This Crazy Election Year

Not in my lifetime has there been a presidential election campaign in which BOTH major-party candidates are so despised by the electorate. In 1964, voters despised/feared one — Barry Goldwater — as well as third party candidate George Wallace. Goldwater was an ultra conservative and Wallace was a segregationist. Both lost to Lyndon Johnson in a landslide.

In my novel AN ACT OF FRUSTRATION, I chose to stay away from the presidential election. Mind you, I began writing the story in 2014, before the major-party candidates were known. But I wanted the novel to be about the congressional elections because I, like my main character Charlie Simpson, believe that by and large Congress runs our country. Nothing gets done as far as legislation is concerned without Congress’ approval. Since Congress has failed to enact much legislation for a decade or so, I thought “What if one common citizen were to start a non-partisan movement, could it sweep the country and result in something that resulted in a massive change in Congress?” AN ACT OF FRUSTRATION — an easy two-night read since it is approximately 100 pages — is the fictional story of that common citizen.

Thank You to everyone who has read the book. Those of you who have reacted have encouraged me to begin developing my third novel.

Comments From Readers

I’m quite pleased with the unsolicited reactions I’ve received from persons who’ve read AN ACT OF FRUSTRATION.  As an author, my pleasure is derived from comments about character development and identification with the characters.  Here are some examples:

“I have finished your book. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed it. To me it had (a) little of everything, romance, mystery and the belief that one person could make a difference. It is a book that will cause one to think. I loved the book. Keep writing.

“Great job..enjoyed every page..great message dissolved in strong characters and served up with excitement and intrigue. I hope you are working on your next..put me on the list of potential readers.”

“What a great story and read. Found myself not wanting to put it down. A tribute to your writing style. One could only hope that your book takes on a national read much like the story line does with your book. A complete overhaul would be welcomed! I look forward to your next one.”

“I was hooked from the first page and I think people can relate to the story and can certainly see something like this happening.”

“It had it all and kept me in it the whole time. The timeliness of the story and the present shape of our broken government really brought it home. It is truly the work of an experienced reporter, researcher, and true story teller.”

“It is very thought provoking. What a story! Certainly a major theme is how we common folk, when united, can make a huge difference in our society.  Charlie Simpson is a believable character.”

“You are a genius! Your plot is much more plausible than the one with Trump, Hillary, et al.”

“It’s excellent! And so very believable.”

“Perhaps we should forward about a thousand copies to the District of Columbia.”

“Just finished reading your book. 5 stars. Great ready and very much needed right now. All citizens should have a copy.”

“I just wish the concept of your book would actually take hold in our country. We live in a wonderful country but our leadership does not reflect it. It is sad and scary at the same time. Here’s hoping your book goes viral!”

As I stated previously, I did not write the novel with the intent of CAUSING something to happen, but many readers certainly related to the story and wish something similar could happen in the 2016 elections.

Thank you to everyone who reads the book and reacts to me.

 

 

Thanks Michael Koryta for the Review

I’m indebted to New York Times-bestselling author Michael Koryta for his review of An Act of Frustration but for even more.

When I was finishing my manuscript for submission to a publisher, Michael recommended an editor and I hired her. He had important advice for publishing the work and obviously enjoyed the story so much he wrote the following: “AN ACT OF FRUSTRATION is a satisfying and thought-provoking story that brings a unique and human perspective to the current political climate, a ‘what-if’ scenario with ripple effects. Ken Beckley is an admirable and ambitious writer.”  Wow, this from a man not yet half my age and an acclaimed author of a dozen suspense novels, includingLAST WORDS, THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD, and SO COLD THE RIVER. His next novel, RISE THE DARK, will be published in August 2016. My claim to fame, so to speak, is only two novels. I hope numbers three and four will find their way out of my brain not too far in the future.

As I wrote in a previous blog, I’ve always been impressed with people who will help others.  The only connection Michael and I had prior to meeting for an exchange of thoughts was the fact we are alumni of Indiana University. A friend of his suggested I contact him, which I did with trepidation. He could not have been kinder nor more helpful. I was, and am, impressed. We’ve had several email communications since that meeting in 2015 and even cheered at the Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium for our IU Hoosiers at the end of the year. One other thing we have in common is a love of the mountains in Wyoming and Montana. His experiences there have shown up in his writings.

If you haven’t read one of his novels, get one.  He has an amazing mind that allows him to develop suspense in everything he writes.

 

Dedicated to Anne Kraege

I’ve dedicated An Act of Frustration to the memory of Anne B. Kraege. Anne was one of the most effervescent persons I’ve known – a witty, sparkling, light-up-the-room type of person who everyone enjoyed immensely. She died in 2014 at the much too young age of 66. Anne’s life was devoted to serving others and she was a dear friend to me and many, many others. To place the needs of others ahead of oneself is something I admire in all persons who do it.

When I wrote Knuckleball, Anne was among the first to read it and react to me. Her unsolicited email – which I still have – said, in part, “I have just closed the book on one great life lived! So surprised at the ending – but it was beautiful.” “…the book is so YOU – outlook, values, beliefs, honesty, morals…” ”…It was a wonderful walk down a thoroughly researched memory lane with solid life-following principles woven in the pages! Your attention to detail is impressive – great job!”

To touch Anne and others with a fictional story that brought out emotion is one of the greatest rewards a writer can have. Knuckleball did that for many readers. Two stated they were changing their lives because of what they’d read. I think one of their comments is still on the Knuckleball site on amazon.com.  But Anne’s early words following publication led me to believe I could or should write another story and about another small-town resident. I’ve done that with An Act of Frustration. I hope you enjoy it.

Could it happen?

Could one person really start a movement that swept the nation with such force – and in only six months – that the November 2016 congressional elections were impacted in such an astonishing way? The story of Charlie Simpson is pretty amazing. He’s an Indiana resident – a Hoosier. Charlie is a common guy, just like millions everywhere. He’s down-to-earth, unpretentious, a good ole guy – as good a description of a Hoosier as I can develop. He just wants to make a living with his hardware store, not suffer because, in his mind, Congress was not acting on major issues that impacted his business. So, Charlie developed a plan. Unbeknownst to him, it went viral, swept the nation, and was fueled by murder. The results were staggering but Charlie suffered along the way.

 

Why I wrote An Act of Frustration

ken beckleyJust like the main character in my book, I am not a political person. I don’t care if a person is a Democrat or a Republican – or perhaps an Independent, I vote for who I think will serve me/us best. For at least a decade, voters in our nation have been frustrated by those who represent us in Congress but virtually the same persons have been reelected over and over. Leadership has seldom changed. I thought, What if one person decided to do something in his little area of the U.S. and it caught fire? What if?

I’ve never forgotten President John F. Kennedy’s words in 1963, “One person can make a difference and everyone should try.” So, I created small-town hardware store owner Charlie Simpson who became so frustrated with the inactions of Congress that he did something. And he had the audacity to question the value of the major political parties, party platforms, and straight-party voting. But those were side issues in the story.

The real story is that one person did make a difference.