Interview with Don Easton, author of The Benefactor

Interview with Don Easton, author of The Benefactor thumbnail

Interview with Don Easton, author of The Benefactor

Posted on April 21 by Don Easton
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Today on the blog we Don Easton answers some questions about his new Jack Taggart book The Benefactor, and about writing in general.

Caitlyn: Tell us about your book.

Don: The Benefactor is about Chinese spying in Canada. In the novel, the protagonist, Jack Taggart, is an undercover RCMP operative who is asked to assist in solving a murder where the victim appeared to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. His investigation points the finger at Benny Wong, who is the head of a Chinese criminal syndicate.

Taggart suspects a young Chinese woman of belonging to the syndicate and coerces her into becoming his informant. He does not know that his informant is a Chinese spy. When she offers to introduce him to the crime boss he jumps at the chance, hoping to illicit conversation from him to gain evidence on the murder.

Unbeknownst to Taggart, the top crime boss had arranged the murder at the request of a rogue Chinese spy who is the case officer for the informant. When the informant reports Taggart’s plan to him, he draws up a deadly plan of murder and deceit.      

Caitlyn: How did you come up with the idea for this work?

Don: I came up with the idea for this novel from personal experience. I worked as an undercover RCMP operative over a span of twenty years and occasionally have crossed paths with foreign spies operating in Canada and abroad. Due to Canada’s technological advancements, world economic problems and our close relationship with the United States, it is a prime target for foreign spies seeking to get an edge on technological, industrial and military secrets.

Caitlyn: Tell us a little about the overarching theme of your work, and why you felt compelled to explore it.

Don: I feel most Canadians are naïve when it comes to spying in Canada and tend to believe that such a thing is either the imagination of some Hollywood writer or is something that happens in other countries. I am hoping The Benefactor will help educate us in that regard.

Caitlyn: Describe your ideal writing environment.

Don: My ideal writing environment is divided into two segments. To form the idea and synopsis for what I write about, I prefer the outside world. Meeting with people and seeing the world stimulates my thought process. In regards to The Benefactor, recently a friend of mine who is well connected to dozens of companies due to technological developments in his company, commented on how many companies he knows that are employing foreign students who have volunteered to work for free, particularly in their computer departments. The Benefactor may alert them to the dangers this can bring and give them cause to reflect upon their own nativity. The second segment of my writing is that once I know what I want to write about, I prefer a quiet sanctuary without distraction, such as my den.

Caitlyn: What inspired you to write your first book?

Don: My first novel, Loose Ends, is the first of what is now a series of eight novels. As a former RCMP officer who worked undercover over a span of twenty years, I was involved in numerous investigations, witnessed horrific crimes and occasionally had contracts on my life. I realised that the world I lived in could not easily be defined as right and wrong or black and white. I often operated in what I called the grey zone.

I believe that my first novel and many that followed were not only cathartic for me to write, but it was also an attempt to educate the public of what goes on in the criminal world. Initially I was curious about what the readers would think of my protagonist, Jack Taggart. Would they criticise him for his work in ‘the grey zone’ or understand his actions. I am pleased to say that the vast majority not only understand, but applaud!

Don Easton

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014
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Don Easton

Don Easton worked as an undercover Mountie for twenty years, including seven years in an RCMP Intelligence Unit. He lives in Victoria, B.C.