What People Are Saying About
Books By Gary D. McGugan
Books By Gary D. McGugan
Gary D. McGugan
Independently Published (2019)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (8/19)
“Unrelenting Peril” is the final book in the Multima corporate intrigue series by Gary D. McGugan. It’s a ruthless battle for corporate dominance, and with billions at stake it’s a show-stopping dramatic conclusion to a brilliant trilogy.
The executives at Multima Corporation encounter their biggest challenges yet in “Unrelenting Peril,” and the new CEO at the helm, Suzanne Simpson, has her work cut out for her. Suzanne and her leadership team continue to do battle against The Organization, a crime syndicate dedicated to taking over Multima Corporation, no matter the cost. Contending with forces persistent and merciless, Suzanne must bring her “A-Game” to her every waking moment. While planningMultima Corporation’s successional climb to the top of the business world through a joint venture,Suzanne Simpson must outwit and outmaneuver her adversary to block a hostile takeover attempt.
First, the characters – and I can’t emphasize this enough: ALL of the characters in “Unrelenting Peril” are well-developed, multidimensional and intriguing – from the CEO and chairman of the board, to the crime boss, to the administrative staff and housekeeper. Readers easily develop crystalclear mental images of any given character’s physical description, behaviors, attitudes, and innerthoughts, along with a sense of how they will react to any given situation.
THEN McGugan spices things up a bit and has a character do something, well – out of character, as he remolds that character into an exciting new personality, i.e., the good guy becomes a bad guy, or vice versa.
Also, as a woman who enjoys the particular drama and intrigue provided in the environment of the corporate atmosphere, I was pleasantly satisfied to find a number of females in key executive positions at Multima Corporation. Kudo’s to McGugan for adding diversity to his stories andsuccessfully rising to the challenge of creating effective authentic characters of the opposite sex –not an easy thing to achieve. Whether it is in the context of sleeping with someone to obtain information, successfully chairing a board meeting or firing a long-time seasoned executive in order to protect the corporation’s image and reputation - the Multima women are fierce!
As to the story itself – “Unrelenting Peril” is another amazing ride. With a number of conflicts involving different characters and businesses, including the FBI, The Organization, and several international corporations, McGugan does a magnificent job of not only sustaining a high level of realistic drama but also escalating conflict and tension, building at a pace that guarantees the reader will not be able to put his books down once they start reading. He takes reasonable circumstances and adds a bit of the extraordinary to create layers of excitement that enhance the overall entertainment value.
One thing is clear - Gary D. McGugan knows how to write top caliber stories. Some authors write predominately character-driven books, while others drive their stories through enticing plotlines. McGugan does both, and with equal excellence – no small feat, especially in keeping a series exciting and suspenseful with escalating intensity.
I highly recommend “Unrelenting Peril,” along with the entire Multima series. In fact, I suggest readers consume all of the stories sequentially in the order they were written: “Three Weeks Less a Day,” then “The Multima Scheme,” and finish with “Unrelenting Peril.” While it’s definitely not necessary, as each of the stories stand quite capably on their own – do yourself a favor and get the set. I can honestly say this is the best trilogy I have read in quite some time and I am really going to miss the characters of this series – kind of like saying goodbye to old friends.
THE MULTIMA SCHEME
Gary D. McGugan
Tellwell Talent (2018)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (8/19)
“The Multima Scheme” is the second book in Gary D. McGugan’s trilogy of corporate intrigue featuring the high-level executives of Multima Corporation. Picking up right where the first novel, “Three Weeks Less a Day” leaves off, readers are in for another wild ride as the corporate tides shift once again.
Breast cancer isn’t the only challenge facing billionaire CEO of Multima Corporation, John George Mortimer. Multima Corporation is in the throes of chaos. There’s a division president missing, and a board member on the run. Another division president loses a parent through mysterious means and Multima Corporation could be involved.
There’s a new division president with something to prove and yet another just waiting for the chance to retire. As John George battles his way back to personal health he’s also entangled in a fight for the very survival of the company he built from the ground up. Opposition faces him at every turn, and everyone’s involved, from the FBI to The Organization, a world-wide crime syndicate. Does Mortimer have another fight left in him? Does Multima Corporation?
At this point I must commend author Gary D. McGugan on anther novel of pure excellence. I keep an open mind when starting a series because there’s always the chance of the sequel not living up to the original. “The Multima Scheme” delivers on all counts. As in “Three Weeks Less a Day” the writing is brilliant – short chapters and short paragraphs deliver a concise and crisp easy to read story that is well-written, fast-paced and intense. Indeed, McGugan outdoes himself, and does so with his signature eloquence and flair.
Along with some new faces, many familiar personalities return. A few of the characters develop into leading roles, some drift over to the dark side (while a few stay there), and the lines on the corporate org chart are as ever-changing as the relationships.
One thing’s for certain – everyone is feeling the pressure. The storyline in “The Multima Scheme” probes deeper into the complex corporate environment, building on the original plotline and ratcheting up the intensity.
While the level of action, suspense and drama is actually enough to fill several volumes, the story never feels too busy, rushed or complicated. The challenges are bigger, more bizarre and carry greater risks. The story gets pretty dark in some moments as readers are delivered into the baser, corrupt side of human existence through technological destruction, collateral damage and financial ruin, and running the gamut from hot and steamy sexual encounters to cold and unfeeling rape, murder and human trafficking.
Though I highly recommend reading this series in the order intended for maximum enjoyment, it’s not necessary, as “The Multima Scheme” is a strong standalone story. In case you can’t tell, I’m hooked on Gary D. McGugan’s work - the only downside is there is only one story left in the series!
THREE WEEKS LESS A DAY
Gary D. McGugan
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (7/19)
“Three Weeks Less a Day” is the first book in a trilogy of novels by Gary D. McGugan. It’s a fascinating international corporate thriller that will leave readers wondering what really goes on behind boardroom doors.
When John George Mortimer, CEO of Multima Corporation learns he has breast cancer, he knows he must start looking for his successor – but he’s going to do things his way. Mortimer’s board of directors are aware only of his plans to retire, he’s keeping his health concerns under wraps until absolute necessity dictates a need to reveal such information. Under the guise of taking proactive measures on the impending economic downturn, Mortimer charges his senior executives, each a president of one of Multima Corporation’s operating divisions, with a little friendly competition. They are each to develop a game-changer strategy that will ensure Multima Corporation continues to grow and profit in spite of the recession. With a 60-day deadline, the division presidents have their work cut out for them, but John George Mortimer isn’t out of the woods yet and he quickly finds his entire plan unraveling in “Three Weeks Less a Day.”
Gary McGugan skillfully crafts an intricate tale of suspense, thrills, and non-stop drama, and I was thoroughly captivated by, “Three Weeks Less a Day.” The writing is outstanding – McGugan delivers the reader directly into the story as a participant in the lives of these high-powered executives through authentic character development and realistic narrative.
The characters are charming and exciting, and it was so much fun getting inside their heads, learning how they tick, and trying to anticipate their next moves. They are multidimensional with commanding personalities and unrelenting determination, while also exhibiting genuine character flaws that strengthen and enrich the plot. The level of detail with which McGugan portrays his characters reveals his expertise in the business world, and his author voice is distinctive and eloquent.
The nugget that puts this story in the upper echelons for me is John George Mortimer’s battle with breast cancer. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book featuring a male character struggling with what is perceived to be a “female” disease and McGugan brings a wealth of information about the subject, weaving it seamlessly into the story for a unique, engaging plot twist.
“Three Weeks Less a Day” by Gary D. McGugan will appeal to a wide audience. Those interested in suspense and corporate intrigue flavored with the ruthless machinations of organized crime will find it an impressive debut novel that’s hard to put down. It’s clear McGugan has found his niche in the world of corporate thrillers and I look forward to reading, “The Multima Scheme,” the next novel in this innovative, exciting series.
INTERVIEW WITH GARY D. MCGUGAN
AUTHOR OF THREE WEEKS LESS A DAY
Gary D. McGugan
Review and interview by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (7/19)
Gary D. McGugan loves to tell stories and is the author of Three Weeks Less a Day, The Multima Scheme, and Unrelenting Peril. Whether sharing a vision with colleagues in large multinational corporations, helping consulting clients implement expert advice, or writing a corporate thriller, Gary uses artful suspense to entertain and inform. His launch of a new writing career—at an age most people retire—reveals an ongoing zest for new challenges and a life-long pursuit of knowledge. Home may be in Toronto, but his love of travel and broad business knowledge accumulated from extensive experiences around the globe are evident in every chapter Gary writes.
Hi Gary, thank you for joining us today at Reader Views. To start, tell us a bit about your writing journey – when did you start writing and what was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
It’s great to be with you, Sheri. I’ve loved reading as long as I remember and have enjoyed writing for just as long. For me, writing has taken many forms. Like most, it started with assigned essays as a student and then evolved with my 40-year business career. I’ve written magazine articles, letters, speeches, reports, ads, brochures, presentations, proposals, and a blog.
Writing became a full-time career when I retired from corporate life, and 2019 marks 10 years since my first work of non-fiction was published.
What is Three Weeks Less a Day about?
Three Weeks Less a Day tells a fast-paced story about 20 dramatic days in the life of fictional Multima Corporation. Its founder urgently seeks a successor to become the new CEO and we watch how his carefully crafted plan unravels!
What inspired this story?
Millions of people work for large multinational companies, yet few get a glimpse into the workings and machinations at the most senior levels of management. Three Weeks Less a Day provides an entertaining peek into the boardroom. We see how elite executives work and live. But we also learn how easy it may be for criminal and other nefarious forces to infiltrate some of the largest publicly-traded companies in the world.
One of your main characters in the story, John George Mortimer, the CEO of Multima Corporation, is battling breast cancer, which is much less common among men than women. It’s an interesting and unusual development for a male character. What motivated this part of the storyline?
When I needed to create an urgent situation for John George Mortimer to identify a replacement, our daughter and a male colleague were both battling breast cancer. Fortunately, both recovered completely. But I came to realize treatment information and options for women seemed far more developed than those available for men. More than 5,000 North American men are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. So, I wanted to use John George to help make more people aware men should also be checking for lumps and other cancer indications. Early discovery and treatment almost always bring a better outcome.
There are so many layers to your wonderful characters. The division presidents are all so polished and capable, yet they each practice very different management styles. Can you give us a brief description of their influences and styles?
I’m glad you enjoyed the characters! I had fun creating and developing each of them.
Wendal Randall is president of Multima’s Technology business. He’s what a lot of people consider a nerd with a brilliant mind and a passion for all things technical. He “thinks outside the box” continuously and relates much more comfortably to technology than people.
Suzanne Simpson is president of Multima’s Supermarket division and is a well-rounded and skillful executive. Her superlative ‘people skills’ are legendary. They instill unwavering dedication and loyalty among her associates and subordinates.
James Fitzgerald is president of Mutima’s Financial Services group with unapparelled expertise in all matters financial. Many would consider this character a little bland with rigid self-discipline and extraordinary good judgment that wins respect from all.
Which one of your characters did you have the most fun with creating? Is there one you relate to most?
I really enjoy them all. Wendel was the most complex to create because his intelligence offers so much potential, while his multiple character flaws provide unique opportunities.
How does your experience in the corporate world translate into your fictional stories through the characters and/or events?
I understand the culture and environments in the upper echelons of business intimately. For readers, this creates a sense that Three Weeks Less a Day could have some truth to it even though they know I’m writing fiction. However, the plot and characters are entirely the product of what some might call my overactive imagination!
How involved was your research?
I worked in the corporate environment for 40 years and personally visited or lived in all the places where the story takes place. So, we might think about the story as a compilation of a lifetime of learning and research.
Are there certain parts of the story where you took more creative liberties with than others?
I get the FBI involved in the story. I never visited the place where they do their work in the story and have no direct knowledge they even do the work I describe. But there is enough media speculation that my scenario seems plausible to most.
How long did it take you to write Three Weeks Less a Day?
Four years. And that’s not because I’m a slow writer! In fact, I had 2 fundamental objectives. First, I wanted my debut novel to have impeccable quality so readers would want to read the stories that followed. I also wanted to create a book that would be very broadly appealing to adult women and men of all ages. I used 4 editors to bring their different biases and perspectives to my work. My editors were female and male, younger and older. Each provided valuable insight that helped to broaden the appeal of Three Weeks Less a Day for both women and men from 18-80.
Did you set out to write a series when you started writing the first book?
Initially, I didn’t intend to write a trilogy. My intention with Three Weeks Less a Day was to write one entertaining novel with the highest quality possible. As I fine-tuned the ending, I decided to finish the story in a way that laid a foundation for a second book. With The Multima Scheme, I started with the same intention. But early in the process realized I’d need a third book to complete the story of an era in Multima Corporation’s evolution. The great thing about using a multinational company as a back-drop is the life-span. If a business is well-managed, it can continue for generations! Unrelenting Peril is currently the last story I plan for Multima Corporation. However, I can always return with further stories and create a series should I eventually choose that path.
What do you like to read and which authors have inspired your own work as a writer?
I like to read very widely. I probably like as much non-fiction as fiction because I treat reading as part of my continuous learning process. I think every writer can benefit from an inquisitive mind and enduring curiosity. I’ve read many of James Patterson’s earlier works and emulate his style with short chapters, short paragraphs, and quick pace.
Being an author is a full-time job these days. What do you enjoy most about the process?
My favorite part of the process is telling a story. I love putting my thoughts to paper and creating a novel. I equally enjoy meeting my readers and potential readers to share “the story about the story.”
Many writers, it seems, are introverted by nature. Coming from the business world, I wouldn’t imagine that to be an issue with you. How has your corporate background helped with your marketing and promotion efforts?
You’re right. I love to meet new people. Promoting my work is a part of the job I look forward to and take advantage of every opportunity possible. Right now, Canada’s largest bookseller – Chapters / Indigo -- is offering excellent support. I’ll make personal appearances in more than 75 of their locations between April and November 2019. Readers who like to come say hello can find upcoming events on my website with this link: https://www.garydmcguganbooks.com/news--events.html
Where can readers connect with you and learn more about you and your work?
Thank you for asking! I’m very accessible and thanks for this opportunity to chat with you!
Monthly Blog: https://www.garydmcguganbooks.com/rendezvous-blog
The Multima Scheme
Reviewed By Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
Don't worry, you don't have to rush out and pick up a copy of Gary D. McGugan's debut novel, Three Weeks Less A Day before reading his second in the Multima series, The Multima Scheme.
McGugan crafts a pretty good follow-up and avoids falling into the trap of recreating the original plot, although he effectively builds on it. In the second novel, he chooses to develop his characters more fully and he includes more extensive theme progressions. These themes involve human trafficking, the darker corners of organized crime and their penetration into corporate America, the development of technology as a means to cause havoc in our financial system, and the extent to which unsavory characters will stoop to gain power.
Once again, the narrative focuses on Multima corporation and its three business units, Supermarkets, Financial Services, and Solutions, as well as their respective presidents, Suzanne Simpson, James Fitzgerald, and Douglas Whitfield. We also learn the many secrets affecting the lives of each of these well-drawn characters. And there are some unusual surprises! There is also the matter of the CEO, John George Mortimer's cancer, which the prognosis does not look too encouraging.
Readers are briefly brought up to speed on what transpired in the previous novel when we learn more about Howard Knight, who is now in hiding. He was a director of Multima as well as president of Venture Capital Investments (VCI), which is part of organized crime. As he is no longer a director of Multima, VCI is determined to having him replaced by one of their own.
Knight is in the bad books of VCI and is on the run due to his dreadful deal in purchasing the logistics division on behalf of The Organization. The result of the fiasco caused The Organization to lose a considerable amount of money. All of this was the result of being outsmarted by the CEO of Multima, the wily old fox, Mortimer. By the way, Knight was also romantically involved with Fidelia Morales who helps him in his escape.
Another ramification of the disastrous deal was the disappearance of Wendal Randall, who had been the president of logistics and The Organization's choice to replace Mortimer. Under arrest by the FBI and they have managed to extract from him some fascinating information concerning Knight and VCI. They also have arrested a close associate of Randall, Frau Schäffer who turns out to be quite a surprise.
Mortimer appoints Douglas Whitfield at the new division of Multima Solutions. We read some astounding disclosures concerning Whitfield's activities as they relate to Multima. These involve its personnel, VCI, and some very chilling software that the division had developed, which would have profound effects on the banking system.
When Mortimer begins to dig deeper into the operations of VCI and how they are going about penetrating Multimea, he begins to suspect one of its employees, Janet Weissel as being a mole. She works in corporate and investor affairs, and Mortimer believes she is associated in some way to VCI and Howard Knight.
Neatly woven into the narrative is the relationship between Simpson and Mortimer and the shocking revelation that she is his daughter as a result of his week-end of passionate love-making in Québec City with her mother, Louise Marcotte. Simpson discovers that Multima has some connection with her mother and her estate and is adamant that Mortimer reveals all to her.
She also finds out that her mother, before her death, was receiving secret monthly payments to her bank account by a subsidiary of a company she managed. Also, Mortimer had granted to Simpson's mother preferred shares that eventually helped him in blocking Knight from replacing him with Randall. And there is also the matter of the suspicious deaths of Simpson's mother and that of murder of the Notaire, who had been handling Marcotte's estate, as well as that of his wife and son. It seems that the Notaire and his son were sticking their noses into the machinations of VCI -something "The Organization" would not tolerate.
The challenge that McGugan faces in creating this second novel is to stay true to the more significant plot-line of the series. There is also the added problem to create a sequel that would be complete enough that readers could just read the follow up without being lost. It becomes a balancing act, which McGugan has admirably pulled off. He also has appreciated what it was about the first book that captivates his readership, and thus, he more fully develops these themes in The Multima Scheme.
Although, I must admit this second novel is quite busy, perhaps too busy, yet McGugan manages to give his readers something new. You have to realize that authors always take a risk when writing a sequel as very often readers end up disappointed. On the other hand, if you are lucky, they could love the sequel even more. In the case of The Multima Scheme readers will not be disappointed and I am certain will patiently wait to read the third one in the series, Unrelenting Peril. Stay tuned.
Three Weeks Less A Day
Reviewed By Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
Author: Gary D. McGugan
On the back cover of Gary D. McGugan's first novel, Three Weeks Less A Day, there is a description of the author as being someone who loves to tell stories. I would like to further add, he tells his story like a master of suspense as he deftly builds up a story that takes some surprising swerves. This is very much in evidence with this intricate fast-moving yarn that will keep you on the edge-of-your-seat until the very end. And just when you believe you have the plot all figured out, McGugan throws in another red herring that keeps you guessing.
The story is carefully built focusing on a highly successful enterprise, Multima Corporation headed by its crafty founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Board, John George Mortimer. Three divisions comprise the company: Logistics, whose President is Wendal Randall, a brilliant technology expert, Supermarkets, whose President is Suzanne Simpson and who possesses a larger than life personality and outstanding people skills and James Fitzgerald, President of Financial Services, who is a financial wizard.
As the narrative kicks off, the seeds of the plot are planted when we meet Randall who just receives a confidential text message from an influential board member of Multima, Howard Knight, mentioning that Mortimer intends to leave the company at the end of the fiscal year. This would have incalculable implications concerning the possible replacement of Mortimer. Who would be the choice of the Board of Directors and where would Randall fit it?
Knight is a director on the board of Multima and on another company's board, Venture Capital Investments (VIC), a large private equity fund. There is an intriguing history between Randall and Knight. Apparently, Knight came to Randall's rescue when he had owned a small company that experienced financial difficulties. Knight had bailed him out, and it was he who was instrumental in having Randall become the President of one of the Multima's divisions. There is also another disconcerting matter concerning an event that happened at MIT where Randall was pursuing a master's degree in business administration. Randall had found himself in a nasty situation concerning a young woman and once again, Knight rescued him from some dire consequences.
After Randall contacts Knight, it is confirmed that Mortimer will be leaving the company and that some board members are considering Randall as a possible successor. Knight wants to know immediately if Randall would accept becoming CEO? Randall assures him that he would take the position. Knight tells Randall that he will back him; however, it is imperative that his succession to the CEO be handled delicately if they want to win the support of the entire board. Randall believes there doesn't seem to be any strings attached concerning Knight's generous offer, or is there, considering Knight's past help?
We learn a little more about Knight and VIC, which owns fifteen percent of Multima Corporation's preferred shares, the result of its billion-dollar investment at the time Multima acquired Randall's distressed company. McGugan slips into the story mention of an entity called “ the Organization” that is behind VIC and states that they didn't invest its money just to earn adequate returns. We are now trying to figure out what this entity is all about and who are its principals? If Mortimer releases day-to-day management of the company, Knight would then be in a position to apply some fundamental operating policies that would be of benefit to the Organization. Randall has now become an indispensable component of these changes, and thus his succession to Mortimer is pivotal.
The tale now switches to Mortimer, who is informed by his medical doctor that he has breast cancer and must undergo an operation. He is adamant in keeping his disease a secret and not divulge his diagnosis to Multima's board members or executives. He convenes a crucial meeting of the division presidents at the company's headquarters in Fort Myers, Florida. At the meeting, the three senior presidents are given an assignment where they would have to come up with a single game-changing strategy to re-invent their business unit. Each President and their respective teams have sixty days to accomplish the project.
With this skilfully crafted story, McGugan employs his vast knowledge of the ins and outs of the world of multinational corporations and zooms in on the quest for power no matter what means and tools are used. He keeps the story humming with a balancing act that includes three diverse people with some intriguing histories who are thrown into a high stakes grueling competition. Readers have much to chew on as they ponder who will be the winner and will he or she be chosen as Mortimer's successor? What creative strategy will each employ in arriving at the most business effective plan? Will each play by ethical and legal rules, or will they be overtaken by their greed and ambition? How about the secrets lurking in Randall's past and his relationship with the devious Howard Knight? And what about the confidential revelations concerning Simpson and Fitzgerald. How will this all play out?
Three Weeks Less A Day is the first of McGugan's Multima series and I am looking forward to reading the next one in the series.
“Gary D. McGugan’s Three Weeks Less a Day is an international thriller whose protagonist is a breast cancer patient, though his illness is only one of many twists and turns. This fast-paced caper examines greed, power, and high-stakes quests for control....While looking for a successor, [Billionaire John George] Mortimer stumbles upon organized crime and corporate mismanagement....Throughout the novel, he makes more and more unexpected discoveries of deception involving those at the core of his company.
The thriller takes apart stereotypes around men and breast cancer, presenting a relatable character who charges from one situation to the next with grace and aplomb. Events zip by in a flurry of well-timed action, dialogue, and narrative flow.... Three Weeks Less a Day...conveys a surprising celebration of survival. It is a testimony that cancer patients can overcome adversity, whether it’s in the boardroom or at the doctor’s office. As the old adage goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and this book offers great hope that a little willpower and perseverance can help anyone achieve great things.” - Foreword Clarion Reviews
In Conversation Once Again With Gary D. McGugan Who Discusses His Second Novel In The Multima Series, The Multima Scheme
Bookpleasures.com onceagain welcomes as our guest, Gary D. McGugan author of Three Weeks Less A Day, The Multima Scheme and Unrelenting Peril.Gary is here today to discuss the second novel in the Multima series, The Multima Scheme.
Norm: Good day Gary and thanks once again to participate in our interview. Many people have the skills and drive to write a book, but failure to market and sell the book the right way is probably what keep a lot of people from finding success. Can you give us 2-3 strategies that have been effective for you in promoting your books?
Gary: It’s great to be with you again, Norm! Your question highlights the most significant challenge virtually every writer faces, and I still have to discover the silver bullet that hits the mark for optimum success.
Social media has been helpful. Starting with friends and family, I’ve leveraged relationships with Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and Instagram to let followers know about progress with book development, release info, reviews, and personal appearances.
I encourage visits to my WEBSITE at https://www.garydmcguganbooks.com, where I post regular Blog articles and publicize upcoming events. But much of my success results from the outstanding support provided by Canada’s largest bookseller with opportunities to hold author events in individual Indigo/Chapters/Coles outlets where I meet customers personally and introduce my stories.
Norm: With your experience as an author, is it difficult for you to read a novel just for the pleasure of being the reader?
Gary: No, it’s not difficult at all. I enjoy learning and try to learn something from every piece I read. To me, learning is a satisfying form of entertainment and I pick up some new bit of knowledge or gain insight from almost everything I read.
Norm: When you first wrote Three Weeks Less A Day did you ever think that there would be sequels?
Gary: Initially, I didn’t expect there would be a sequel. But as I developed the story, I realized more novels using the same characters would be a natural evolution. By the time I finished Three Weeks Less a Day, I’d already decided a sequel would follow and constructed its ending to lay the foundation for another story.
Norm: What was it like writing the second book in your Multima Series? Was it easier or harder than writing the first one?
Gary: Writing The Multima Scheme brought different challenges. I design each of my books to be great standalone stories. So, I take care that readers who have not read Three Weeks Less a Day can identify with characters quickly, while readers who already read the story wouldn’t find information links to the first book annoying or repetitive. I think I struck that balance well.
Norm: How did you decide you were ready to write the sequel?
Gary: As I was putting the finishing touches on Three Weeks Less a Day, I felt my internal excitement about the next story growing daily. I realized the potential for most of the major characters and started working on The Multima Scheme even before the first book was actually printed!
Norm: What was your editorial approach in writing The Multima Scheme?
Gary: I like to think of my approach to editing as linear. I read the novel several times as I’m writing, starting from the beginning each time to assure flow and consistency. I update my work after each read.
When a story is complete, I do a final read and touch-ups before using an editing software package. Once I complete the manuscript, I have 5 or 6 ‘Beta Readers’ review the story and share their impressions and comments.
These readers help with any story inconsistencies and provide specialized knowledge such as legal or police issues.
Once those changes are incorporated, I ask a professional editor to review, comment, and suggest. I decide which recommendations I’ll accept and re-write any problematic passages. Then, I ask a second editor to review and repeat the process.
For The Multima Scheme, I actually used four professional editors, including the resource provided by Tellwell. Finally, I use a professional proofreader to catch any remaining spelling or grammar problems.
I’m proud of the outcome before I sign-off for the book layout and publishing.
Norm: What do you believe is the key to any successful sequel and how did you write one that would stand alone?
Gary: I think one key to a successful sequel is achieving a delicate balance between creating an exciting new plot while intertwining bits of familiarity from the first. Another is to develop more fully one or more characters from the first story to become major influences in the second.
Norm: What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing The Multima Scheme?
Gary: This may sound a little boring but I don’t recall any dramatic surprises in the writing process for The Multima Scheme.
As I like to say often, rarely a day passes that I don’t learn something new. Because I approach life with genuine curiosity and an expectation that I’ll discover something new every day, I process fresh information with satisfaction and occasionally delight, but rarely feel the sensation of surprise.
Norm: How did you come up with the title, The Multima Scheme?
Gary: Readers told me they loved the title Three Weeks Less a Day, but some lamented the name Multima didn’t appear in the title.
As I set out to name the second story, I was determined to find a way to incorporate Multima Corporation in some way. The plots of The Multima Scheme each involve some degree of conniving and planning. And the word ‘scheme’ implies a little deviousness – something out of the mainstream -- for many people. The Multima Scheme captures the involvement of Multima with a certain ambiguity that invites exploration. I think it fits well with my positioning of the story as a “novel of corporate intrigue.”
Norm: What was the most difficult part about writing The Multima Scheme?
Gary: The most difficult part about writing The Multima Scheme was the same challenge as all writing – managing my time. Amid all the other great things going on my life, it’s always a challenge to enforce the personal discipline to plan, then execute, all the required time to effectively complete the task.
Norm: What has Three Weeks Less A Day taught you that you have been able to apply to The Multima Scheme?
Gary: Your interview doesn’t have nearly enough time for me to list all the things I learned from my first novel! Let me just say this. Three Weeks Less a Day took 4 years to complete. I think The Multima Scheme is an even better story and it took 15 months to prepare.
Norm: The Multima Scheme sees some major turning points for cast of characters. Which character’s journey was your favourite to write in this book?
Gary: Howard Knight is a complex character with many layers. I love writing about him and I think readers enjoy watching him evolve in each of the stories.
Norm: I believe you have self-published your series of books. Are you still happy with your choice to pursue the indie publishing path?
Gary: I worked with publishers Friessen Press for Three Weeks Less a Day and Tellwell Talent for The Multima Scheme. Both specialize in helping new authors publish their work. I found both very capable and helpful.
I learned much about publishing from them and value the experience. But for the third book in the trilogy, Unrelenting Peril, I elected to self-publish and am delighted with the results.
The quality of my books is high. Booksellers around the globe can order all my novels from their conventional providers. And readers can buy in either paper or digital format wherever they usually buy their books. If a store or site doesn’t have a copy in stock, they can order it in.
Norm: Have you heard from your readers concerning The Multima Series? What kind of things do they say?
Gary: I hear from readers regularly-- by email, comments to my website, or when I meet readers during personal appearances. A few have told me The Multima Scheme is the first book they have ever read in a single sitting. Most tell me they had trouble putting the book down once they started. And readers I meet in Chapters or Indigo stores usually ask me when a third one will be ready. Since February 28, I’m able to tell them Unrelenting Peril is available now!
Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavorsNorm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors
Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest Gary D. McGugan author of Three Weeks Less A Day, The Multima Scheme and Unrelenting Peril.
Norm: Good day Gary and thanks for participating in our interview. Please tell our readers a little bit about your personal and professional background.
Gary: Hello, Norm. Thanks for your interest! On a personal note, I’m a husband, father, and grandfather with a wonderful extended family, living in a small community a short drive north of Toronto I worked with large multinational corporations around the globe for 40 years in positions of senior leadership and as a consultant.
I’ve done business with companies in 35 different countries and have traveled extensively for business and personal enjoyment. Since retiring from corporate life, I co-authored one work of nonfiction titled NEEDS Selling Solutions before writing three suspense novels, with another book to be released in 2020. And I still travel, but now it’s entirely for pleasure!
Norm: Was writing always a career move for you or did it grow into one?
Gary: Writing has always been an interest. Starting out as the kid in high school who actually enjoyed writing essays, my roles in business always involved using words to get results. Naturally, during my years as a business executive, time was an obstacle that limited extensive writing. But I honed skills writing magazine articles for business and special interest magazines while taking pride to make every letter, presentation or proposal well-written and compelling.
Norm: Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
Gary: I consider myself a full-time author. That doesn’t mean I work on a story every day, although I spend most days researching or writing my next book. As an emerging author, I recognize any commercial success I achieve is my responsibility, so I also spend two or three days per week promoting my work with personal appearances, social media, and interviews.
Norm: In fiction as well as in non-fiction, writers very often take liberties with their material to tell a good story or make a point. But how much is too much?
Gary: Great question! I think what is too much is subjective. Readers, reviewers, and critics each will have the final say about the stories they read. For works of fiction, I use a simple test. I ask the question, “Is this plausible?” If it fails that test, it’s probably too much. But, what’s plausible is also a moving target as our society evolves!
Norm: What has been the best part about being published?
Gary: The best part about having three suspense novels in circulation is an opportunity to meet and interact with new friends. Having my work exposed to readers around the world generates dialogue in person, through social media and by communication. I meet many interesting people, and it’s satisfying to get feedback from readers about their reaction to stories or answer their questions about what will happen next!
Norm: Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Please summarize your writing process.
Gary: My primary objective is to tell an entertaining story. I use a corporate backdrop because it’s an environment I know most intimately. I develop a plot and sub-plots over several weeks and know where I want to take a story before I actually start writing. When it’s time to start processing words, I follow a disciplined regime. I write each morning, and most afternoons walk outdoors.
When I walk (for about 2 hours each session), I think about the specific chapter planned for the following day, think back about specific details, look for inconsistencies, and resolve issues. That’s when I also consider unexpected twists and turns to make the story more exciting or build suspense.
Norm: What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?
Gary: Feedback from editors, proofreaders, and beta readers is always valuable to hone the skill. I welcome it! Nothing comes to mind that was not useful or destructive.
Norm: Why did you decide to write a trilogy about a fictitious company, Multima Corporation?
Gary: Originally, I didn’t intend to write a trilogy. My intention with Three Weeks Less a Day was to write one entertaining novel with the highest quality possible. As I fine-tuned the ending, I decided to finish the story in a way that laid a foundation for a second book.
With The Multima Scheme, I started with the same intention, but early in the process realized I’d need a third book to complete the story of an era in Multima Corporation’s evolution.
The great thing about using a multinational company as a back-drop is the life-span. If a business is well-managed, it can continue for generations! WhileUnrelenting Peril is the last story I plan for Multima Corporation, in the future I can return with further books and create a series should I eventually choose that path.
Norm: How much research went into writing your debut novel in the series, Three Weeks Less A Day?
Gary: A lifetime of research went into the book. I might be considered a “poster child” for continuous, life-long experiential learning. I started my career working in a large supermarket chain and learned much about how they work. I made multiple trips to Japan as an executive of the company’s Canadian subsidiary.
During my stint living in Europe to create a new business for a German bank, I learned extensively about western European countries. And, commuting to Asia to develop a new venture for one of America’s largest financial companies, I acquired first-hand knowledge about cultures, countries, and industries that underpin characters and plots in Three Weeks Less a Day.
Norm: What was the time-line between the time you decided to write your book and publication? What were the major events along the way?
Gary: Three Weeks Less a Day was a 4-year process. Writing the book took a few months. Most of the time was devoted to editing because I established two fundamental objectives beyond writing an entertaining story.
First, I wanted the quality of my first novel to be the highest possible. I also wanted it to be broadly appealing. Recognizing we all have biases and different perspectives – including editors – I engaged 4 different professional editors including the publisher’s resource. By design, I chose editors of both genders and different ages. As expected, each provided insights and tips that helped me tweak my story and broaden its appeal. I’m proud of the result.
Norm: How did you go about creating the various characters in the novel and which one was the most difficult to create?
Gary: The most challenging character to create was Howard Knight. I have no first-hand experience with organized crime, so I had to research different criminal elements to better understand some of the circumstances and motivations that lead people to a life of crime. I think readers will enjoy how their view of this character changes over the three stories of the trilogy.
Norm: Did you write the story to express something you believe or was it just for entertainment?
Gary: The overriding objective with all my novels is to entertain. I hope readers will enjoy reading these stories as much as watching a movie or some other form of entertainment. But I also hope to share insights into the most senior levels of company management few readers get to see. I also hope to share values and impart concerns through the dialogue and actions of the characters.
Norm: What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish Three Weeks Less A Day?
Gary: “Everlasting” is a long time! I don’t take myself or my work too seriously. I don’t expect to shape readers’ views of life. However, I believe organized crime is a curse our society treats too lightly.
From the terrible social consequences of human trafficking to subtle ways billions of dollars evaporate from our legitimate economy for the illegal benefit of an unscrupulous few, organized crime touches us in many different ways. I hope readers become more vigilant and concerned as I show how easy it is for criminal elements to infiltrate and control even the largest of publicly-traded corporations.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your novels?
Gary: MY WEBSITE
Norm: What is next for Gary D. McGugan?
Gary: Book promotion is a primary focus for 2019. Commercial success is integral to long-term writing, and I intend to make my writing successful. Canada’s largest bookseller is very supportive, so I’ll make personal appearances to promote my novels in 75 Indigo/Chapters/Coles locations in Ontario and Montreal this year.
Upcoming dates and locations are on my website at the “Events” tab. Personal appearances take time from writing, but novel #4 is already underway and it will take a different form and style. Even though the new story won’t continue to tell stories about Multima Corporation, a few of the characters readers have come to know will reappear. I’m confident readers will like the story when it’s published in late 2020!
Norm: As this interview comes to an end, what question do you wish that someone would ask about Three Weeks Less A Day, but nobody has?
Gary: I’m curious no one has wondered why Multima’s board of directors wasn’t more diligent about having a succession plan in place. I love to have an opportunity to rant about how lax many boards of directors really are!
Norm: Thanks again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.