HONOLULU, April 19, 2013 – World famous author Mike Bond has been called by the BBC “the master of the existential thriller.” Spellbinding readers with a writing style that pits hard-boiled, force of nature-like characters against politically adept, staccato-paced plots, Bond is easily one of the 21st century’s most exciting authors.
Bond’s newest book, Saving Paradise takes readers to the Hawaiian Islands for a raw and chilling expose of the hidden webs of murder, greed and corruption that political and corporate spiders weave behind the tourist façade. Inspired in part by a composite of real life, never before exposed events, Saving Paradise is a powerful editorial against the cancerous trends of crony capitalism and corrupt governance.
I had the chance earlier this week to connect with Bond to talk about the real life politics behind his writing. With vast experience as not only a prescient novelist but also an investment banker, energy executive and government adviser, Bond’s perspective on the future of our Western civilization is one worth listening to.
Danny de Gracia: One of the things I noticed in Saving Paradise is that it really brings out the frustration and cognitive dissonance that a lot of people – veterans especially – are experiencing these days in America.
For example, the protagonist Pono Hawkins is basically a man who is frustrated at every turn: he’s in love with a woman that’s dead, he’s accused of a crime someone else committed, and in the end even though he uncovers “the bad guy” the real bad guys remain at large because at the end of the day, everyone was just a pawn in a bigger chessboard.
The book really touches upon the growing suspicion – especially among young people – that life has basically become a rat race where the cards are stacked against us. Do you think that there’s any hope for America with things as bad as they are today?
Mike Bond: Yes, there’s plenty of hope. We’re finally recognizing that our country is run by what Pono in Saving Paradise calls “the slimy symbiosis of politicians and corporations” and people everywhere are starting to take our nation back.
All around America communities and wild lands are being attacked by industrial wind projects imposed on them by the government, elitist NIMBY environmental groups, and energy and oil companies. These gargantuan projects do not lower greenhouse gases or fossil fuel use, but have disastrous impacts on the environment, communities and resources.
Now, despite the overwhelming odds against them, communities everywhere are not only fighting these projects but winning.
They win by uniting liberals, conservatives and independents into one common struggle, all of us who’ve been kept apart by the politico-corporate strategy of divide and conquer.
As long however as corporations continue to fund political races, our government will represent corporations not citizens. So eliminating corporate campaign funding and setting low campaign spending limits is the essential foundation on which all further change must come.
And we need to get back to the basic discussion of what a government is good for – where are the bounds between the individual and society’s power over him or her? When we refuse to comply with what we do not agree to, we force our government to grow less dysfunctional and more representative.
To quote Pono again, we need a tectonic shift in governance, so we can actually control what happens to us. That is a major task, but it’s the only one which will save our nation.
DDG: What was it like for you writing Saving Paradise? Was this a difficult story to bring out, especially since it deals with a lot of real world issues and contemporary political topics?
Bond: Writing Saving Paradise was driven by the awful danger of windmills on Molokai, and as a warning that our beautiful paradises everywhere are being stolen from us and destroyed, that not only in Hawaii but worldwide the accelerating destruction of the remaining natural world must be halted.
It was also fueled by the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the failures and lies of G.W. Bush in both [conflicts, and] the plight of our veterans. And by the plight of all the millions of honest, hard-working Americans who can barely make ends meet and somehow raise three kids, because the politicians, partially funded by the banks, let the banks take their homes and money away.
DDG: I kinda got the sense that there are some people in elected politics who if they read Saving Paradise are going to feel their conscience on fire. Have any elected officials read your book yet and given you any feedback?
Since the election of President Obama in 2008, the nation has taken a unique interest in the political workings of Hawaii. (AP File Photo)
Bond: From what I hear, it’s had quite an impact. There’s suddenly a lot of concern by legislators in Honolulu about appearing to be honest, whereas in the past no one bothered. Two months after publication of Saving Paradise the Molokai industrial wind project was killed. Many people and groups worked to make this happen, but the book may have helped too.
And even more recently the notorious Public Land Development Corporation was repealed. This was a marvelously crooked scam whereby the governor gave a committee of three of his friends control over Hawaii’s public land, to be sold to corporations at rock-bottom prices with no public or environmental review. Again, the book may have helped. I think it’s good that a novel could have this kind of impact.
DDG: What’s the most important message you’d like readers of Saving Paradise to get from your book?
Bond: That we can and must overcome the “slimy symbiosis between politicians and corporations” that is ruining America. Town by town, county by county, we are learning to work together, liberals and conservatives and independents, to defend what we love. We must transition the same thinking to the national level, to refuse to comply with bad government, unfair taxes, insane national indebtedness and sneaky foreign ventures, rip-off banking and politicians for hire.
And we must do whatever is necessary to protect our remaining natural areas from industrial development, from strip mines, wind farms, pipelines, transmission lines, superhighways and all the other dreck that’s ruining the last of rural and wild America, but making so much money for corporate America and its fully-owned politicians.
DDG: Are there any other books you’re working on right now?
Bond: I’ve just finished Assassins, a novel based in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and in U.S. covert operations in the Middle East in the last thirty years. It is expected to be published this fall.
DDG: Last but not least, is there anything you’d like to say to our readers in D.C.?
Bond: That our country has serious problems but we can cure them by working together across the political spectrum. In order to rule us, the politicians have divided and conquered us, cleaved us into warring political viewpoints. We must instead find common ground and attack our nation’s real problems: debt, disharmony, inequality, poor health, crime, ignorance, exterior enemies and loss of purpose.
[Also that] we all need to work together to take care of our country and our world. That we should return to our roots of hard work, caring for each other, personal privacy, and having the time and energy to live life deeply and well. And leave plenty of time to go surfing.