One of the joys of this reading-reviewing-and-interviewing hobby of mine is that in addition to speaking to some of my favorite writers, such as Robert Parker earlier in the week, I am also introduced to new writers, including Tim Green.
Green has written 11 other novels, as well as two non-fiction books. After playing eight years for the NFL and becoming a lawyer, he then worked as a featured commentator on A Current Affair, Good Morning America, NPR and FOX Sports.
American Outrage is read aloud by Scott Brick, who does an excellent job. Green's next book, described below, also sounds good.
Scott Butki: What was your intention with this story? Did you accomplish that?
Tim Green: My intent was to combine some of the themes I explored in a memoir I wrote titled A Man and his Mother, which was about the search for my own biological mother, along with my experiences working in tabloid TV, with an extremely ruthless and dangerous antagonist who could add a full measure of excitement to the story. I think the result is even better than I hoped for. I feel like the book moves fast and furiously and pulls all those elements together seamlessly. But, after all, I'm a little prejudiced.
Scott: How would you summarize this book for those unfamiliar with it?
Tim: The story is about Jake Carlson, an investigative journalist for the TV news magazine American Outrage. Jake's career is flagging when his adopted 13-year-old son, Sam, asks Jake to use his skills to dig up the identity of Sam's biological mom. Jake combines a career-saving story with the search for his son, only to uncover a story that includes him and his son as the main characters. Sam's adoption evolved out of an Albanian crime syndicate with an international human trafficking operation. When he unearths the Albanians, they are bent on killing Jake and his son to cover a crime that includes the corrupt US Congressman who is also the patriarch of an old wealthy New York family. With the cameras focused on him and his son, Jake has to run for his life and he soon learns that some secrets are best left undiscovered.
Scott: Did you ever work for a program as, well, sleazy as American Outrage?
Tim: I hosted A Current Affair, which I like to think wasn't as sleazy as American Outrage, but some of the ridiculous nature of what the show considered to be news is evident in the book. I, like Jake Carlson, found myself biting my tongue and rolling my eyes quite often.
Scott: This is the first book of yours I've read. (Well, listened to on audio.)
Are there any recurring characters? How does this novel match up against
Tim: Jake Carlson may come back one day. Right now I'm working on a story that brings back Casey Jordan, a fiery female lawyer who appeared in my first national best-selling novel, The Letter of the Law.
Scott: How did you go from being a NFL player to an NPR commentator to a
novelist? Which of those three occupations has been most enjoyable? Which
has been the most satisfying?
Tim: I've always been passionate about books and football. Growing up I worked hard to developed the skills to be good at both, despite the incongruity of the two. NPR wanted a writer's insight into the wildly popular NFL and that in turn led to my credibility as a writer, which helped me get my first novel published. Each of those experiences has been extremely satisfying in different ways. I'd hate to rank them. Football is more electric, a pure adrenaline rush. The payoff in writing is more lasting.
Scott: What question are you most tired of answering? And if the above question is it then I apologize for that.
Tim: The above question. Only kidding. I think it's how can a football player be a writer. The answer is simple: Both require passion and relentless devotion.
Scott: What question do you wish interviewers would ask but they don't. Here's
your chance to ask and answer it.
Tim: What's the best thing that ever happened to you in your life? Answer: Meeting my wife, Illyssa. She completes me and together we have five spectacular kids.
Scott: Did you have an interest in adoptions before you wrote this book? Did
you do research on the topic while working on this book?
Tim: As I said, I was adopted myself. The only research I had to do was the legal elements of international adoption. As you can see in the book, there are many holes in that process that leave it open to corruption and potential criminal activity.
Scott: What are you working on next?
Tim: Casey Jordan, who I already told you about, takes on a US Senator who's killed an undocumented Mexican worker in what he says is a hunting accident. Casey, who represents the wife in an unusual deportation case, thinks the husband was murdered and sets out to prove it against all odds. After I finish that, I'll move on to the next novel for kids, which will be the third in a series that will be released this July. It's called Football Genius and it's aimed at boys aged 10-14.
Thanks to Tim Green for his help. I look forward to his next book. Readers, check out American Outrage and you won't — forgive me for this — be outraged that you did.