Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Not Black and White {+ Giveaway}

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It’s a pleasure today to welcome author G.A. Beller to Thoughts in Progress to talk about his recently release, NOT BLACK AND WHITE: From The Very Windy City to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Reminiscent of Joe Klein’s Primary Colors, NOT BLACK AND WHITE (G. Anton Publisher; hardcover; November 16, 2015) is a ripped-from-the-headlines political thriller that reads like a pulse-pounding movie. Catnip for political junkies of all stripes, G. A.’s debut novel will have pundits and pols buzzing in halls of power from Chicagoland to our nation’s capital and beyond, wondering what’s real, what’s made up, and who are the author’s sources.

Thanks to the lovely Meg at Tandem Literary:Publicity & Marketing, I have a print copy of this tantalizing thriller to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for more details on the giveaway.

NOT BLACK AND WHITE is a thinly veiled fictional account of the events that led to the election of our country’s first African-American president and the downfall and imprisonment of two consecutive Illinois governors together with several of their most trusted advisors and cohorts. Based on a firsthand account of the skullduggery and corruption that takes place in the campaign offices and proverbial smoke-filled back rooms where political decisions are made, NOT BLACK AND WHITE is a must-read this fall. G. A. will have some of the real-life Chicago-style politicians asking, “how did he know about that?”

Please join me in giving G.A. a warm welcome as he joins us to talk about his fascinating novel. Welcome, G.A.

What inspired you to write NOT BLACK AND WHITE?


I was introduced to someone familiar with one of the characters in NOT BLACK ANDWHITE. After a breakfast meeting, I was intrigued by the general concept of the story - the rise of the first African-American President and the downfall of two governors. Living in Chicago during the unfolding of these events, I had followed all the news coverage as these activities were exposed. I decided to research the many articles that had been written. The more I uncovered, the more I concluded that I should write this book as a novel. 

As a first time novelist, was the process as you had expected?


I must admit, as an aspiring writer, I grossly underestimated the commitment to the process. I thought many times I was finished telling the story, only to decide a broader storyline was needed and that a more entertaining approach to various scenarios would enhance the reader’s experience. However, after many rewrites, I feel satisfied that I told this story well.

What are the challenges of writing about politics?


Once I decided to write about the characters and events during this period in Chicago and Illinois politics, I realized this story had to be a fictionalized accounting of both. First of all, I did not know with any degree of certainty which events were factual. The newspaper and internet articles were, to some degree, based upon speculation, in my opinion. Therefore, I concluded that this story might be very entertaining with a loosely based accounting of the characters and events. 

How did you blend fact and fiction?


The portrayal of how the events played out was, in many cases, based upon my imagination. Much of what may be perceived as fact in NOT BLACK AND WHITE is derived from one’s own perspective. Of course we know many of the events led to certain obvious outcomes; however, the universal truth that underlies the story is exactly what I want to challenge the reader to conclude. If I achieved a balance of education and entertainment, I achieved my goals.

How did the Chicago setting influence the story?


Chicago politics has an image which has evolved far beyond this specific time in its history. This novel provided me the opportunity to incorporate the events surrounding a historic milestone in our nation. The fact that the rise of our first African-American president began in the setting of Chicago politics was paramount to my enthusiasm for telling this story. The downfall of two governors was a perfect complement to the president’s rise, in my opinion; therefore, Chicago could not have provided a more ideal setting. 

Did writing this book have any effect on your political leanings?


My political affiliation was not affected by the writing of this book. I do not affiliate with either party, and would like to see a truly credible candidate represent an independent third party. I strongly believe that both major parties are too extreme. The independent vote is critical for either party to win a presidential election. Additionally, it appears the size of that vote is growing, as more voters are becoming dissatisfied with the major party base and their political platforms. Hopefully someday the political process will offer an electable third party candidate to represent the independent voters.

What's next for you?


I established GABE Advisors, LLC. with the goal to identify and invest in talented writers, offering the financial resources to further their projects. GABE secured a trademark for Defining Karma™. It’s our vision to seek story submissions from aspiring or established writers surrounding the theme “defining karma.” The stories should be based upon true occurrences, which could be completed in novel form. I am currently co-authoring a Defining Karma™ story that will hopefully be released by the end of 2016 through G. Anton Publishing/Chicago. We are seeking more authors and projects that would advance our concept.

G.A., thanks so much for visiting with us today. It’s always fascinating to learn how a story comes about. GABE also sounds like an intriguing concept that will benefit writers and readers.

For those who aren’t familiar with G.A., here’s a bit of background on him.

Author G.A. Beller
G.A. Beller has lived in Chicago for over twenty-five years, and is a self-professed political junkie. Chicago’s history of political corruption and incompetence prompted him to research this specific era of rampant criminal behavior. Utilizing articles that appeared in the press and on the internet, Beller created a fictionalized accounting of the characters and events, depicting through his imagination how things might have played out. Inspired by true events, NOT BLACK AND WHITE leaves it to the reader to interpret fact from fiction.

G.A. has been an executive in the investment business for over thirty-five years. His mentor, and one of his closest friends, upon one of their first meetings, saw his initials on his leather briefcase and nicknamed him GABE. The name has stuck since his early twenties. 

For many years G.A. desired to find the time to write his own stories and to inspire others to write as well. In 2013, he established GABE Advisors, LLC to invest in and encourage literary projects in creative collaboration with other aspiring authors. He is currently co-authoring a second novel based upon the true story of a loving couple living in Southern California who see a television commercial soliciting sponsorship of needy children. The couple sponsors a young girl from India, and their decision leads to an unlikely story of love and a life-changing journey for all involved. The target publication date for this second novel is late 2016. This will be the first book to be published in the series known as DEFINING KARMA.™ 

For more on G.A. and his writing, visit his website and connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.


"This book is the Primary Colors of the Obama administration. A gripping, fictionalized version of the corruption and politically-charged backroom deals that propelled a little-known state politician to the White House. With its riveting writing and unforgettable characters, NOT BLACK AND WHITE tops the list of political thrillers." -- Lori Andrews - Law Professor and Author of the Alex Blake Mystery Series

"Some of the people and dialogue may be fictitious, but the corruption known as the Chicago Way is all too real. This novel provides an inside look on how the deals are made and the laws are broken. It is a must read for anyone who cares about politics and government. --Dick Simpson - UIC Professor, co-author of Corrupt Illinois

"From the vantage point of a witness to the peculiarities of Chicago and Illinois politics spanning five decades, NOT BLACK AND WHITE, at first glance, could be dismissed as too unlikely to be plausible . . . until it quickly becomes apparent that this entertaining blend of fact and fiction, populated by greedy, power-driven scoundrels, mirrors recent history in many ways. -- Jack Guthman - Partner Emeritus, Taft Stettinius & Hollister, LLP


Thanks to Meg, I have a print copy of NOT BLACK AND WHITE to giveaway. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only and will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, Dec. 23.

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. A winner will be selected by the Rafflecopter widget and I’ll send an email with the subject line “Thoughts in Progress Not Black and White Giveaway.” The winner will have 72 hours to reply to the email or another winner will be selected. PLEASE be sure to check your spam folder from time to time after the giveaway ends. If you win and you’ve already won the book somewhere else or you just decide for whatever reason you don’t want to win, once again PLEASE let me know.

Thanks so much for stopping by today during G.A.’s visit. Do you enjoy stores that seems to be ripped from today’s headlines? Do you know of a true story that you think would make a fascinating bases for a novel?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This sounds extremely interesting. Loosely based on true events, but fiction, love the concept

  2. Hi Mason - this sounds very interesting ... and one I'd like to read, even though I'm English. Good luck to GA and his ventures - and to many aspiring writers who come under his wing ...

    Cheers and Happy Christmas to you both with a very good year ahead - Hilary

  3. Yeah, I don't think you could ever get to the truth in that mess. Agree we need something beyond the two major parties.
    Congratulations, GA.

  4. What an interesting topic! And sometimes, those real-life stories can be really effective inspirations for a novel. Some of them are more unusual than fiction could ever be. Thanks for sharing, both.

  5. Sounds like a read that would produce a lot of discussion. Good subject to turn into a novel.

  6. This sounds fascinating and intriguing. Thanks for this unique feature and giveaway.

  7. Ripped from the headlines! Sounds like a must read to me.

  8. Stopped in to wish you a happy Blitz Day, and had to enter to win this thriller! Sounds great.

  9. Sounds like a fascinating book. I've been fascinated by Obama's presidency. I think he'll be remembered as one of the greatest. Thanks for a chance to win this book.

  10. Wow, what a powerful book! My sister lives in Chicago, so I've heard about the volatile politics there. In fact, I heard the city was named "the windy city" after the politicians, who were always blowing hot air! (Also because it's windy...)

  11. While fictional, I'm sure there is enough corruption to make a lot of people think about what we don't see in politics.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.