My guest today is Belgian and U.S. national Georges Ugeux (follow him on Twitter) author of The Flying Dragon. He is the Chairman and CEO of Galileo Global Advisors LLC, an investment banking advisory boutique. An adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, Ugeux is also the author of numerous nonfiction books about finance. The Flying Dragon is his first work of fiction. Let’s give him a warm welcome!
Congratulations on the release of your latest book, The Flying Dragon. When did you start writing and what got you into mystery novel?
I started just after publishing my non-fiction book, International Finance Regulation. I was always curious about fiction writing. I wanted to find out what writing a mystery novel truly entailed and whether or not I could do it. Turns out, I loved it.
What is your book about?
The novel is pretty much all about Victoria Leung, a young Chinese detective working for a UK agency. She is beautiful and smart and has a background in finance. Victoria is presented with a situation in which she has to figure out why a major executive at a Hong Kong Bank “fell” to his death from the trading room on the 22nd floor. Victoria is suspicious of the police department’s “suicide” conclusion and decides she must investigate it further. With a strong intuition and unwavering determination, Victoria eventually finds herself deep in an investigation that involves greed, financial fraud and corruption. As the protagonist, she really drives the story.
What was your inspiration for it?
Having written several non-fiction books on finance, I decided to venture off into the world of fiction – more specifically mystery novels. It felt like a natural continuation of my writings.
Choosing a Chinese woman as my protagonist was a bit unusual. My inspiration came from years of working with Chinese clients and Chinese women. It is certainly exciting to see that readers seem to love her as much as I do.
What do you hope readers will get from your book?
My hope is that readers will experience an exciting journey through the world of finance. I hope the book will provide readers with a better understanding of the way some people in the financial world are capable of reacting to crime and scandal. As a financier, I hope I managed to convey the culture of that world.
I also hope that readers will connect with Victoria Leung and enjoy meeting unusual characters in an unusual and dangerous environment. As psychology is a major part of the motivations of the characters, it gives readers an opportunity to truly “get in their heads.” Hopefully, readers will want to continue to follow Victoria Leung in her investigative journeys.
What do you do when your muse refuses to collaborate?
I wait… I never write for an entire day. I write when I feel like it. I give my muse a rest and when she is back, I am thrilled to continue writing. I write for my own pleasure as much as I do for readers.
I often use my travels to Asia as inspiration and the actual hours on the plane have been and continue to be a perfect time to write. For me, writing has to be a pleasure and a joy…and that is exactly what it is.
How do you keep your narrative exciting?
First and foremost, I have to be excited about it myself. In this particular book, I had not decided the end when I first began writing. The story developed as I wrote – it was fascinating and thrilling.
When I “finished” the story, I went back through the narrative and eliminated unnecessary stories to maintain the focus and the interest.
What was your publishing process like?
In two words – I would have to say painful and educational. I resorted to self-publishing after spending months looking for a publisher and/or literary agent. I found that the publishing industry seems to be so focused on money that they often don’t give new writers a chance. Instead, big-name publishers go with celebrities and/or recognized authors. In most cases, I don’t even think they read my manuscript.
I believe the future of publishing is self-publishing and marketing (Amazon, Lulu, Google and others). While I would love nothing more than a ravishing review in the New York Times, it is unlikely to happen. An author can only do so much…the rest is luck!
How did you celebrate the completion of a book?
My publication date for The Flying Dragon happened to coincide with the annual tree lighting event at Rockefeller Center (where my company’s office is located). I invited a large group of friends and family to watch the tree lighting while simultaneously attending my soft book launch. It was an opportunity to celebrate my first novel and even sell the first copies. We had great food, great wine and terrific company.
For me, it was truly a unique and special moment of accomplishment.
Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about your work?
As part of the publication of this book, I launched a website that encompasses my professional and personal lives. It was a journey in self-definition and self-branding. It took me six months to make it presentable and I used it as a platform to launch the book. www.georgesugeux.com
George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Comments?
I feel a bit bad for George Orwell, although I would borrow his fame any time. For me, writing fiction is like breathing, living and feeling. It is not a forceful commitment. Perhaps I am one of the lucky ones, but I had enormous pleasure writing this book and creating the fascinating Victoria Leung.
Photo and cover art published with permission from the author and the author’s publicist.