G. Hugh Bodell
I’m G. Hugh Bodell, I was born in The Bronx, NY in the early days of WWII and attended Catholic schools through college, all boys from the sixth grade.
On graduating from Cardinal Hayes High School in 1956, I attended Manhattan College where I earned a BBA in accounting. After a tour of duty with the U.S. Army Artillery, I started my career in 1962, as an accountant with Haskins and Sells, one of the international accounting firms that were then referred to as the Big Eight.
By 1979, I had progressed through a career in finance and the use of technology in financial management to the position of Chief Financial Officer of Citibank’s Visa and MasterCard business.
In the first half of the 1980s, I oversaw, as Chief Executive Officer, the growth of a $459 Million regional mortgage company to a $7.5 Billion Federal Mortgage Bank, one of the largest in the country at that time.
In 1985, together with my wife Susan, a computer scientist, I founded a consulting firm specializing in technology-based solutions to processing and security issues in the Financial Services Industry. From 1985 through 2000, the firm serviced the largest financial organizations in the world, including, Barclays Bank, J.P. Morgan & Co., Citicorp, Merrill Lynch & Co., Credit Suisse, Prudential, Standard & Poor’s and ING Barings.
In the year 2000 two events that were to have a major impact occurred, my wife left the company to pursue (successfully) a complete career reinvention as an actress, model and author and I won the bid on a long term contract (six years) to reengineer the way the United Nations moves money and information globally. The UN contract and my wife’s new career required us to be in New York City every day for long hours so we rented an apartment on East 46th Street
During the six years of the contract a scandal erupted at the UN surrounding the Oil for Food Program. This was a UN administered effort that permitted the embargoed Hussein run Iraq, isolated after the invasion of Kuwait and the first Iraq war, to sell Oil to the world. The funds were to be used to buy food and medical supplies to provide the Iraqi people with the necessities of life, thereby reducing the impact on them of the embargo.
October 27, 2005, a committee headed by Paul Volker issued a report of the audit conducted into the corruption in the program. It was almost 700 pages but the real meat for me was in two sentences. “…the Government of Iraq sold $64.2 billion of oil to 248 companies. In turn, 3,614 companies sold $34.5 billion of humanitarian goods to Iraq.”
The difference between the income from oil sales and the outgo to buy humanitarian goods was 29.7 Billion Dollars. I was deeply involved in the movement of money by the UN and I couldn’t stop asking the question, “What happened to that $29,700,000,000?”
Sometime in the late fall of 2005 I was leaving my apartment building for work by way of the rear entrance through a small park on 45th Street. I was stopped by security personnel because a man had jumped out of the twentieth story of one of the buildings that like mine, bordered the park. When I looked out through the door I saw the body splattered in the park (20 stories is a long drop). However, more disturbing was the fact that on his way down a golden silk robe had been torn from his body and was caught in the branches of the forty-foot high trees that were all over the little park. As I walked to the front entrance of the building I kept thinking to myself “Who the hell puts on a silk robe to jump out a window, I don’t think it was a suicide”
Over the thirty years that I was in the consulting business I traveled about 50% of the time and read an untold number of mysteries.
From that day in the fall of 2005, I knew that there was a great mystery in connecting those last two events, 29.7 billion bucks gone missing and a guy dropped out of his twentieth story apartment window.
The contract with the UN ended September 30, 2006 and on November 6, 2006, I decided to reinvent myself as a mystery writer and connect those two events with the workings of my imagination.
I have never looked back.
I was fortunate in that through my wife’s established associations in the media industry I was introduced to an experienced agent who, on reading my mystery had nothing but praise and promise. On meeting with three publishers I came away with a great many trepidations about signing a contract with guys much bigger than me and with much deeper pockets when I could not pin them down as to what they were going to do to promote my book. Everything I heard and saw led me to believe that they interpreted their responsibility to begin and end with getting my book into about five hundred bookstores across the country and Amazon. They would look to me to provide most of the marketing and promotional horsepower. The line of all three when I questioned this issue was essentially, “Well after all you are an unknown; most of our promotional dollars goes to proven authors.”
I thanked them and decided to seek alternatives. I will add here that I received a great deal of encouragement from my agent. He felt that the publishing industry was on the cusp of its greatest upheaval and that they were about to experience the revolution of disintermediation that music experienced in the preceding ten years. It was late 2009.
It is now 2011 and here are the results of our (my wife joined me in this independent publishing endeavor) efforts:
We have independently published my first mystery Treachery In Turtle Bay,
The sequel Treachery In Turtle Bay II and
Look For The Hook (My wife, Susan Jane Bodell’s self help book)
We now publish all three via our publishing company Sprig Media Group
All three are available in Trade Paperback on Amazon, on Barnes & Noble internet site, through Barnes & Noble stores, through hundreds of other bookstores (via IngramLightning Source POD) and to Libraries via Baker & Taylor.
In Kindle e-book format in the Amazon Kindle Store, e-Pub e-book format at the Barnes & Noble Internet Store, e-Pub e-book format from Google Editions.
We have sales every day from somewhere in the world. We market globally and our distribution partners provide global delivery.
We speak at libraries, book clubs, bookstores, spas and resorts. Susan also runs a program on Look for the Hook in rehabilitation centers.
…And on November 6, 2011 we published Nikita, my third novel in the Anna & Hugh Masterson series. http://www.thebooknikita.com
What began as an attempt to write a simple mystery soon escalated into what has become the most exciting adventure of my career.