Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Writing Life with Georges Ugeux, Author of 'The Flying Dragon'

A Belgian and U.S. national, Georges Ugeux is the Chairman and CEO of Galileo Global Advisors LLC, an investment banking advisory boutique.  Ugeux joined the New York Stock Exchange in 1996, as Group Executive Vice President, International. An adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, Ugeux is the author of a numerous nonfiction books about finance.  The Flying Dragon is his first work of fiction

What’s inside the mind of a mystery novel author?

First and foremost, you have to like the genre. I was raised with Agatha Christie and my compatriot Hercule Poirot. I also love Georges Simenon. I love the challenge of finding out what the characters have planned and have a passion for people. I began writing the book without knowing exactly what would happen. It was breathtaking.

The second element for me, is the joy of creating a character. I chose an unusual one: a young Chinese woman. I have been working with Chinese women for many years and was inspired. I am proud to have created Victoria Leung and will continue to develop her character in future books.

What is so great about being an author?

It is incredibly rewarding to have creative freedom while also being able to draw from my extensive personal and professional experience in international travel and financial services. The creation of characters is also a unique experience. As an author, receiving feedback that readers are excited to learn more about the protagonist is very gratifying.

Being an author is also a personal journey. I wrote several “serious” or non-fiction finance books, which require sources and analytics. Fiction writing stems entirely from imagination, experience and existing relationships. It is for this reason that I chose to create a personal website - it truly depicts who I am as a person.

When do you hate it?

The editorial part is excruciatingly detailed and challenging. Making sure one does not confuse the days of the week or the names of the characters can be quite a task. It is a word by word and line by line process. I created a time line with details about the characters to ensure consistency.

While the process is certainly frustrating, without it, the book makes zero sense. Discipline is as essential in fiction as it is in non-fiction writing.

What is a regular writing day like for you?

My professional life consists of extensive international travel, which includes long flights to Asia and Europe. I often write on planes, at home, in hotels and outside. As I don’t have the time to use full days for writing, my traveling is key in providing me the time to pursue both my fiction and non-fiction pursuits. 

Do you think authors have big egos? Do you?

Without an ego, one would likely never start writing a book. You must believe that you have something to say that you want to communicate. This belief requires a confidence that is impossible without some version of an ego.

This same ego pushed me to start my own company, to teach, speak publicly, blog and write. Of course, I am proud…but ultimately, I am mostly fascinated by the reaction to the content.

Ego is like Esopus tongue. It can be a huge engine for creativity and innovation. Unfortunately, I have seen too many instances in which egos have become an end in themselves as well as the source of arrogance and destruction. It is important to keep a balanced view.

How do you handle negative reviews?

I am a blogger and am gratified with comments. In “Le” the leading media in France, I have had more than 70,000 comments.

There are two types of negative comments, the most common being insults and derogatory comments about or directed at the author. I simply ignore them.

The second types of comments focus on the issues. I try to find time to explain better or understand where the commentator is coming from. What I write can sometimes offend others. When this happens I have to admit it and recognize that it can cause people to react strongly. I have my part in it.

How do you handle positive reviews?

I try not to take myself too seriously. Positive comments are gratifying, especially if I really feel they are not complacent but sincere – like I might have actually done something right. It is a reward to be appreciated and recognized. I see no reason not enjoy them.

What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author?

It would be preposterous to introduce myself to a new acquaintance as an author. Having just written my first book, I will absolutely remain modest. However, when I do share that I’ve just published my first fiction book, people are usually impressed and genuinely interested (especially since they met the author).

The most common question is: Where are you finding the time to write a book?

What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?

I only write when I feel like it. I see no reason to force myself. Nobody is chasing me – it is a real pleasure.

Any writing quirks?

People are dying to read books in which they feel like they really “meet” the author, the characters and their voices. I don’t try to be anybody else. I am truthful and just write what I feel. Readers will very quickly recognize fakeness.

What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?

I would agree with part of their thinking. Writing is currently something I do for pleasure, or as a hobby. I am a professional financier and a teacher. However, writing is a serious undertaking and I do and continue to take my own writing seriously.

Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate? 

We all have our doubts. There will always be a moment when I am convinced that my book is not good enough and/or maybe not worth writing at all. This is the right moment to do something else: go out, exercise or sing. Let the moment pass.

I have a love affair with writing. Hate is not part of it.

Do you think success as an author must be linked to money?

Not at all. This idea is one that is communicated to authors by the publishing industry, but it is wrong. Realistically, there is very little money in writing. Don’t do it for money..and you might even be pleasantly surprised! Success can come from many other places - being understood is one of them…the pleasure of the reader is the other. 

Success is much more than money.

What had writing taught you?

Disciplined imagination. Writing (like teaching) requires discipline and imagination. I have plenty of imagination but there is no shortcut. Without imagination, it is sterile.

Leave us with some words of wisdom.

Writing a fiction novel is a journey – both a fascinating and sometimes frustrating one. Ultimately, the joy and enjoyment has to exceed the frustration or it might not be worth it. Take it easy and breathe. The secret of success is inside the author. 


Title: The Flying Dragon
Genre: Mystery novel
Author: Georges Ugeux
Publisher: Archway publications

About the Book:

No one can resist Victoria Leung. She's beautiful, brilliant, and fearless. Since leaving the fraud department of the Hong Kong Police, she has enjoyed her new status as senior detective at Pegasus, an international security firm based in London. She climbed the ladder by taking down Sun Hung Kai Properties' Kwok Brothers, a real estate empire, and earned the nickname “The Flying Dragon” in the process.

On an otherwise typical morning, Victoria receives a panicked message from her close friend Diana Yu asking for help: Diana's ex-lover, Henry Chang, is in grave danger. Bertrand Wilmington, head of the derivative trading desk of a global bank, has fallen from a window of the twenty-second floor trading room, and Henry Chang is somehow involved. Perhaps with Victoria's help they can clear his name and reveal the secret behind Wilmington's death.

While Hong Kong and Mainland authorities attempt to crack the case with little success, Victoria puts her experience as a banking auditor to use. Her expertise is critical in discovering key clues, and she won't back down until she gets answers. As she searches for the truth, The Flying Dragon quickly becomes enmeshed in a web of arrogance, power, money and sexuality. Will she expose the corruption and bring down a financial giant?

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