One month after his college graduation, Dean Eaton is writing speeches for presumptive presidential candidate, U.S. Senator Peter Dottier. Two months later, he is being pursued by a psychopath.
Dean Eaton is determined to make his own way after college. He wants to break away from the life paved for him by his parents. His first step is a week or so camping to clear his head and rejuvenate his spirit. What begins well ends with him witnessing the assassination of an undercover FBI agent. This brings Eaton into the orbit of Special Agent Steven Blanchard who convinces Dean to join him to bring down the deadly arms dealer who had the agent murdered. This partnership calls for Eaton to be placed on the staff of Senator Peter Dottier in order to track down a contact of the murdered FBI agent who, according to Blanchard, is a member of the senator’s staff.
As he struggles to learn and fit in to the confusing and often devious world of politics and public policy, Dean finds a mentor in his landlord, Ambassador Belmont Towbin, a respected eminence grise in Washington.
Throughout his learning process, Dean is also dealing with the dangers of his role identifying the contact. It soon becomes obvious that all is not as Blanchard has represented. Not even close. As Dean’s suspicions grow, Reisa Winston, Blanchard’s partner, reveals that he is the contact, and things go south from there.
No Immaculate Conceptions is a novel of politics and a study of the deadly ambitions of significant players in Washington who often use their power and positions for personal ends.
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Meet author John David Bethel a writer of fiction and non-fiction. He has been published in popular consumer magazines and respected political journals. He is the author of Evil Town, a novel of political intrigue, and Blood Moon, a psychological crime thriller inspired by a true story of kidnapping, torture, extortion and murder.
Did you outline this book or was it more intuitive?
I don’t work from an outline. I begin with a kernel of an idea and build on that foundation. In the case of No Immaculate Conceptions that kernel was the main character’s camping trip during which he discovers a wounded, and soon to be dead, federal agent. From there it’s off to Washington, where – one month after his college graduation – Dean Eaton is writing speeches for presumptive presidential candidate, U.S. Senator Peter Dottier. Two months later, he is being pursued by a psychopath.
*Is your writing approach to every book the same?
Yes, and in the case of No Immaculate Conceptions, I set Dean down in Washington with Senator Dottier in order to track down a contact of the murdered FBI agent who, according to Dean’s FBI handler, is a member of the senator’s staff.
*Where did the kernel of the idea for No Immaculate Conceptions begin?
From a daydream. I was wondering how I would react in a situation where outside forces put my life in danger and I hadn’t a clue what they wanted. That evolved into the initial plot-line for the novel whereby Dean is wandering around a lovely, pristine environment and realizes he is being followed, and then shot at. This brings him into the orbit of FBI Special Agent Steven Blanchard who convinces Dean to join him to bring down the deadly arms dealer who had the agent murdered.
*Who is Dean Eaton and what motivates him?
Eaton is a child of privilege who has had all the advantages of life and wants to find his own way. This has created in him not only a drive toward independence, but also the willingness to take chances, go out on a limb to gain new experiences. In the novel, he goes so far out on that limb there is a high likelihood it will break off.
*How do you create characters for your books?
There are authors who create back stories for their characters to understand how they will react as the plot advances. My technique is to place the characters in the action and let that dictate the development of their personalities. It fits with the intuitive way I develop my novels.
*Name some struggles you had writing this book.
Fortunately, I’ve not had struggles with writing any of my novels. It sounds overly simplistic but I begin at the beginning and stop at the end. The editing process often takes a good bit longer than does writing the original draft.
*No Immaculate Conceptions is lengthy book. Had you been writing this for a while, or did it just flow naturally?
Once the kernel of the plot line was on paper (on the screen), things advanced naturally and fairly swiftly.
There is the advice given to all writers to “write what you know.” I know politics and I write about it. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I find the going easy when I put it all down. I mine my experiences in Washington as a speechwriter and communications strategist – adding drama – and it all seems to work out.
*Describe your mindset when you begin to write.
My wife tells me I go into a zone and it takes some prodding to get back into the present. A “fugue state” perhaps describes it best.
*What kind of advice would you give to new writers?
Write because you enjoy the creative process, and believe in yourself.
I’m often asked why I write and my answer is because I have to. The urge to create has to be satisfied…as presumptuous as that sounds.
Mr. Bethel spent 35 years in politics and government. He served in the Senior Executive Service as a political appointee where he was Senior Adviser/Director of Speechwriting for the Secretary of Commerce; directed speechwriting offices for other Cabinet officials, serving as Chief Speechwriter to the Secretary of Education; and lead speechwriter in the Department of Transportation’s Office of Policy and International Affairs. He also served as press secretary/speechwriter to members of U.S. Congress.
Mr. Bethel works as a media consultant for a number of prominent communications management firms. He writes speeches, opinion editorials and Congressional testimony for CEOs of the nation’s largest corporations, including the Hilton Hotels Corporation, and Royal Caribbean Lines. His op-ed pieces have appeared in The Washington Post and other prominent newspapers around the country.
David Bethel graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors from Tulane University and lives in Miami, Florida.
David Bethel is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. He is the author of Evil Town and Blood Moon. www.johndavidbethel.com