Leonardo Wild’s series of paradigm shift thrillers starts with THE GALAPAGOS AGENDA, his debut novel in English (he has 10 other books published in Spanish and German.)
This month, the author answered a few questions for The Big Thrill about what drove him to start the series, and why he chose THE GALAPAGOS AGENDA as the first installment.
What is a paradigm shift thriller?
Paradigm shift thrillers are a new sub-genre within the thriller genre.
They are types of thriller where not only the main character will go through a character arc—that is, come to a realization that will change his or her view of the world and regain a new form of balance—but where also the reader will experience an arc in understanding about an aspect of the world that hasn’t been reported to the system.
We are all victims of our paradigms. What we don’t know can—and will—hurt us.
Our ignorance regarding certain aspects of the world and society that we take for granted or as “normal” has turned us into the slaves of our own delusions. Ignorance isn’t bliss, but a form of massive self-deception.
The idea is that in each novel readers will experience a shift in perception one of the large pillars that hold our world upright: politics, banking, money, education, health. They are bound to find something out they didn’t know before. In a way, we are all victims, we just aren’t aware of it.
What kind of paradigm shift thriller would THE GALAPAGOS AGENDA be?
A mix of political and psychological, of course, blended in with adventures set in the Galapagos Islands. The thematic logline for me was: “What if we are governed by psychopaths?” The science behind it is known as “Political Ponerology.”
Tell us about THE GALAPAGOS AGENDA.
The gifted son of a corporate tycoon—Max Villalobos—has a dream: to make it on his own, even if that means going against his powerful father who has far different plans when it comes to Max’s future.
In order to prove who is “boss,” the infamous billionaire, Roy Villalobos, stages Max’s own kidnapping using their personal Chief of Security. The plan backfires with a near escape, and an explosion that kills Max’s girlfriend, turning the tables on Max’s original plans.
With the cloud of murder hanging over his head, Roy Villalobos offers to sort things out for Max, suggesting his son disappear until the air clears. But when Max arrives aboard the Galapagos Treasure on his way to the Cook Islands, he discovers that not only has he become Suspect #1, but his murdered beloved just happens to be an undercover MI-5 agent on a mission to infiltrate the family and investigate Max’s father for multiple crimes.
Why did you start the series with THE GALAPAGOS AGENDA? What’s in store for the future?
It’s a hard series to write, because my plan is that you can do it indistinctly. It doesn’t matter whether you start with book one or book five. Each one is an independent story, and though yes, you will probably get more out of reading them in chronological order, each one is a topic all its own.
I had an early version written in Spanish, back in 2006, a few chapters. When I joined ITW in 2008, I’d made up my mind to try to break into the English market and I thought this would be a good book to begin with.
I’d been publishing in Germany. They were translating my English manuscripts and publishing them in German. But with marriage, living in Ecuador, and publishing in a language I wasn’t writing in, made it harder to publish, sort of like breaking the rules of engagement.
Now THE GALAPAGOS AGENDA has been published and is currently on sale as an eBook. A print version has also been planned. My agent, Ken Atchity, took me on because he saw the film potential for this story. If anything comes out of that, though, is still to be seen. I know Hollywood is really a toss of a coin. Too many variables, many of them nothing to do with a good story.
You also write screenplays
Yes, and scripts. Mostly corporate stuff. Documentaries, TV spots, “institutionals.” I did two feature-length documentaries and have written screenplays, so I have some idea of how that world works.
Why psychopaths? We’ve all read about them, criminals, serial killers …
Not serial killers, no.
The issue of psychopaths—true psychopaths, also known as “corporate” or “clinical” psychopaths as opposed to “criminal”—has been a rising subject of great interest in some circles. Only a handful are of the criminal sort. Most true psychopaths are out there running around loose and acting like normal people. You find them in Wall Street, as top-tier CEOs of large companies, in the legal and health industries, in politics, etc.
When I saw the magnitude of their un-doings in our world—the top layer make serial killers look like Peter Pan since they are the single greatest cause of human mass-extermination—I realized this has to be shared with as many people as possible.
A few close friends have been victims of clinical psychopaths. In fact, I had to deal with some of those endearing people myself—except, I hadn’t realized at the time what they were. Had I known what I’ve included in THE GALAPAGOS AGENDA, certain things would’ve been different.
Or I like to think so. With them, you never know.
Leonardo Wild is a professional author with 11 books and 200 published articles as well as 42 produced scripts. Although he wears many hats, writing has been his livelihood and passion since age twelve.
Currently the CEO and co-owner of a company dedicated to environmental solutions, he has travelled extensively: sailed across the Atlantic and the Pacific—was the skipper of a million-dollar yacht at the age of 24 in New Zealand and in 1989 survived cyclone Harry, a Category 4. He walked three times over the Andes into the Amazon jungle with Native Indians, took part in gold survey expeditions in Ecuador’s rain forests, cycled across South America, built wooden houses, advised Ecuador’s Central Bank on currency design; these, and many other experiences, are invariably being weaved into his writing.
To learn more about Leonardo, please visit his website.