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Debbie Dyke is a novelist and businesswoman from Alexandria, Virginia, and has a background in military intelligence, the stock market, executive recruiting and writing. An Army brat, she’s lived in Turkey, France, Germany, Italy, Albania and Holland. She graduated from the American High School in Naples, Italy then attending University of Maryland, Munich Campus. She graduated from Georgetown University and holds a Bachelors of Science and Masters degree in National Security. Debbie has two grown children, Lisa and Jordan and has been married to Michael for over thirty wonderful years. Debbie has written 5 screenplays, one Wall Street calendar and two novels.
Connect with Debbie!
Author website is: www.debbiedyke.com
Facebook page: DebbieDykeBooks
Q. What inspires your writing?
I am very passionate about the stock market and investments. I’m fascinated by the recent Ponzi schemes and financial scams that have been reported in the front page news. I’ve watched the bank meltdowns with great interest. As a former stockbroker, I’ve met a few embezzlers and worked with several bad brokers who’ve run away with client’s money.
My inspiration to write The Bloody Mary Club came to me in many ways. I’ve always been interested in the stock market and the idea of an all-woman investment club was my hook. I added the Bloody Mary Drink after hearing about its historical tie to Alexandria. It was a convergence of ideas and I knew I had to write this story. My first medium was in script format but it felt limited with just dialog and scene settings. It was an abbreviated version of the story in my head. When I wrote the novel the characters came to life and I knew it was meant to be a novel.
I always say people lie about two things: sex and money. I prefer to explore what money (not sex) or lack of it does to people and what lengths they will go through to get it. Fifty Shades of Grey does a darn good job of covering the sex side of things! I’ll stick to what I know -- the money side of things!
Q. What is your favorite thing about being an author?
Creativity. Coming up with ideas. Story telling. Never being stuck for a character, setting or scene. I’m also a very fast typist and can get things out of my head onto the keyboard without much of a struggle. As a military brat, I draw on all my life experiences to bring out unique characters and situations. Having worked in military intelligence and the stock market, I have plenty of unusual situations to draw upon. I find such joy in writing; it comes natural and doesn’t feel like work. I like finding out things about people and new worlds. I’m naturally curious so this inspires my work and hopefully the reader can feel the energy in my writing.
Q. What is the toughest part of being an author?
To trust my instincts, write what I know, even if it’s the opposite of what books become bestsellers. I’ve been bucking the trend for years, financial thrillers? Really? Well, yes! After the market meltdowns, thousands of real estate foreclosures and banking blow ups, people are starting to pay more attention to all things financial. Hopefully, financial fiction made fun and easy to read will be the next big thing.
Q. If you could not be author, what would you do/be?
I would be a venture capitalist. I enjoy everything about the business of financing start-ups. I know that some can do it and some can’t, and l know I have that talent. I would get a kick out of investing in startup companies and watching them take off. It is also a very risky business to be in. The odds of having a winner are not unlike the odds of your book being on the NY Times best seller list. Venture capitalists must know how to read business plans, understand a company’s balance sheet, income statement and shareholders reports. The most important trait is having a good instinct in what to invest into and I’ve always had this sixth sense about what to invest in. It takes a good business sense and fortitude to stick with the investment. The payoff can be very sweet. Just like writing, it takes persistence and when it’s finished, you get a wonderful sense of accomplishment.
Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
Avanti --- a great Italian word for ‘move forward’ or ‘ahead of.’ It describes me from head to toe! For me it means to always push the envelope, to create something fresh and exciting to delight my readers.
Q. Can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind your book cover(s)?
I love my cover! It’s an eye catching cover that says it all. I needed to convey several concepts: Wall Street, the title of the book ‘The Bloody Mary Club, the drink and a hint of danger. I had to show the financial side (something Wall Street) along with the colorful drink with glass shape that draws the eye down to the book title. We added the drops of blood spurting out of the title that lead downward to a bloody knife pointed at a dining receipt. The astute observer would notice that on the receipt, Gina Van Story, my lead character, leaves a very large tip. All of these elements combined made for an exciting vibrant cover. My book designer was quick to gasp my vision and provided me this beautiful cover and I’m happy to report that I’ve received lots of compliments on.
Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
Of course – it would be from the finance world! My all time favorite writer is Michael Lewis, he’s tops on my list for his expert financial writing and amazing story telling ability. I can’t narrow it down to one book, but here’s the best two that he’s written: The Big Short and Liar’s Poker. These are classics that are a must read.
Q. Which part of your book(s) was the easiest to write?
The easiest part of my book to write of course were the scenes of the ladies when they get together and how they interact with each other. The Bloody Mary Club lead character is Gina Van Story and her three girlfriends: Sarah, Vivi and Joanie. It was easy to create the dynamic between the characters because history, starting from college, carried through to their adult life and now in ‘business’ together. It works well because they have a long history of pet peeves and simmering slights, which allows for fireworks ready to go off at any time. The three friends find themselves with no financial security and desperately rely on Gina Van Story to save them from a dead end retirement. All she demands is that the investment earrings stay put in the club until retirement age. This of course is a constant source of tension because Gina has all the toys and is fast approaching the 1% club. The friends want to spend their club profits as soon as they are realized and Gina won’t allow it. It’s the classic battle of the ‘haves’ versus the ‘have not’s’. Mix in tension with boyfriends, ex-husbands, career difficulties, disappointments in life and it makes for a complex, rich story.
Q. Which part of your book(s) was the hardest to write?
For me, the hardest part of writing The Bloody Mary Club was…. rewriting. After 17 rewrites over several years it took a lot of concentration to keep track of the characters, the dialog and plot points and making the changes organic from begging to the end. Several times I wasn’t even sure which scenes were cut and which were still in. I had to come up with outlines and note cards to keep track of the story, the characters, plot points, arcs and while at the same time keep the pacing tight. One of the most helpful tricks was to create an ‘edit/cut’ file for sections or passages that I deleted. I was able to go back to that file when I did the final rewrite and add parts back in that were needed. Once the writing was done, I set it down for several weeks for a cooling off period. I was able to read it with fresh eyes.
Q. Which character from any book are you most like?
I would have to say I’m most like my lead character Gina Van Story. Since I am a former stock broker, I have the same experience dealing with investment advisors and clients of all stripes. I can relate to her daily grind. She is a savvy stockbroker on the hunt for a big score that will land her in the top 1% income bracket. Here’s where differ, she will do anything to get there, even moonlight as a venture capitalist and doing off the book deals. The proceeds are wired into a sheltered off shore retirement account away from the IRS’s prying eyes. Illegal? She’s not worried, money solves any problem. Although I’d never do anything like this, it’s interesting to see how it plays out in the story.
From the onset, you think she has it all. As you get to know her, you find out that she has a tight circle of friends, but no husband, no children, not even a pet and a dysfunctional relationship with her widowed mother. Her greed and love of money-making has exacted a toll. She needs to come down a peg and find her humanity and look beyond the closing bell of NYSE. As for me, I’m long time married, with two children, and have a great relationship with my mother. I love to watch the ticker zip by on the stock exchange and love all things money, but I’m not greedy and am happy with the way my life has turned out..
Q. What is your favorite season?
Most definitely, summer. I love the sunshine and extra day light hours. I love to wear summer dresses; hate to have t dress in layers like in the winter. There are so many things to do in the summer, barbequing, going to the beach, gardening, taking long walks, and the list is endless. The cold is overrated! Give me the sun, beach, big moon, large deck overlooking the shore, good friends and glass of wine!
Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book(s).
Nothing too funny has happened, but something very fun has. I’m trying to get a vodka sponsorship and endorsement deal! As you can tell, Vodka plays a key role in my novel and I’d sure like to have a vodka partner along with me on this journey.
Vodka acts a main character in this financial thriller about an all woman investment club that gets caught up in a David and Goliath struggle when their stock portfolio turns deadly…literally. As the intrigue and violence escalates so does the vodka in their namesake drink, Bloody Marys.
The recipe: take four long time girlfriends, put them in an investment club, toss in murder, private stock, a bank takeover, mix it with intrigue and mayhem.
I have a marketing partner that is reaching out several thousand companies that produce all the components of the bloody mary drink from vodka makers, mix makers, tomato juice companies to glass makers. We are trying to join forces with me to start a fun Bloody Mary partnership! We are shopping ideas from store displays, logos on, texting, tweets, Facebook page to events such as Bloody Mary brunches to build your own Bloody Mary parties. Cheers!
Q. Are you working on something new?
In between blogging, interviews, posting, attending book clubs and book marketing for The Bloody Mary Club I’m not sure when I’m going to have time to finish my second one! This book promoting is hard work! (t also very rewarding.) Seriously, I’m working on my second novel, Gina’s Tonic, which is the next in the financial series. I’m half way through the first draft. The gin is flowing and I’m having fun with it. Here’s what it’s about:
Numbered Accounts, banking secrecy, tax havens, bribery, kickbacks, laundered drug money, sham transactions and skimming -- banking gone bad. This thriller takes on the world of international finance, money launderers and organized crime. Gina Van Story challenges her nemesis, a trust officer with sticky fingers working at Beck Bank. This thief helps herself to client accounts, skips town only to find that she's taken a Columbian drug money account. She's discovered and soon becomes the cartel's day trader who must produce profits or be executed. Gina and her Bloody Mary Club gal pals masterminds a clever take down, recovers the stolen funds, hands over the rotten drug cartel to US government and saves Johnny’s bank once again. Loaded with twists and turns, this thriller delves into money laundering and organized crime.
Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
First of all, thank you for the opportunity to share my writing background with you and your interest in The Bloody Mary Club! I appreciate the support and hope that you will come away jazzed about financial chick lit! The time has come for smart girl money fiction!
As an owner of Script Magazine I was lucky enough to attend screen writing and film festivals all across the United States. It was a lot of fun to meet and speak with top screenwriters, directors, producers and attend pitch festivals. I learned that screenwriters aren’t treated very nicely in Hollywood, that you are only as good as the last thing you wrote. Most importantly, you have very little control over your work because screenwriting is a collaborative venture. Once you’ve sold your script, it’s out of your hands. It will go through multiple rewrites. It’s rewritten for the producer, then for the director, and again, rewritten for each actor (depending on A or B list) when they come onboard. For example, a script about four women in an all investment club in Alexandria, VA could turn out to be about an elderly couple fighting over Skippy the dog in a Las Vegas assisted living community.
The best advice I received from a top agent at CAA was that, if you wanted to be respected in Hollywood and control your work, you need to be novelist. Novelists are held in very high regard. Screenwriters are at the bottom of the barrel of the Hollywood pecking order and many aren’t even invited to their own opening night. I took his advice to heart. The Bloody Mary Club novel is based on my script optioned by a Hollywood Production company for an Emmy-winning actress. To celebrate my first paycheck from writing I bought a mink coat! I wanted a tangible asset to remind me of how hard I worked to write the script and the reward when it was option. I can’t help but smile when I’m wearing it. My goal now for the profits from The Bloody Mary Club is to buy a Fiat 500! Convertible, of course!
I like to communicate with my readers through Facebook, my blog and my Author webpage. I would love to receive feedback and encourage them to reach out to me. I often get emails asking me specific questions about investments, or trading strategies, or advice on how to finance college, I do not mind these questions because I sense that there’s a lot of bad advice out there. I am always excited to receive contact from readers that I’ve know from my past. Out of the blue I will receive an email from someone living in Italy or Albania who’s read about my novel. I’m grateful to reconnect with people from my past and I’m happy to reach out to new fans.
You can keep up with me by visiting my website: www.DebbieDyke.com, or read my blog: http://debbiedykebooks.blogspot.com/.
I also post updates on my author Facebook page: Debbie Dyke Books
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss my journey with you. I hope you enjoy reading The Bloody Mary Club and come away with an appreciation of all things financial!
Cheers! Debbie Dyke, Author, The Bloody Mary Club!
After an awkward lapse of time, Gina clicked her fingers at Vivi. “Why is an IPO not like you?”
“IPO. APO. GPO. UFO.” Vivi counted the cigarettes in her pack. “All gobbledygook to me.”
“IPO. Stands for initial public offering. It’s the first time the stock is offered to the public. New stock…get it?” Gina zeroed in on Vivi, now engaging Sarah in a puff -off . “You know I can’t do this alone. I need input from you. From both of you.”
Vivi made an elaborate gesture of tipping the cigarette ashes onto the floor. “Well, I tried. I wanted to buy Harley Davidson stock. Then I suggested Coors beer. You knocked me down.”
Gina sat back and crossed her arms tightly. “Vivi, maybe your bra’s too tight but you can’t buy a stock just because it sounds cool. How many times do I have to tell you? You have to look at the numbers, the earnings, the future…”
“Hey sweetie, you’ve done alright by us so far. When our account reached three zeros, I stopped reading those humdiggety monthly statements. Here’s a tip for you: save your paper.” Vivi crushed her cigarette with her bondage boot heel. “This investment gag fest bores the moles right off my back. Why don’t we skip the numbers tonight and party till we puke?” She turned toward the busy bar, clicked her fi ngers singing, “Gina. Gina. Fo-fi na, fe-fi -fo-bina.”
“If you want to party…fine…party. I’ll just, errrrr, what’s the use?”
“Knock it off. We should kiss the ground that Gina walks on for starting this club. Let’s show her some respect.” Sarah tapped the back of Vivi’s chair with her lighter. “Take the wax out of your ears. Apologize to our hard-working club chairwoman or I will pour every Bloody Mary drink I order tonight over your head.”
“Sooorrrrrrryyyyyyy,” Vivi flung her mass of bleached blond hair onto her back then added, “Gina. Gina. Fo-fi na.”
“Apology accepted.” Gina folded her hands on the table. “Investing is serious business and your comfortable retirement is my utmost priority.”
“Go girl go.” Vivi danced in her seat clicking her fingers. “Give us the ‘money is king’ talk.”
“I don’t do anything just for the money.”
“Money is king for you, but Elvis is my king.”
“You’ve all grown up thinking you can’t handle this stuff and if you’re a good girl, some big strong man will come along and take care of it for you. Wake up. It’s not going to happen. Without this club, you’ll be greeters at Wal-Mart when you’re seventy.” Gina plucked off a shrimp from her drink and jiggled it at Vivi. “Your legal secretary job isn’t secure.” Vivi picked imaginary lint off her slinky top. “What happens when your one-man-shop lawyer is thrown in jail for tax evasion? You’re pushing fifty, who’s going to hire a legal secretary who types on an electric typewriter and uses shorthand?”
Vivi pouted and pretended to brush away tears.
Gina moved on to Sarah busy snacking on peanuts: “And you can’t stretch your paycheck. You’re floating your bills. If mommy and daddy didn’t help out, you’d have no phone service, electricity or water. What are you going to do when they aren’t around? You think you’ll inherit their money? Statistics aren’t on your side. Mom and the general will need that money for their nursing home care. Your ex will get the last laugh as he skis down the slopes in Zermatt after having a wine and raclette meal paid for from his impenetrable trust fund.”
Sarah picked at her cuticles with one eye stuck in a half-blink. “You forgot Joanie, she’s a mess.”
“Her boobs will turn to raisins before she gets a rich guy to marry her,” Vivi said sitting taller.
“There’s no IPO in her future. Her company has yet to turn a profit.” Sarah swirled the pickle in her drink. “She needs more Investors Business Daily, less sex.”
“And she just blew money on a new treadmill. She should have invested in a 401(K) plan instead,” Vivi added.
“Not too shabby ladies. I’m impressed. Sorry for being such a dragon.” Gina blew them kisses. “I can’t help but get emotional when I think about us getting old.”
Vivi whistled and lifted her Bloody Mary. “Gina, I appreciate all you do for us. Do yourself a favor and…get laid.”
Sarah and even Gina laughed so loud they threatened to crack the wine glasses behind the bar. They held their sides and tears squirted out of their eyes.
“Let’s have a toast,” Vivi stood up. “Come on girlfriends, get your thongs out of your asses.”
Vivi nudged Gina saying, “See, you can’t stay mad at us for long.”
Vivi had that right. As angry as she got with her investment-lazy friends, she enjoyed their company more than anyone else’s.
They lifted their glasses and made another rousing toast, “To bloody, bloody Mary.”
All forgiven and forgotten.