About a year ago my first book “Stay Away From the Libertarians!” came out and the reaction the book received was certainly something I never anticipated. Thousands of orders and downloads later, readers and reviewers have called it everything from true “political gonzo journalism” to a “hilarious memoir” and “serious evaluation of our current political state.” What the book meant to me meant many different things to so many different readers, and I know that my goal of writing about an experience and history that readers could put themselves into much like a novel was met resoundingly.
“Stay Away From the Libertarians!” was meant to be my last political hoorah after spending my formative years as a young adult as both a wannabe policy wonk and political operative. The lessons and stories in that book were meant to be a parting gift to lovers of liberty too young to remember a time when libertarianism wasn’t a household name and Ron Swanson wasn’t a cultural sensation.
Like all bad addictions, however, my life in the arena wasn’t quite finished. As Hunter S. Thompson once wrote, “politics is better than sex.” It turned out as I tried to end one chapter of my life and move onto another, I still had one more story inside of me I was burning to tell, without doing so I wouldn’t be able to lay that chapter of my life to rest.
Months after publishing my first book when the fun and honeymoon phase were drifting toward the end of the road, I began to ask myself what was next. As I tried to begin other projects, such as writing stories (I tried fiction)that had nothing to do with politics whatsoever, I found myself stunted, almost as if each time I made a turn I ended up hitting a roadblock. The problem was obvious, I may have been done with politics but politics wasn’t done with me, I had one more story to tell.
The challenge I set before myself was this- to write a story that painted a clear and real picture of what the world of professional campaigns and down to the dirt politics really looked like when the cameras were off. I needed the apolitical reader who had only seen a few episodes of House of Cards to know that some things, in reality, are stranger than fiction. However, I couldn’t simply do what I did with the previous book and cram four to five years of my life in there and expect the story to pack the punch I was looking for. Because of this, I had to think long and hard to figure out how to write a short, condensed story of what the dark and gritty world of politics looked like while maintaining the privacy of some individuals without the impact of the story getting trapped behind a wall of caution tape. For this book, I attempted to blend historical non-fiction and narrative fiction together into one book with two intertwining arcs that are able to move throughout the book without confusing the reader as to what is real and what is a fictional dramatization of current events. In terms of the story, I needed to create characters for the fictional arc based on combinations of individuals I met during my time in the political arena, as well as find a real, historical politician so massive and controversial in reputation they could essentially carry the story themselves, allowing the fictional portion to provide an added layer of our modern view of the world so we could truly understand how actions and attitudes can affect the world we live in for generations to come.
The main question throughout “How to Succeed in Politics (and Other Forms of Devil worship)” is rather simple; how far are you willing to go to obtain influence and power? This is a question we have been asking ourselves since Biblical parables all the way to Macbeth and Star Wars. In this book, you are going to follow characters in two different eras of American history struggling with the same question, but handling it in completely different ways.
Set between the night of the revolutionary 2016 election to the beginning stages of the 2020 Democratic primaries in 2019, you’ll meet Art Brown, our story’s fictional protagonist. Art is a thirty-something political addict who will stop at nothing to help his clients win their race. However, as Art takes on a client with a series of very troubling and very public character flaws, he begins to question what winning means when you lose yourself in the process.
As for the story’s non-fiction lead, it is up to you, the reader, to determine whether this man is either an outright villain or a troubled rogue who’ll do anything to get ahead, good or bad. When searching for a real-life character who embodied the very definition of a dangerous politician, the only man who could truly serve as an example to readers as a cautionary tale was none other than Alabama’s longest-serving governor, three-time presidential candidate, and American boogeyman, the infamous George C. Wallace. Following Wallace’s career from poverty in the low-country town of Clio, Alabama, to his ascendance to the Governor’s Mansion in Montgomery and the day in Laural, Maryland, that would change his life forever, you’ll learn the true history of America’s most influential loser you won’t learn in school.
This book will take you on a journey of self-discovery as both the fictional Art Brown of today and the real George Wallace of yesterday have to decide whether the cost of success is really worth the price of their souls. Filled with romance, humor, drama, with the added elements of historical analysis and a thriller, this is a book like you’ve never read before.
“How to Succeed in Politics (and Other Forms of Devil Worship)” will be available in print and Kindle e-reader in June 2020