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Interview: Meet Jack L. Brody, Author of The Moroni Deception

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Jack L. Brody, author of the latest suspense thriller, The Moroni Deception, is a writer, ex-military, and an avid traveler. After his Army stint, and then deciding to pass on law school, he went to film school, wrote screenplays, and held a number of jobs which ran from everything to working for a newspaper for one day, to film production, to then going into real estate (with at least five others along the way). He’s fascinated by history, politics, and architecture, all of which play a part in his novels (yes, he already has a couple more in the works). Prior to The Moroni Deception he had attempted one other novel, Lost in America, that was more along the lines of–if he had to think of a comparison–Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated. But after a rough start he thought it might be best if he got more novel writing experience under his belt with a genre that he was more comfortable with and had read more extensively. In this interview, Brody talks about his personal background, who his favorite authors are, and what inspired him to write his debut book.

Tell us a few things about yourself.

I’m originally from North Carolina, but have lived in several places across the country, mostly moving around while I was still in the military. After that I attended film programs at the University of Washington and then NYU and continued to work on my screenplays which I first started writing while I was still an undergrad. I still love movies, but find myself reading a great deal more now that I seem to have “aged out” of the demographic that most movies appear to be made for. The Moroni Deception is the first novel I’ve completed, although there were a couple others that I’d made attempts at.

What is your favourite book?

That would have to be the one I reread every couple of years– John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces. Not only is it brilliant, but it makes me laugh out loud, which not many books or movies, or even comedians can make me do.

Who is your favourite author?

Maybe it’s a throwback to my late teens, but I’ve always had an affinity for Kurt Vonnegut, who I actually got to see lecture twice. And speaking of comedians from the earlier question, Mr. Vonnegut was far funnier in person than about 98% of the comedians I’ve seen.

What inspired you to want to write The Moroni Deception?

What sparked the initial idea for the novel was after reading Jon Krakauer’s Under The Banner of Heaven. From reading it, I got a brief education about the history and founding of the LDS Church–although I should point out that most of the modern day stuff his book also dealt with, largely had to do with one of the LDS’s rather extreme polygamous offshoots–more the “Warren Jeffs” branch of the Mormon family tree. After I saw how much potential there was for weaving in some of the more interesting elements as part of a novel, I did about a year and half’s worth of research before I ever wrote the first word. I guess I should also mention that the other thing that actually led me to having an interest in reading Krakauer’s book, because I’m not normally a big non-fiction reader, was an episode of South Park. The episode, “All About Mormons,” actually sparked my initial interest in examining the religion much closer, because from they way they portrayed the founding of the religion, it just sounded too outlandish to be true. The show’s creators, of course, are well known for being prone to exaggerating things for effect. What I later found, though, was that they weren’t that far off.

Tell us a bit about your current writing projects.

Before I finished writing The Moroni Deception I started to get an idea for a follow-up featuring Michael Chenault, the New York Times reporter who is my novel’s protagonist. Without giving away too much, other than than I have an outline and a lot of notes, I would just add that as much as like The Moroni Deception, I think this next story has the potential to be even better.

Was this a difficult book to write?

Yes, because it was the first novel I had completed, I probably got a little OCD about trying to make it as perfect as I could, even though now looking back, I realize that was an unrealistic expectation–it probably even added close to another year and a half to completing it. And in fact, just today, someone who just read it told me about a slip up they came across where I supposedly got days mixed up that one of the characters is relaying. On top of that, my writing time was rather limited by how much energy– both physical and creative– that I had left at the end of the day because of a full-time business I also own and run, so from first conception to rewriting the last sentence, it took close to 6 years.

Any tips for aspiring writers?

Just that if you have an inspiration, to go for it–but probably don’t quit your day job

Any last words?

I guess just that if you’re a fan of conspiracy thrillers and enjoy the works of writers like Stieg Larsson and Dan Brown, that you’ll probably really like The Moroni Deception. While you can read the first several short chapters at Amazon or Barnes & Noble, if you go to my website  or Goodreads, you can read the first 12 chapters and decide for yourself. Also, I just wanted to thank you for the interview and your great questions.

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