In summary, Coming For Money is a novel about the world of global finance and a human quest for success, understanding and love.
How I came to write it is much like a montage of photographs, all taken of the same subject, but all taken from several perspectives.
I have always written.
Following the adage of write from what you know best, I wrote from my first hand-hand experience accumulated as a director of an international investment firm. I wrote as truthfully as possible of the world of international finance — not with the over dramatization so common in film and television, but with an intimate telling through a first-person narrative … of what it can be like to labour in the world of money spinning … of how the money’s immense leverage for triumph or disaster doesn’t so much corrupt people as corrupt the way they treat each other … of how the relentless demands of the money so often deprive you of sufficient time and energy to live through the events of your emotional and interior life.
In addition to this witnessing of the world of international finance, Coming For Money is also a provocative literary novel.
That flows, I think, from the fact that, throughout my life, I have always sought to maintain my integrity in a struggle with questions that have no answers.
So the novel flows from some of the questions I continually ask about life. The plot advances along questions arising from how we relate to our careers: How much money is too much? And how fast is too fast in life? And the central character advances along deeper questions in his own life: How do we cope with love and loss?
Moreover, because our societies equate financial success with a successful life, we are often blind to the inner stories of countless people in all endeavors who, in their desperate search for inner happiness, endlessly repeat a formula for financial success even while remaining deeply unhappy due to unresolved emotional and psychological issues at their core. I wanted to bring one of these inner stories to life.
The result is a deeply felt narrative about the isolation of today’s society, the prices great and small paid for success and the damages resulting from the ruthless exercise of financial power.
I also wrote the Coming For Money to be a good story well told.
The story is event-driven. It follows Paris Smith. As he steps onto the top rungs of the corporate ladder, he is caught between his need for fulfillment and his need for understanding; between his drive for power and his inability to cope with his growing emptiness where there was once love. When his wife disappears from the core of his life, his loneliness and sense of disconnection threaten to overwhelm him. When he tries to compensate by losing himself in his work, he stumbles off the treadmill of his own success, and is entangled in the web of a fraudulent bond deal that threatens to derail his career and his life.
Forced to put his personal life on hold while he travels nonstop between Toronto, Singapore and Bangkok to salvage his career, he is deprived of the time and space to mourn the absence of his wife and regain his equilibrium.
In the heat and turmoil and fast money of Southeast Asia, half a world from home, and half a life from his last remembered smile, he finds duplicity, friendship and power — and a special woman who might heal his heart.
As much as I want to write a literary novel, I wanted to write a story that was fast-paced and highly readable.
And finally, I wrote Coming For Money because I had no other choice.
I sat down at the keyboard. Although I have always been a literary writer, I had no idea how I would capture my experiences in international finance in literary fiction. Without thinking, the first sentence came to me. I typed it. Then I looked at that sentence for a long time.
Instinct told me that the sentence had risen from something that was deeply absorbing me, and that it was something I had to tell. I knew I had to find some way to tell it truthfully. From that point, I knew there was no way out . . . except to construct the novel.
While Coming For Money is a story that advances from chapter to chapter along the corporate intrigue that beats at its heart, and continually mirrors the financial headlines of our daily newspapers, it is much more. It is an illustration of what happens to us as human beings when we lose emotional connectiveness, when we lose emotional logic.
And this was how Paris Smith came to me – because he is tragically, if admirably, flawed. He is not flawed in the classic Shakespearean sense of a noble man who is brought to ruin by his own avarice or rage. His weakness is not that he lusts after wealth or power or flesh. Rather, and far more important for us in these times, he is flawed in that he never learned the great lesson of his generation: don’t become emotionally involved. Paris Smith’s weakness is that he needs, and has always needed, emotional involvement in order to sustain his life. It is for him – as, ultimately, it is for us all – as necessary as breathing.
As Paris Smith refuses to relinquish his search for emotional connectiveness, he becomes a character we learn to appreciate and admire. In the sometimes stubborn, sometimes creative, battles he wages against other men in his corporation who are pitted against him, Paris Smith becomes ever more conscious of how he could stem his personal pain and loneliness by simply retreating emotionally and victimizing those around him. Or he might learn anew how to offer up his own emotional involvement. I’ll leave it for readers to see how this plays out in the end, and to decide what they may want to take away from his quest for human meaning in our contemporary world. But I hope readers will appreciate Paris Smith as much as I do.
In writing Coming For Money, I have tried to tell this story in a way that will let others in our increasingly isolated society know that they are not alone. I have also tried to say something about the value of not surrendering to the seduction of victimizing others as a defence against being victimized. In writing a narrative about not giving up, I attempted to capture something true and evocative about how all journeys toward the light begin in darkness. And I have offered readers some assurance that, of such journeys, they can become restored to wholeness.
F. W. vom Scheidt is a director of an international investment firm. He works and travels in the world’s capital markets, and makes his home in Toronto, Canada. He is also the author of a new book, Coming for Money (Blue Butterfly Book Publishing), a remarkable and provocative novel about the world of international finance and the human quests for success, understanding and love. You can find out more about his book at http://www.bluebutterflybooks.ca/titles/money.html.