Andrew Klavan has a new book out for young adults. In an exclusive interview, he discusses not only his new book, but his thoughts on Islam, Sharia, liberals and Hollywood.
“The Truth Of The Matter” is not just the title of Andrew Klavan's new book, it also describes the very candid hour I spent with him on my radio program, 'America Akbar'. To say I had as much fun speaking with him as I did reading his latest book, would be an understatement.
One thing Andrew Klavan subscribes to is the truth. When asked why he decided to write a novel geared towards young adults on Islamic terrorists, his answer, I think, describes his attitude in everything he does,
“For me there's no point waking up in the morning and putting words down on paper or on your computer screen if you're not going to at least try to tell the truth about what's happening in the world.”
I am not a movie or book critic, those of you who are familiar with my work are well aware in the year that I have been doing weekly articles I have written about only one movie and never a book.
This however was different. In today's day and age of political correctness, and with lies about Islam and its history showing up in our public school books and in the mainstream media, I found it refreshing to read something directed to young people that was not only informative and educational, but a great thriller that was hard to put down even for an adult.
“The Truth Of The Matter”, which hit the stores on November 2nd, is book three in the four part “Homelanders” series. The first in the series was “The Last Thing I Remember” followed by “The Long Way Home”. The fourth and final book will be out next August.
The main character in the “Homelanders” series is Charles West, an ordinary high school kid who goes to bed one night and wakes up in the clutches of terrorists and wanted by police for murder. When he wakes up he also has no memory of the last year.
This fast paced, keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat novel reminds me of the television show '24'. I mentioned this comparison to Andrew Klavan and with a laugh he explained,
“The funny thing is I love '24', it's a wonderful show, but I was always convinced they were stealing '24' from me.”
“I've met Joel Surnow, who created '24' many times and I told him that and he swears it's not true. I had written a number of books before '24' came out that all took place in a 24 hour period, that were all a race against time, that all operated in the same sort of structure, so I refuse to cop to stealing from them when I thought they were stealing from me, which they weren't, but neither am I.”
For those who may not know who Andrew Klavan is, his bio speaks for itself,
Andrew Klavan is the author of such internationally bestselling novels as “True Crime”, filmed by Clint Eastwood, and “Don’t Say A Word”, filmed starring Michael Douglas. Andrew has been nominated for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award five times and has won twice. His books have been translated around the world. His latest novel for adults is “The Identity Man”.
Andrew is a contributing editor to City Journal, the magazine of the Manhattan Institute. His essays and op-eds on politics, religion, movies and literature have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, The Washington Post, the LA Times, and elsewhere. His video feature, “Klavan on the Culture,” can be found at PJTV.com.
Andrew Klavan explained how this particular young adult series came about,
“One of the things that was my goal and that I pitched to the publishing house when I started out was that I had been very put off by the kinds of books that are available for boys specifically. I've gotten a lot of nice letters from female readers, but I essentially sat down and said I'm going to write the kind of book that I enjoyed reading as a boy.”
I asked Andrew if it was a subliminal message that the main characters name was 'Charlie West' and with a laugh he answered,
“Well, I do name my characters carefully, that's all I'll say.”
Talking about the responses he had gotten after his adult terrorist conspiracy novel “Empire Of Lies”, he said,
“It was hilarious, in the sense that the novel I had published before it was a fairly simple detective story that got excellent reviews that were printed or reprinted in over 200 venues and that was pretty common for me, I would get pretty broad range reviews. Empire of lies got essentially one major mainstream review in which I was called a right wing crackpot.”
Discussing how some tried to silence the views in his book he explained,
“You could call it “An Empire Of Silence”. The book was set to be published in France and when my editor left the house and a new editor came in, she said she couldn't possibly publish it because of its political and religious implications. I'm not happy about it and I'm skeptical we will find another publisher for it.”
Talking about how bad things are in Europe, he continued,
“The situation in Europe is so much worse then it is here, not only did they not publish “Empire Of Lies” in France, but they did everything to try and get me to take references to God out of the Homelanders book, “The Truth Of The Matter” and the other Homelanders books in England because they said the references to God would offend buyers.”
Currently Andrew has two books out; the latest thriller for adults is titled “The Identity Man”.
When I asked Andrew how many books he has written, he said honestly,
“People keep giving me different numbers, I've lost track, but there are over a dozen.”
Amazon's website lists a total of 10 pages with a 114 books by Andrew Klavan counting all versions, hard cover and paperback in various languages.
If there is one thing that conservatives in Hollywood have felt, it is the backlash against being honest.
When asked by my guest co-host Jan Morgan, if he has felt any repercussions from the progressives in Hollywood over his conservative views and the Homelander book series Andrew explained,
“It's been pretty serious, I'm constantly called a racist, which is a little confusing to me since Islam is not a race. On top of which, I've made it clear repeatedly, that first of all this is not a matter of persons, of individuals or of Muslims, it's a matter of ideas. I'm perfectly aware that Islam can be practiced in a peaceful, even loving way and in a civilized way. But I can't help noticing that Islam is involved throughout the world in a lot of oppressive regimes, a lot of violent conflicts, and of course in an expressed effort to dismantle the West and replace it with what I consider the atrocity of Sharia law. So, I'm just pointing out it's the ideas that I'm in conflict with, not the people.”
Explaining his view of the left, he continued,
“And yet, that confusing ideas with people and behaviors with people is something that the left has become expert at in order to call their opponents racist and I think it's unfair and I think it's a way of name calling in order to intimidate you or shut you up basically.”
When discussing terrorism, Andrew sums it up well even explaining his views on the mainstream media,
“After 9-11, the kind of concerted attempt to lie away what had happened really struck me very powerfully and I maintain that when those planes went in to those buildings and those buildings came down it wasn't just the buildings that collapsed, I feel that also it was the multicultural paradigm that collapsed. I find the multicultural paradigm to be completely insane. It's based on the philosophy of relativism, the philosophy that nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
Andrew continued by explaining this philosophy and where that saying comes from,
“That philosophy is pernicious and leads these people to evil and in order to hide the fact that this paradigm had collapsed the media sort of rushed into the breach and started to lie and say “what have we done to make them hate us”, which is as evil as if a woman got raped and you said “well what did she do to excite them”, which is a completely irrelevant question.”
“And so, that was the thing that got to me, I often point out that people that are relativists frequently quote that line “that nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. I also frequently point out that that line comes from the play Hamlet and Hamlet says it when he is pretending to be insane, so not only does Shakespeare find that sentence to be insane, but he finds it a kind of pretend insane because nobody really believes it. Nobody really believes that nothing is good or bad, we all know that there is such a thing as good and evil and if there's such a thing as good and evil, then some cultures are going to be evil and some will be less good than others.”
I followed up the Hollywood question by asking Andrew if he is finding it more difficult getting his work put in to film due to his being so outspoken and his answer was interesting to say the least,
“I do know that when the war on terror started and Hollywood started making movies that were opposed to the war and basically slandering our troops while they were in the field, I didn't mind that they opposed the war, you're welcome to oppose the war, but making films, essentially propaganda films for the enemy, I got very upset and I started writing articles in the LA Times and elsewhere saying that this was a bad action. Our guys are in the field and you don't make propaganda films for the enemy while our guys are in the field, it didn't happen in Vietnam, the anti-war films were made after the war was over. Up until that point I had been selling multiple screen plays a year and making quite a good living and my phone just stopped ringing.”
“At the same time there was a writers strike and a lot of other things that happened and I can't say that that's exactly why that was, but I will tell you that I feel personally that it has cost me an enormous amount of money.”
Showing his personal ethics he continued,
“But I've never lost a moments sleep over it, I just thought that what they did was appalling and people were being shot at and loosing a little dough isn't really the same thing.”
Andrew also explained how blatant the blacklisting can be,
“The other thing is there's a passive blacklist in Hollywood that works like this; You walk in to a room trying to sell your product and you're about to pitch it or show it or talk about it and to make small talk the first words out of the guys mouth are “is George Bush an idiot or what?” And since I'm the kind of person who will say politely “well, actually, I'm on the other side of the fence.” I have to believe that lowers your chances of selling the product.”
Once again, explaining what I feel today's journalists lack, he stated,
“It's made it very difficult for me, but as I say, the job of being a writer is the job of trying to tell the truth, it's about seeking the truth and telling it as best you can. To suddenly turn that off in any part of my life would just be insane for me and very difficult. I will make a living and I will go forward, but to be a writer that lies, to me, is a contradiction in terms.”
My co-host Reese said something after that last comment which everyone at 'America Akbar' agreed to 100%,
“That just says that you are a person with ethics and that you stand for what you believe and I have a lot more respect for you because of that.”
Those same values and ethics come through in his book and I for one would much rather have my children reading about a teenager that subscribes to those same ethics and values as opposed to having someone like Jessica Simpson as an idol.
With everything that is out there for kids from television to video games, one thing I will recommend as a gift this holiday is a good book and this one tops the list.
This is a book that they will not only enjoy, but trust me when I tell you, it is written in the same classic, thriller Klavan style that you too will enjoy when they are done reading it.
Speaking the truth and educating young people on the real world is something that we just don't see enough of anymore.
While our public schools are busy removing the pledge of allegiance, not to mention the American flag, this series of books has a believable teenage young man who not only stands up for what he believes in, but knows is right.
When was the last time you and your kids read the same book and could actually share some quality time afterward talking about it?
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