The true life story of hijackers who robbed a busload of tourists in Guatemala provided the inspiration for Batavia resident W. Ward Neuman’s first venture into writing a novel.
His sister was among those tourists on the bus.
Kane County reporter Eric Schelkopf spoke to Neuman about his book “Seeking Justice,” which revolves around three millionaires who decide to use their energy, determination, and resources to help others solve the problems and injustices that “the system” cannot.
Eric Schelkopf: Your first book was based on an actual incident involving your sister.
W. Ward Neuman: Well, it’s kind of a funny thing. She got over it. She was never actually traumatized.
She was more angry and saddened at the loss of her things of value. I was the one who got really upset about it, thinking that people exist who can go out and do that. And apparently, they were doing it again and again.
And obviously with corruption and graft and bribes, they were getting away with it. It stayed in my mind for a long time and then I started writing about it. And it was like a catharsis.
Schelkopf: Was this an idea that you had even before this incident?
Neuman: No. I had been an author before. I had written three non-fiction books in my field of investing in real estate.
I was in demand at seminars and conventions and investment clubs. And after being successful at writing those three books, I had the idea of writing fiction.
The thing about most fiction is that there is generally one story – the hero is going after a bad guy and it takes the whole book to unravel the plot and get to the end, where he gets his just reward.
My books are different, because there’s seven or eight situations or adventures in each book, where my guys hear about different people not receiving justice from the system after they’ve been wronged in different ways.
So, there’s lot of stories contained in the book, each time leading up to a grand finale of a great big story.
Schelkopf: And then you wrote a sequel, “Finding Justice.” How did that come about?
Neuman: I finished the book, and I leaned back and said, ‘Wow, I did it.’ Then I got it published and I started getting feedback from people.
Some people thought the book should be made into a movie. A couple of people said they couldn’t put it down. A lot of people said it should be a television series.
And many, many people asked when there was going to be a sequel. I kind of left a couple of things hanging in the book, which gave me room to do something I wasn’t planning to do.
I wrote the second one, and I realized I was having fun. My publisher asked me to write a third book (“Delivering Justice”) since the other ones had done well, and now I have done three.
The big question now is do I do a fourth or not? At the moment, I’m saying I don’t think so, but that could change.
Schelkopf: Why do you think the books have connected so well with people?
Neuman: Well, I can’t say that I’m a brilliant writer like Ernest Hemingway. He had a flair and a way with words.
But I make the plots interesting and I make the characters believable. A couple of the nicest compliments I have had from people is when they say, ‘It may be fiction, but it sure seems real.’
And that’s a really nice compliment to an author.