BLACK FRIDAYS is not an autobiographical novel, but the world of Wall Street is one I know well, having worked there for over twenty years. I was a Managing Director in the bond trading and underwriting divisions of Paine Webber, and later, Jefferies & Co. Like my character, Jason Stafford, I was the first from my class at Columbia Business School to become a Managing Director. Before returning to graduate school, I supported myself in a variety of ways while pursuing a career as a professional actor working with the Shakespeare Theatre of Washington, the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival as well as in films and on television.
The story of BLACK FRIDAYS comes from two sources. The scam described is similar to a conspiracy uncovered by the FBI about ten years ago, code-named Operation Wooden Nickel. I followed the press coverage closely at the time as I knew some of the players involved. The temptations that Jason succumbs to, and that drag down other characters in the book, are well known to me.
The story of Jason and his autistic son is also tangentially personal. I have a cousin with an autistic child, and another with Asperger’s Syndrome — a related malady. Latest figures indicate that 1 in 70 male children are now being diagnosed with conditions on the autism spectrum. It is an epidemic which will soon touch all of us in some way. In the eighteen months I spent researching and writing the book, I developed a great understanding of and empathy for the life of a parent to an autistic child.
A second novel will feature many of the characters from BLACK FRIDAYS. While the story of Jason and his son will once again be featured, the scandal that Jason investigates is different, focusing this time on the failure of a large Ponzi scheme and how various individuals are affected.