Doug Cooper is the author of the award-winning novel Outside In and The Investment Club available October 2016. He has a BS in Mathematics Education from Miami University and a MA in American Studies from Saint Louis University. Always searching, he has traveled to over twenty countries on five continents, exploring the contradictions between what we believe and how we act in the pursuit of truth, beauty, and love. Originally from Port Clinton, Ohio, he has also called Cleveland, St. Louis, Detroit, New York, and Oslo, Norway home. He now lives in Cleveland working on his third novel Focus Lost.
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About the Book:
Forty million people visit Vegas every year but most never get past the strip. What about the people
Told from the perspective of a seasoned blackjack dealer, The Investment Club tells the stories of a self-destructive, dwarf entrepreneur, a drug-addicted musical performer-turned-stripper, a retired, widowed New Jersey policeman, a bereaved, divorced female sportscaster, and a card-counting, former Catholic priest before and after their fateful meeting at the El Cortez Casino in downtown Vegas.
As the five learn the greatest return comes from investing in one another, their lives stabilize and take on new, positive directions. But their love and support for each other can take them only so far before they must determine the meaning and value of their own lives.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life! Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process. Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning? Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?
A: The typical Vegas story — the bachelor party, wedding, or other two to three-day excursion has been overdone. During a visit and seeing all the tourists and excessive entertainment, I looked past the extravagance and became interested in the people who lived there — were they born there, what brought them there, why did they stay? I wanted to tell the stories of several people from different backgrounds who had moved there. I rotated the points of view from character to character but kept the story anchored in the common perspective of a native blackjack dealer while contrasting the concepts of gambling and investing from a financial and personal angle.
Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?
A: The main challenge in telling a story with multiple characters and rotating points of view that I have recognized in other books is that one or two characters will dominate the story and the other characters are under-represented. To mitigate this, I created extensive character psychological profiles and built the stories separately as rows in a spreadsheet one on top of the other with each chapter being a column about that character. If one story extended significantly farther across the worksheet, then I focused on the other characters to develop their stories more. As the individual stories unfolded, intersection points emerged that became opportunities for the characters to interact with one another.
Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?
A: Rare Bird Books in LA is my publisher. Their publicity division Rare Bird Lit did the publicity for my first book Outside In, which I did a hybrid deal for the hardcover with Greenleaf Book Group and won three literary fiction awards for in 2013-14. When finished with my second book (this book), The Investment Club, Rare Bird proffered a contract to publish it along with the paperback of Outside In.
Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?
A: Each step of the process, I thought the hard work was behind me from coming up with the idea to writing the first draft to editing to finding a publisher and on to marketing and selling. But each step is progressively more difficult rather than easier. The work always seems to grow.
Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?
A: My next book, for which I’m doing the final rewriting, is called Focus Lost about when passion becomes obsession for nature photographer Gabe Adams, famous actor Levi Combs, and his agent Eva Florez after Gabe inadvertently captures pictures of Levi with underage starlet Emily James. It’s set in Los Angeles and is loosely patterned after Paradise Lost with Levi representing the devil, Gabe as Adam, and Eva as Eve.
Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?
A: In The Investment Club, every chapter opens with the day and date and the Dow Jones open and it closes with the Dow Jones close from that date to orient the story since the timeline moves back and forth through time and place. What people may not realize is that I did the research to ensure the Dow Jones numbers, weather, and news referred to in the story are the actual numbers and events from that day.
Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?
A: The greatest return in our lives comes from investing in each others’ lives.
Q: Thank you again for this interview! Do you have any final words?
A: It’s so easy to get caught up in what we want or don’t have, but most important is what we can do for each other.