Thursday, August 18, 2011

Where my ideas come from: Outsourced

I'm writing these blog posts in the order in which I wrote my books, so while Outsourced was my 8th book to be published, it was the 3rd book I wrote.

The idea for Outsourced came from several places. I need to put this in some context. I wrote Outsourced in 2004, and at that time I was very disappointed that Small Crimes was having no luck finding a publisher. Second, I'd been a software engineer for about 20 years and the industry's push to outsourcing was something that I was keenly aware of and interested in. Third my short Nigerian email scam story, More Than a Scam, was really my first success in the great reader response it was getting and making honorable mention in Otto Penzler's Best American Mystery Stories anthology, and so I thought I hit on the secret to writing something that will grab people's attention and sell more easily--be the first out there with a very topical theme. So I decided for my 4th book to write a bank heist novel with my bank robbers being software engineers who'd been made obsolete (and desperate) due to their industry's push to outsource their jobs.

The results of my using outsourcing as an underlying theme for the book ended up being mixed. On the plus side, it immediately attracted the attention of Hollywood, and eventually led to a film deal, and it's now looking very likely this will be going into production soon, but editors at different publishing houses who tried to acquire the book were being shot down by their editorial boards because of the fear that outsourcing wouldn't be an issue by the time the book would be published in 2006. It wasn't until I stripped out most of the outsourcing theme and made the book more of a pure bank heist novel that I was able to sell it to Serpent's Tail. This also turned out to be my most widely translated book, with it currently having been translated to German, Dutch and Lithuanian, with French and Thai coming.

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