Thursday, June 9, 2011

Author Interview: Nick Lombardi, Mandate 33

Rebecca: What was your inspiration for this particular book?
Nick: I stumbled upon a university course called “Studies in Propaganda” after the course’s professor called in to a radio show I was producing at the time. And for the subsequent 10 weeks, the things I learned completely changed my view on the world forever, to the point where I can no longer take anything at face value and question everything. I feel I’m wiser for it, but sometimes it’s a difficult way to live. Take my word for it: ignorance really is bliss.
Among the many things covered in this course were the innerworkings of the banking system, the Federal Reserve, white-collar political crime and population control. This wasn’t tinfoil hat stuff; this was the real deal. I decided it was my responsibility to try and share some of these teachings with others without being too preachy about it, so I incorporated a lot of the ideas into Mandate 33. The whole concept of population control is merely one of many that I wanted to spread the word about. Granted it became the central theme of the book, but I touched on a lot of issues, if even for a sentence or two. I wanted my readers to have the same enriching experience I had when I took that course. I want an audience that questions everything; the “sheeple” species (sheep people) needs desperately to die out.
Rebecca: By “sheeple” are you are referring to people in real life who just live their life by being blindly lead by others?
Nick: Yes, that about sums it up. I don't remember who originally coined that term, but it wasn`t me...I just like it.
Rebecca: Are there any characters in your book that you have envisioned as a famous character or actor’s personality when you were writing them?
Nick: For the Salinda Harding character, I very much envisioned the actress Linda Hunt. I’m sure Miss Hunt does not possess the same personality traits as my character, but if Mandate 33 were ever a movie, there is no one else I could ever picture to play the role. She’s so spunky and feisty, but I bet she could also be a little devilish too.
Rebecca: So this is a petite character as depicted in the book, or just in your mind?
Nick: Both. Never trust the short people, for they are always unassuming and often have something to prove (see Napoleon).
Rebecca: A reader walks down the aisle of an imaginary book store and is about to pass up on reading the blurb on the book. What is the one thing that sets your book apart from the other hundreds of books on that aisle? 
Nick: I don’t know. That’s kind of subjective. Different things appeal to different people, so I couldn’t tell you what might catch one person’s eye over another. But this whole idea of a book “standing out” is the main reason I believe a book’s first sentence is the most important one. I am a big proponent of trying to create a very powerful first sentence. If the reader isn’t interested in getting past that part, then the rest of the book’s contents doesn’t matter.
Rebecca: What is the first sentence of your book?
Nick: The screams were loudest at night, when the soldiers came out.
Rebecca: That’s a bit creepy, but it gets my attention so it does its job. What efforts have you made to guarantee the quality of your book on the same level a reader might expect of a traditionally published book?
Nick: I tend to trim all the fat, leave adjectives to a minimum and keep sentences short. I come from the school of Hemingway as opposed to the school of pre-Victorian literature. I like to keep the pace in my stories moving. Also, I am an editor/proofreader by trade, so I’d like to think manuscript errors are kept to a minimum.
Rebecca: Did you have beta readers as well?
Nick: My literary agent did line edits to the manuscript to further give it that overall professional polish.
Rebecca: Who is your literary agent?
Nick: His name is Peter Taylor and he's based out of Toronto.
[Side note: Peter Taylor is an Independent Literary Agent]
Rebecca: You’re walking by a book club meeting that cannot agree on their next book. They decide to stop a random stranger (you) and ask for a book recommendation. Describe your book for us as if you are not the author.
Nick: I read a book called Mandate 33 and it truly frightened me. It frightened me because none of the ideas in it were over-the-top. For instance, there wasn’t anything like telescreens where Big Brother can watch you in your home. While Orwell was being symbolic, in a literal sense that just isn’t possible; in Mandate 33, everything is possible. Nothing was exaggerated for futuristic sci-fi effect.
Rebecca: (Pretend I’m a person in the book club) You’ve never thought of the government putting those miniature cameras in your home while you’re at work to spy on you? Or linking in and activating a reverse signal in the box from the cable company-who knows what’s in those things! 
Nick: Ha, ha, well I'm sure Orwell didn't think of any of that, as the idea of such technology was likely absurd in 1948. And even if those things were possible today, I would omit those ideas from my book because they would give the book a farcical sci-fi effect and read like a Ray Bradbury story, and fewer readers would take the book seriously.
Rebecca: Are there any hidden life lessons or underlying themes you hope the reader picks up while enjoying your work?
Nick: The central theme of the book is population control, but what many people don’t realize is that the practice of “population control” goes far deeper than the obvious clichés of wars, holocausts and the Big Bad Fascist Government (an obligatory staple in all dystopian literature). Population control is practiced on us every single day without our knowing. Debt is population control. The perpetuation of junk food is population control. Products laced with carcinogens are forms of population control too. By far debt is the biggest killer. Debt is the one thing that keeps the masses in line and forces us to do things we may not believe in, like go off to war and fight, or take on a job we know is doing harm to ourselves and/or the planet. Debt keeps us steeped in dead-end jobs to make ends meet, which disables us from having the time or energy to educate ourselves in what’s going on in the world. 
The aforementioned are the ruses of the rich. The more people are conscious of these ruses, the more difficult it will be for the elite to implement them. That is the lesson I’d like people to learn.
Rebecca: So you want people to learn to become more aware of what they allow to have control over the potential of their lives?
Nick: Awareness is just about the only weapon we have. Otherwise we'd probably already be living in a dystopia.
Rebecca: Do you have a website/book trailer for your book?
Nick: No.
Rebecca: What made you decide to not create a website or trailer for your book as a marketing aide?
Nick: How would those things be marketing aides? If people are visiting this hypothetical website, that means there is already an awareness about the book. Awareness is all I really need, and my Amazon account profile offers a synopsis, bio and anything else people would want to know about me.
Rebecca: Who designed your cover art?
Nick: Linda Houle, from Cover of Your Dreams.
Rebecca: What aspect of your book do you feel your cover art relates to?
Nick: I like the look of the “fist pamphlet” on the cover. The mottled colors make it look chaotic and sickly, kind of like the Joker’s makeup in The Dark Knight. And, contrary to popular belief, it is not a “power fist” on the front cover. The fist is actually the Corpopolis national logo. If you don’t read the book, it would be easy to assume otherwise.
Rebecca: If you believe that people will think it to be something it’s not, why did you still use it?
Nick: The Corpopolis logo (the fist) is supposed to represent a weakened and imprisoned populace at the hands of their government. So I thought it would somewhat ironic if readers saw the fist on the cover and thought it was supposed to empower them when in fact it does quite the opposite...which is basically the function of propaganda.
Rebecca: What is the one question no one has ever asked you during an interview that you would like to be asked?
Nick: Question- Do you really honestly believe all the ridiculous conspiracy crap in your book would ever really happen? Answer- It is happening.
Rebecca: Do you believe in the notion that if you believe in something strongly enough, it will come true?
Nick: Nope. Belief will get you nothing; only with action will anything come into fruition. Remember, the root word of belief is belie.
A big thank you to Nick for being the first author to stop by! You can find his novel “Mandate 33” at by following the link below the book image.
Description: In the fictitious country of Corpopolis, under the rule of a dictator, a new law is passed. The law says that only citizens carrying government-issued parenting licenses are legally allowed to bear children. Any child in the custody of adults without a parenting license will be eliminated. This law comes to be known as Mandate 33.

The law is passed, they say, to protect children from unfit parents. But certain citizens soon begin to ask questions: is the country's praised and beloved fascist government practicing population control…or extinction?

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  1. Great interview. The book sounds interesting,where can I pick it up?
    Ralph C

  2. Becky,
    Dropping by with a LIKE for this page. Thanks for this very informative as well as interesting interview. Congratulations to Nick and best wishes. The book sounds wonderful . . . looking forward to reading it.