Interview with Troy Wilson, Author of Fake News, A Novel

What was the inspiration for the story?  What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

Troy Wilson Fake News
Troy Wilson Fake News

‘Fake News, a Novel’ was inspired by my own experiences witnessing the decline of journalism while I was a journalist myself.  Credibility in the media is now at an all-time low as a result.  I wanted to take the reader on journey where they would root for a protagonist who wants to be a good reporter who is pursuing a huge story which involves some of the most powerful people on earth, and who want to stop him.  I hope the reader ends up with a better understanding of journalism’s decline in America in an exciting, enjoyable political thriller with many unexpected twists and turns.

Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers?

“Fake News, a Novel” has many story layers to it.  By that I mean there are sub-stories throughout that some readers will notice and many will not.  I’ll give you one example of a secret.  Every ‘narrative’ presented in the book turns out to be false.  It’s meant as a caution about the corrosive effect of narratives, which many journalists use all the time as a foundation for their reporting, on the credibility of journalism itself. 

Most narratives by journalists are assumptions made from snippets of information, the experience at past events, or even their own biases.  Remember the kid in the MAGA hat who was confronted by the Native American protester banging a drum.  Everyone got that one wrong at first because they assumed the teenager started the confrontation because he’s wearing a red MAGA hat.  In fact, all he did was just stand there as he was confronted so as not to escalate it.  In my experience, that kind of mis-reporting happens a lot more than you think.

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?

They all do to one degree or another.  One thing somewhat unique to ‘Fake News, a Novel’ is the lack of a true villain.  Instead, it’s about real humans who find themselves in difficult situations and do they best they can even if what they did is not really the right thing.  While there are actual psychopaths and sociopaths out there, much of the bad that happens in our lives isn’t done by bad people, but rather ordinary people who for whatever reason make some bad decisions.  The plot of ‘Fake News, a Novel’ hinges on one unintentional, impetuous act done by someone at an emotional moment who then fights to keep it a secret because they fear there will be extreme consequences.  We’ve all been in circumstances similar to that, and none of us always did the right thing.  That’s part of what it is to be human.

But to write that story, you have to see the good in the character as well as the bad.

Have any of your books been made into audiobooks? If so, what are the challenges in producing an audio book?

Defiance Press did a good job with my audiobook and I know some prefer the format.  It is a tough book to translate into an audiobook, however, because of some of the subtle complexities of the characters.  I had a friend read it and then hear the audiobook.  He liked the print version better because you will miss some things if you just hear the book.  I tend to agree.

What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?

I enjoy writing, and so yes, I’m working on one.  It comes at the story from an entirely different angle, however, and also presents new, different characters and themes.  If ‘Fake News, a Novel’ was about shining a light on just how bad journalism has become in America and the loss of credibility as a result through a work of fiction, its sequel will be more personal, exploring themes of personal growth and redemption in a world of institutional rot.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book?

I publish under a pseudonym because as a business owner, I want to keep my business and writing separate.  You can reach out to me, however, on X (formerly know as Twitter) @authortwilson and by email at authortroywilson@gmail.com.  But I would say the best thing you could do is read the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads (although Goodreads confused me with a children’s book author named Troy Wilson).  My reviewers put an awful lot of thought into what they wrote.  There’s even a good 2 star review in there on Amazon (check it out and you’ll see what I mean).

Excerpt from Fake News:

Fake News A Novel Troy Wilson
Fake News A Novel Troy Wilson

Tomas Stein sat in a chair in a dark room.  Water had just been splashed on his face from a bucket, and the cold liquid dripped from his hair down his cheeks, nose and chin.  He was groggy.  He knew instinctively that he had been drugged, and while he had no idea where he was, Tomas was able to quickly surmise in his semi-conscious state what was to come next.  He had been warned after all.

Three shadowy figures in a dark room stood around him.  They were not wearing masks, but their large hoodies did enough to obscure their identities, not that he would likely be able to recognize them if the masks were removed. One of the men standing beside him pushed a cold revolver nuzzle against his temple.

Tomas’s knees buckled in the chair.  He wasn’t crying, but his breath rapidly cut in and out uncontrollably as he anticipated what was to come next.

It’s been said in moments like these that your life will flash before your eyes.  For Tomas his mind conjured images of the past three years of his life.  A series of momentous and unpredictable events which had brought the TV journalist national fame, professional praise, and scorn, had thrown him unexpectedly into the center of a scandal, and now landed him in this chair with a gun pointed at his head.

In a strange sense he now realized that he was sitting on the precipice of becoming a deadly casualty of ‘fake news’.

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