David released his book, Vaccine Nation, on Nov. 22nd and was kind enough to share it with my readers here.
Now that you know about his book, let’s find out a bit more about the man behind the story. Please welcome back bestselling author, David Lender.
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Born in the small town of Mt. Tabor, David Lender has lived in either northern New Jersey or New York City for most of his life. He majored in English at the University of Connecticut and received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Today, he is the bestselling author of the thrillers, Trojan Horse, The Gravy Train, Bull Street and Vaccine Nation. His thrillers are based on his 25-year career as a Wall Street investment banker in mergers and acquisitions with Merrill Lynch, Rothschild, and Bank of America. The international settings, obsessively driven personalities, and real-world financial intrigues featured in his novels are drawn from an insider’s knowledge of the inner workings of the most powerful of our financial institutions and corporations. He, his family, and their beloved pitbull, Styles, currently live in northern New Jersey.
Dani North is a filmmaker who just won at the Tribeca Film Festival for her documentary, The Drugging of Our Children, a film critical of the pharmaceutical industry. When she is handed “whistleblower” evidence about the U.S. vaccination program, she has to keep herself alive long enough to expose it before a megalomaniacal pharmaceutical company CEO can have her killed.
Read an excerpt of Vaccine Nation
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Inside David Lender’s Mind
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Sitting in the den of our weekend house in Pennsylvania on a comfortable spring or fall day, drinking a glass of good burgundy and listening to music with Manette, my fiancé, Zac, her son, and Styles, our pitbull.
What turns you on creatively? I get inspiration from a lot of places. Sometimes it’s a good book. Elmore Leonard is one of my favorite authors, and reading his stuff frequently gives me ideas. Sometimes it’s someone in my life. Dani North, the protagonist of Vaccine Nation, was inspired by Manette and her work as a documentary filmmaker. Sometimes it’s just throwing ideas around with friends, reflecting and then seeing what sticks.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? If I knew was overusing them I wouldn’t use them as much anymore. My editor on Vaccine Nation told me I probably wasn’t aware of how many sentences I started with “And.” And he also said I used the word “guys” an awful lot. He cut many of them. Richard Marek is a mercilessly honest and incredibly talented editor, and those two little tidbits are not really indicative of how huge his contribution is. He’s one of those guys you’re glad to have covering your back.
What quality do you most admire in a man? Integrity.
What quality do you most admire in a woman? Passion, in all facets of her life.
What is your greatest regret? Never having children. But at this point in my life I think having a future stepson and a rescue pitbull puppy isn’t such a bad trade.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d like to be more tolerant. I have high standards for myself and get frustrated and angry when I see others behaving irresponsibly, dishonestly, or incompetently.
What is your greatest fear? Not having a legacy. Never having children used to be part of that fear. I’m less concerned about it, ironically, after my father’s death. As he was dying we talked in depth about his legacy. He was rueful about “all this knowledge” he’d accumulated, and that it would pass on with him. Dad seemed to be interested in just about everything—classical music, photography, opera, The Beatles, bread baking, gardening, finance, running; the list is endless—and after high school was totally self educated. I made the point that the knowledge he accumulated, his interest in things, and his intense approach to learning about them was something that would be carried on through his four sons and all his grandchildren. I’ve realized since then that you don’t just pass on who you are through your children; it’s the impact you have on everyone through how you live your life. It’s also in part the tangible things you leave behind. That’s why it’s so meaningful to me to write: your words can live forever, as can your characters and the emotions they evoke.
Which living person do you most admire? I’ll cheat on this one based on the above answer and say my father. Without cheating, I’d have to say Muhammad Ali. I went to a couple’s counselor once with a former girlfriend—a lost cause—who asked me in a private session who my heroes were. For some reason I felt like a douchebag telling him Muhammad Ali, The Beatles and Eric Clapton and so I said I didn’t have any. Thanks for the opportunity to redeem myself on that one.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? A stonemason. I studied and built a dry stone wall—no mortar, just skillfully placed stones—in my back yard when we had a pool installed a few years ago. I did a pretty good job, but it’s an art that requires finesse and experience that would take me decades to acquire. Some dry stone walls in the UK have stood for hundreds of years. Talk about a legacy.
If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? A great musician, with both talent and skill on an instrument—the guitar or piano would be nice—and excellence as a songwriter.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Selling over 100,000 books in my first year as a self-published novelist.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Dishonesty. You can’t do anything with someone you can’t trust.
What is your greatest extravagance? It used to be wine collecting (I’ve tapered off, but still have over 150 cases of great French wine in the cellar in my weekend house) and high-end audio equipment, of which I’ve got an embarrassingly large and expensive amount in both homes (part of why they’re so heavily alarmed). But now it’s more restrained, say, a great bottle of wine over a terrific meal in our dining room that Zac, my future stepson and an accomplished professional chef, cooked at home.
What is one thing you want to do before you die? Learn to speak French. I’d like to take a crash three-week course and then spend six months in France—Paris and Provence—to become truly conversant in the language.
What is your present state of mind? I wake up every morning and something good happens, all since I uploaded my first novel onto Kindle Direct Publishing’s platform in January of 2011. I’ve had the thrill of having three books in the Kindle Top 100 at the same time, getting offers of representation from first-rate agents, publishing offers from senior editors of top publishers, articles about me in Bloomberg and the New York Times, a spot on Bloomberg TV, and an attractive deal from Amazon Publishing’s Thomas & Mercer imprint. That, and the satisfaction of knowing I’m writing the best stuff I’m capable of and working hard to stay true to my readers. This has been the greatest ride of my life, on top of a pretty wild ride as an investment banker for over 25 years. Life is good. And I’m grateful, but also looking forward to having it continue.
What are some of your favorite curse words? Douchebag is my favorite. It’s a New Jersey thing. I grew up here and it’s our most piercing insult. You can’t be anything worse than a douchebag. Not even a blivot, which in New Jersey is ten pounds of shit in a five-pound bag. And douchebag is one word, not two, despite what spellchecker insists upon. A douche bag is something that some women use. A douchbag is, well, a douchebag. And you can use it in polite company, at least in New Jersey, because we all know what it means. Fuck is pretty good, too. I think it’s the only word in English that can be used as every part of speech except an article.
What is your motto? “You can’t get hit by a truck if you aren’t playing in traffic.” Barry Friedberg, one of my first bosses on Wall Street, actually said it, but I stole it, which writers are allowed to do, and if we aren’t I don’t really care, because I did it anyhow. It’s less succinct than Nike’s old slogan, “Just do it,” but I think it captures the essence of the matter much more effectively. I had no clue what I was doing when I got my first job on Wall Street. And no idea what the epublishing world was about when I uploaded Trojan Horse on January 17, 2011. So what. Throw yourself in over your head and claw your way to the surface, even if you only know how to doggie-paddle. Otherwise you’ll just sit there, watching the traffic, and your life, speed by.
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David, love your motto and glad you stole it to share with us. Congratulations on your success and all the best with Vaccine Nation!
Readers, feel free to leave a comment for David or Styles. I’m sure both are equally friendly.
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