Singapore-based copywriter Jeremy Tarrier is working on a manuscript called The Rise and Fall of an American in China, inspired by the experiences of former Morgan Stanley managing director Garth Peterson.
In a previous post, Tarrier described how he got to know Peterson and conceived the idea to turn his story into a book.
Tarrier was also kind enough to answer our questions about the project.
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What sorts of changes are you currently making to the manuscript, and why?
Originally The Rise and Fall of an American in China was to be Garth’s true story of his time in China and all matters up to his trial and sentencing. It was to be his chance to tell his version of events rather than what was published by the press and other organizations.
Situations change. Garth was concerned for the well-being of his family and was concerned that one or more of the persons and/or institutions involved may seek revenge/retribution if they were named in the book.
Following his sentencing Garth insisted that his name be completely removed from the book. Through a deal with the U.S. judicial system, Garth was given a relatively lenient sentence and he didn’t want to jeopardise that by antagonizing or criticizing “the system” in any way. Although this was a death-blow to the “true story,” it has given me the opportunity to enhance the reading experience from a first-person narrative to a more engaging version. The facts as expressed to me by Garth will still be represented but the names of individuals and institutions will be changed to protect the innocent (and not so innocent!) and certain events will be dramatized.
So would you now characterize the book more as a novel than a non-fiction account? Or half-truth, half-fiction?
I would characterize the book as a dramatized version of the original manuscript. Other than the changes of names mentioned earlier the facts will remain the same. So if I were to allocate percentages I would say the book will be 75-80% fact, with the remainder being the dramatization to add atmosphere and improve the reading experience.
Where are you now in the writing process? Are you currently seeking a publisher?
I’m currently revisiting the various earlier versions of the manuscript and compiling the most compelling parts to form the next version.
I plan to publish the paperback edition, and possibly a Kindle edition, via Amazon. I may publish other eBook formats directly from the book’s website.
Would you say your book is primarily a morality tale, or a story of clashing cultural norms?
Really, that is something for the reader to decide. For me, it is a fascinating account of a remarkable young man from the U.S. who created a life for himself in a foreign land, experienced a meteoric rise with all the ensuing trappings followed by an equally dramatic demise.
What are some of the main temptations faced by American executives in China?
Sorry, no spoiler alert here. You’ll have to read the book. What I can say is that there is a little bit of everything in there. Not quite sex, drugs and rock’n’roll but as Meatloaf sang “two out of three ain’t bad.”