KSM: Congratulations on writing your first novel, Blood Herring! The title is intriguing – tell us more.
DCE: Thank you. [Writing] it was quite a challenge, but one I thoroughly enjoyed. Blood Herring is a modern day variation of Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days. The book opens in the Grille Room of Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York (below), with a wager on a circumnavigation of the earth in twenty five days.
KSM: So is this an adventure story? It sounds like it has a dark side.
DCE: The major theme of the book is that — despite the chaos in the world in which we live — humanity is still alive and well, and, in fact, goodness is flourishing. But… life isn’t as it appears. A second theme of the book is Wall Street, where I try to provide some insights into the mysterious world of high finance, which isn’t exactly as it appears, either. Under the strong current of serious issues, the book delves deeply into high jinks of various flavors exposing: culture, travel, food & wine, fashion and of course; trains, planes and automobiles.
KSM: Sounds like you have a little something for everyone. What was your inspiration for writing Blood Herring?
DCE: My inspiration came from a July dinner at London’s prestigious Reform Club with Dr. Paul Woolley, an esteemed economist at the London School of Economics. In anticipation of the meeting, I reread Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in Eighty Days, which opens in the Reform Club’s card room. Arriving early, I was drawn to a storefront window, located directly across Pall Mall Street from the Club, which displayed a Burgess Super Yacht model. (I instinctively snapped a photograph.)
After an intellectually stimulating dinner, I found myself nestled in the back of the taxi in London, one of the grandest and most important cities in the world, while en route back to the Caledonian Club in Belgrave Square. I looked at the picture on my iPhone, which I had taken earlier, and noticed that the storefront window was acting as a mirror casting an ethereal reflection of the august Italian Renaissance styled Reform Club in the background. The idea to write a modern day variation of this beguiling story came to me in the heat of the English night.
KSM: The novel takes the reader to thirty sacred sites around the world. Why these? Do you have any personal connection with any of them?
DCE: Blood Herring visits fifteen countries; USA, Mexico, Cuba, Peru, Brazil, Italy, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran, India, Nepal, China, North Korea and Japan. The list [of sacred sites visited] comprises the majority of the most scared spiritual sites of the major religions, which account for virtually the entire world’s population. All are special for different reasons, but I would say that St Peter’s Basilica holds the most importance to me. I have been fortunate to visit the venue on many occasions and think it is the greatest structure in the world, without question. Besides being the home of Christendom, the sheer magnificence of the architecture, which was untested at the time of construction, stands unique — even today.
KSM: Tell us about the two main characters. Amongst the others, whom do you feel the readers will be rooting for?
DCE: I will allow the readers to form their own opinions about the protagonist Christian Roos and the intriguing heroine, Katherine “Kat” Mandu and the other unusual characters. My personal favorite is Basir Kazim, a man who thrives in a desolate and war torn desert, despite seemingly insurmountable odds, a metaphor for the theme of the book. I also have a soft spot in my heart for the Somali fisherman, Mooge Abdikarim.
*Blood Herring is the debut novel of Douglas Eby. Released November 28th, 2014, it is now available online here.