FQ: I want to thank you for writing such a compelling novel. Before we get into the meat of your story, I would like to ask a few questions about you. I was intrigued by your Note to the Reader at the end of your story in that your inspiration for your books often comes from the news. I was appalled to learn that once the Golden Massage spa was raided (and the scum who was arrested was escorted off to the Criminal Justice Center in Nashville) that the story quickly faded from the news. In your opinion, why do you suppose that is?
WALLACE: It's the curse of the news cycle. Stories such as the Golden Massage raid and arrests make a splash for a few days, but it often takes months for any resolution through a trial and sentencing. I’ve learned since that women who are trafficked and arrested in spas like this usually face reduced charges or they are moved to another state and never show up in court. They are the victims. The real criminals are those who exploit and traffic other humans.
FQ: In line with my previous question, you cite three different organizations to reach out to if "...you want to help victims of sexual trafficking..." Have you done any follow-up with these organizations since sharing this information to see if any outreach was done?
WALLACE: My novel is scheduled for release on February 6. I hope it does help these organizations. Thistle Farms is a well-known organization in Nashville, and its mission is “Helping women survivors overcome and heal from systems of prostitution and exploitation.” I’ve supported this organization for many years. I am holding my Book Launch Event at the Thistle Farms Café in February and will donate a portion of book sales to their cause.
FQ: It warmed my heart to learn you spent many weeks at your Flat Rock, North Carolina cabin where you are "...most at home on a trail or fishing a stream in the mountains of North Carolina or Tennessee..." You must have a fishing story of the ‘biggest fish I ever caught.’ Can you share the experience?
WALLACE: I love spending time in the mountains, and fishing a mountain stream is pure joy, even if I don’t catch many of the elusive trout. Lucy, my red Labrador, loves to go with me, and I make her wait on the bank while I fish, since she’s more interested in wading and swimming, which, if she does, means I’m not catching any fish. I also fish out of my kayak on a few of the rivers near where I live in Tennessee. Recently, Lucy was swimming alongside my kayak as I paddled upstream, but then she spotted several ducks across the river. That turned into a long chase on the river for both her and me! No ducks were harmed.
FQ: I enjoyed your character development in this story. Christopher Jones is described as a guy who has had his fair share of bad luck, yet he rallies and starts to rebuild his life after his divorce. I love a comeback kid, and he is truly that. Is there a time in your life when you were facing ‘rock bottom,’ and how did you begin your climb back up the mountain?
WALLACE: I spent most of my career as a business executive. My work required frequent travel. Writing opportunities were scarce, usually in the early morning and sometimes in a hotel room at night. Ten years ago, a large multinational corporation purchased the company I was with. I had not planned to retire and initially was not happy with the change in my status, but I suddenly had plenty of writing time. That year, I finished my first novel, The Unrighteous Brothers, and started on No Good Deed. With two books and several short stories now published, I’m happy about the change in my career.
FQ: I’m going to address an elephant in the room because there were many times I thought about your inspiration to write No Good Deed, particularly when the Golden Massage was raided and became a top story only to fade in a few days’ time. It reminded me of a similar occurrence in proximity to where I live. The shady happenings at Comet Pizza in Washington D.C. ‘Pizzagate,’ was a story that made quite a splash for a fair amount of time, and many familiar names were nuanced in many of the articles written. The disgusting part of this whole story is the victims were young children. Yet, many of the ‘players’ seemed to have gotten away with disgusting injustices and, to this day, walk about freely. In your opinion, does there come a time when good people simply become jaded and give up because ‘nobody is doing anything about the injustices?' What would you say to turn this sort of thinking around?
WALLACE: Our justice system is not perfect, and yes, too often perpetrators seem to escape their due punishment for their crimes. But we must not allow cynicism to paralyze us. I believe there will be a reckoning someday. Call it Karma, Judgment Day, or whatever suits your worldview, but I believe goodness and mercy will follow those who work to protect the vulnerable and those who are too often exploited.
FQ: Christopher embodies everything that is good in humanity. How did you identify with his character as you continued to layer him with such heroic traits and beautiful empathy?
WALLACE: Christopher has a moral compass instilled by his father, that causes him to “do the right thing.” I too was blessed with good parents. I have a friend who was raised in a dysfunctional environment with no father, and he is perhaps the most honest, empathetic person I know. He attributes his integrity to a man he met through Boy Scouts in his adolescence. We may never see the impact we might have on others, especially children and youth. I admire those who are quick to help others with no hesitation.
FQ: If asked to lecture a group of aspiring writers on the one element that is vital in penning the ultimate read, what would that advice be and why?
WALLACE: Write, write, write. Put your work in front of others, and seek honest, constructive feedback.
FQ: I want to thank you again for the pleasure of talking with you today and the opportunity to review your fantastic book. I would venture to guess you are already working on your next book. The ‘news’ certainly has lots of material. Are you able to share a teaser?
WALLACE: I’ve completed a sequel. This time, Christopher finds himself in the mountains of North Carolina, searching for a missing college student. His dog Lucy is with him, and other key characters show up late in the story. Once again, this story is inspired by actual events. I hope to publish this novel in late 2024.