiction is set in Asia, where I worked as a journalist, and those issues are particularly noticeable there. Related to that is that my protagonists are usually outsiders, who though well-informed aren’t native to the world in which they live. And strangely, without planning it that way, all of my novels have ended at, and/or had major scenes set in bodies of water. Maybe it’s one of the impacts of my love for Moby Dick.

You can visit Eric Stone online here.

The Scoundrels ebook is currently available for the KINDLE, but will be released in other ebook formats in coming weeks.

You can also buy this as a trade paperback from AMAZON OR you can ask for it from your favorite Indie Bookstore…they can get it for you.

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