Victor Robert Vipond [vicvipond]
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I began reading at age 3. Janet and John. I have been writing for personal amusement all my life. My first readers were primary school teachers.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
I am interested in all genres of story-telling. My current fiction does not seem to fit into any established genre. There are possibly some remaining links to some sites containing my economic technical work. If so, the work will be seriously dated. If anyone wants to read about my fiction, they have only to ask. I will treat such requests professionally.
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I go on walks, thinking. I read a lot. Some of my reading is the work of other story-tellers, some is technical. I read rather a lot of history, particularly economic history. I figure out what i want my characters to say, and the places where i want them to say it, then try to slide it into the narrative.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
I rather like people who can make powerful statements. To me, in fiction, a powerful statement always carries emotional content. I look for crisp short 'sound bite sized' statements displaying intellectual and emotional depth. Such statements are impossible to copy and amazingly rewarding when you try to reach or surpass their depth.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
The most basic ingedient to any story is the interest of the recipient. In most ways, that is the only ingredient. There are no known limits to the number of ways a writer can capture a reader's interest. It seems to me that the current fascination with creating tension by playing on reader/listener/watcher insecurities is missing vast areas of potential reader/listener/watcher interest. It is also becoming tedious.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
Third. The first person says more about the story-teller than it does about a story. First person is fine when sharing a few drinks with close friends. Some novelists seem to be able to carry a first person narrative. When i try it, I find myself questioning my own mental health. I prefer to avoid those questions.
What well known writers do you admire most?
I was brought up on Chaucer, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene and similar writers. Right now i most admire Terry Pratchett, Tony Hillerman, Martin Cruz Smith and John Le Carre.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
Characters have to be part of situations. Trivial shallow unlikely situations breed unbelievable characters. I have tried 'chicken' charaters, using well known historical figures. That does not work for me. I create my characters by researching an historical figure, making my own conclusions about that person's motivations and have the character act accordingly. All of my characters will appear, to some people at least, as being extreme, drawn to the point of the ridiculous. I doubt that many serious scholars would join the condemnation.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
Some people like my oral stories, some do not. I am known amongst my friends as a person who tells interesting stories, but that says as much about my friends as it does about me.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
My readers. I want my stories to appeal to the widest range of readers i can imagine.
I think i have something to say. Economics is about the needs and wishes of the vast majority of ordinary people. These needs and wishes go well beyond mere material possessions. I believe that economics can, should and must be presented in ways that ordinary people can see why it is an exciting and fascinating topic. Economic theory contains a dazzling array of complex terminologies. Most of these terms translate almost directly into common sense. In these common sense terms, economics is a very large part of ordinary daily conversation. Ordinary 'characters' can discuss some rather penetrating theories without appearing stilted. That is because most people do that all the time. I want to convey this fact, i have to use a fiction format to do it and i am more than pleased to do so.
To put it crudely, I belong in the 'realist' school of Social Science. The best economists in the world, and the best teachers of economics in the world, are those people who thrive by converting esoteric theories - and their supporting evidence - into everyday common sense. I believe that this principle can be carried into a realm of pure fiction bounded only by serious evidence backed disciplined theory.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
I do not find that my writing resolves observed internal conflicts. Writing raises my levels of self-consciousness - it usually identifies previously unnoticed internal conflicts.
Does reader feed-back help you?
Reader feed back is vital to me. I tell my friends bits of my books as stories to assess their reactions all the time. I am amazed they dont run for cover whenever they see me coming.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
I participate in competitions all the time. But i do not recall participating in any 'literary' competition. Sometimes i wonder if 'literary' works - and literary competitions - are mostly about technique for its own sake.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
Yes. But most of my friends share my writing by way of the oral expositions.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
I do not recall any time or place when i have lacked a voice. I have, however, more than once found myself on a radio or TV interview where the interviewer has asked a question so obviously shallow and bigoted that no sensible answer could be made. At such time i tend to re phrase the question inside my own mind and answer that question instead. Sometimes, even that is not possible.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
I do not seem to practice the 'daily minimum' theory. I spend all my time re-editing previous work, trying to raise the standard of interest and clarity. And yes, i seem to spend most of my time cursing my own vast inadequacies.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
I surround myself with books. Books on technical economic details, books on historical details, philosophy books, sociology books, books written by people whose story telling abilities i like to read.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
I write into my word processor, and correct from the word processor. Sometimes when I find that i am simply not getting the required level of clarity into a technical exposition, i print a few pages and dissect them.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
None as yet. I am constantly searching for serious vehicles to promote my work. I have not yet found any on line vehicle in my personal comfort zone.
What has been your experience with publishers?
What are you working on now?
I am working on a series of 6 novels. These novels are intended to be a series of apparently trivial anecdotes, the anecdotes summing to some complex points. The overall theme is 'Truth Justice and the American Way of Life'.
My first two novels begin with the American Revolution and move to Germany where they cover economic reasons for the Great War, and the Reichsbank's clear and obvious role in the rise of the Nazi party.
My second two novels describe the British Empire 1870 -1940 and the Bank of England's somewhat less clear role in the economic destruction of the empire.
My third pair of novels describe Tammany Hall/Robber Baron dominated America 1870-1940 and the highly ambiguous variety of roles played by the Federal Reserve Board in creating/sustaining the Great Depression.
A fourth pair of novels will describe the early Communist period in Russian hisory, with particular reference to a 'Socialist Reserve Bank' and the resulting proposition that 'bullshit baffles brains - every time.'
People tend to think economics is a complicated boring topic. It can be. No doubt some people have vested interests in making it appear that way. There is certainly no other need for it. I intend to make my books rather simple, direct and entertaining. In economics, this is the highest possible professional standard.
America is the most diverse nation in the world. The American Dream is the broadest, most likely the most powerful dream ever known to man. As a monetary economist, trained in sociology and philosophy, I convey my beliefs - and what is left of my Great Exposee - through monetary economic history.
It is tattered and torn, it has been corrupted and perverted from inside as well as assaulted from outside, but in the early light of the dawning 21st Century, The Dream is still there. And it is still growing. I believe it has or is about to transcend the whole concept of the nation-state itself.
I cannot imagine a more compelling topic.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
There are none. I have never been shy about inflicting my opinions on anyone foolish enough to listen. If there were any opinions left unsaid, they have all been used in one or another of the 8 proposed books.
Victor Robert Vipond