ON WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION ABOUT
INTERNATIONAL FINANCE WITH A FEMALE SPY
By Lorraine Evanoff
April 30, 2022 (Approx. 700 Words)
As many writers in the Authors’ Lounge would attest, writing is personal. Finishing an 85,000-100,000-word novel requires dedication, sweat, and tears. Putting it out in the universe requires growing a thick skin. Authors, like artists in other mediums, face harsh scrutiny, and therefore we strive for the highest standards in our work. Timing is also crucial.
With a 30-year background in finance, my goal writing novels has been to make real-life financial scandals entertaining. That is one reason I made my series character, Louise Moscow, a sexy female sleuth. But I have also been aided by the fact that international finance, while complicated, is fascinating. Despite my esoteric niche within the thriller genre, my books maintain an average 4-to-4.5-star rating, so I consider my mission accomplished.
That said, readers are tough and very vocal. Thanks to a recent BookBub featured deal, my latest novel, Devil’s Ledger, remained at #1 in Amazon Kindle books for almost a week reaching a much wider audience. That was wonderful. But the greater exposure brought a broader variety of readers and more scrutiny.
My marketing specifically targets readers of the historical fiction financial thriller genre. Most of my reviewers liken my Louise Moscow Novels to Erik Larson and love the factual aspect of my stories. However, some readers find things like facts and history a distraction. Fair enough. But the recent wider readership of Devil’s Ledger brought a new complaint: “No politics!”
Apparently, as I have now learned, it’s certain subjects that can be objectionable to readers. For example, Devil’s Ledger revolves around the real-life oldest bank in the world, Banca Monte dei Paschi in Sienna, Italy. After over 500 illustrious years, the bank was devasted by incompetent management taking on crippling debt from corrupt Deutsche Bank executives.
It was an explosive subject for me to take on. So, even though he was a prominent figure in the historical background of Devil’s Ledger, I purposely kept mention of Donald Trump to a minimum, including just one short passage based in undisputed fact. Nonetheless, it offended a few readers. Compare that to Louise Moscow Book 1, Foliage, in which I briefly mention then-Senator Joe Biden in a factual but not entirely flattering light. Yet not one reader objected to it.
This brings me to the incredible timing of my Louise Moscow novels. Book 1, Foliage, took me four years to write, based on a real-life experience I had. While living in Paris, I had witnessed the downfall of Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) after it was revealed to be an international Ponzi scheme, losing about $35 billion in today’s currency overnight.
The story takes the reader through the world of offshore banking and the “black economy,” based in part on real people and events. At the time of the book release in October 2015, I was nervous about shining a light on this dark moment in history. But just a few months later, the Panama Papers made headlines and the whole subject became mainstream news.
Similarly, after the release of Louise Moscow Book 2, Pinot Noir, in October 2019, which takes the reader through the world of international human trafficking, with real serial killers, corporate executives, and politicians, just a few months later, the whole Jeffrey Epstein scandal exploded.
Finally, after releasing Louise Moscow Book 3, Devil’s Ledger, in October 2021, about shady Deutsche Bank dealings, international money laundering, and Russian oligarchs, just a few months later, Russian president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.
As an author with a background in finance, I guess I just needed to get those first three novels out of my system. They are important stories that should be told. The timing of all my books was completely coincidental. But it does make me feel like I’m in tune with the zeitgeist somehow.
Currently in my writing, I’m moving away from the esoteric world of international finance. For Louise Moscow Book 4, although it will include a few factual events and names, it is a fast-paced murder mystery in the glamourous city of Paris. It will be interesting to see where the timing of this book ends up.
ABOUT LORRAINE EVANOFF:
Award-winning author Lorraine Evanoff’s highly addictive, suspenseful thrillers are perfect for fans of Erik Larson, Jack Slater, and Dan Brown.
Former Hollywood finance exec Lorraine Evanoff uses classic mystery storytelling to spin complex tales of international finance with a sexy female heroine. Lorraine’s best-selling Louise Moscow Novels, FOLIAGE, PINOT NOIR, and the newly released DEVIL’S LEDGER, are high concept noir thrillers inspired by real-life banking scandals.
Originally from Chicago, Lorraine received a degree in French from DePaul then studied and worked for seven years in Paris and is currently living in Los Angeles with her husband. Lorraine held CFO positions in high tech companies during the dot-com era, and more recently in the film industry, notably as CFO of National Lampoon. She has multiple IMDB credits and now has a screenplay in development. Lorraine is also a political analyst for Palmer Report.