After launching technical and management books, Jonar Nader ventures into fiction by writing Z, the novel. What was the reason for writing this book, and what does it cover. Jonar speaks with Walkley-Award winning journalist Ghassan Nakhoul. To listen to an excerpt from the radio broadcast, click on the green arrow below. This broadcast is spoken in Arabic.
Below is an English transcript of the Arabic interview.
If you would like to read the Arabic version, please click here for a PDF file.
Radio Program ‘The Youth & The Future’.
An interview with Jonar Nader.
The author ‘Jonar Nader’ launched a new book whose title is not more than one letter, ‘Z’. The book is a novel about today’s most important problems; terrorism. At the external and internal covers of the book, the reader will find comments from leaders in many intelligence bodies, like CIA, FBI, KPG, and others. Some of these comments said: ‘The book is shocking and sleep depriving’, ‘Jonar’s book makes you wonder where this world is going to?’ and ‘Jonar has created a freighting prophecy’.
The book is made of 450 medium size pages, and was published by ‘Plutonium’. This new book is what we are going to talk about with ‘Jonar Nader’.
Host: Jonar, first allow me to congratulate you on your new book. But before we talk about the details of the book, I would like to ask that since it is known about you to be a non-fiction writer, why did you write a fiction book?
Jonar Nader: In the beginning of the book, I have written ‘This book is a novel for legal reasons’. I love intellectual writing, and I love to write things that would make people think, and I have learned that if I wanted to tell people something important, then it is better to put it in a story, then they will understand it better and faster, also, they will not take it as preaching, which would make them accept it better.
When you start lecturing people, some would listen and some wouldn’t. But when you tell them a story, they will all get along with the story and will want to know the ending of it.
So, this is a matter of style, and a matter of protection as will. People who write political books and get death threats because of them, thinks they are the only ones who get such threats, when in fact I got into problems for writing technical or management books.
The question is not about writing fiction or non-fiction books, when I want to write a new book, I always ask myself if the world needs a new book, or when I listen to a new song, I wonder if the world needs a new song.
I believe books should be about something more than entertainment, or information only, the author of the book should bring new thoughts to the society by his books.
Host: These days, people are taking fiction books seriously, like they did with ‘Deviancy’s Code’ that was a best seller for months. So why is this trend among people?
Jonar Nader: I think that in the past, fiction stories use to be told for entertainment reasons, because people back then didn’t have other entertainment options, and they wanted to learn about the world and to live in a fairy tale story. But now days, people don’t need fiction stories, people are so spoiled that it is very difficult to please them. Even a movie would not be a success if they didn’t spend much money on it. That is why when you are writing a new book, you need to capture people’s minds and hearts, and to do that, you need to tell them something that some will believe and other wont, so you would take them to other worlds while keeping them attached to their real worlds. Which is a very important point, for example, if I told people in the story that I have a car that runs on water, they will not believe or live in the story, because they only know cars the run on petrol. That is why; I need to give them something they can relate to, and give them the proper introductions as will.
The book is made of 450 pages, and it includes more than 3000 thoughts that needs research, and if even one of these thoughts was wrong, I will lose credibility and would fall in what is called ‘Suspension of belief’
Host: Which means that even in fiction books, you need to include real facts. But before we go into the details of the book, there is a digital clock on the cover; it is not a bomb, is it?
Jonar Nader: It took me one and a half year to come up with this cover, and it is the first cover of its kind. It includes a battery, and when it goes through the scanner in the airport, it looks like a bomb with the battery and the microchip and the other electrical gadgets in it. When I was in the airport with copies of the book, I couldn’t wait to see the look on the airport employee when he sees the book on the scanner. They were sitting watching the screen like they do every day, and when my bag went into the machine, the guy jumped on the screen watching, and 5 or 6 people gathered to see what was in the bag. So I thought it seems that I am going to be sent to jail before even publishing the book.
Host: This electronic thing in the cover has something to do with the story, so we will not talk about it.
Jonar Nader: It is a very simple device, but everything in the book is related to the story, and it includes many clues and other things that need attention. It is not just a book you read and put aside, because every page in it makes you think some more.
Host: Ok, let’s summarize the book, and why did you say it is a novel for legal reasons? Were you trying to talk about a certain person?
Jonar Nader: You and I have spoken many times about the fact that I don’t believe what they say about the world has changed after 9/11. So I wondered what could be the worst terrorism act.
Host (Joking): So I gave you the inspiration and the suggestion about the book?
Jonar Nader (Joking): You can say that you gave me the inspiration, but if you said you gave me the suggestion they might send you to jail instead.
But I have said many times that people don’t pay attention to what happens around them, and wondered that if 9/11 didn’t change the world, what could? And then thought what if someone who has my technological knowledge, and the heart and mind of a terrorist who would bomb airplanes from a religious prospective not caring about the law, what can such person do? That was the story of the book, the act of terrorism that no one would think of.
And then asked myself another questions. What if I was offered billions and billions of dollars, or was made a president or an angle for a year or two, and was asked to solve the problems and wars of the world, what would I be able to achieve? Would I be able to solve the wars, the hunger, the slavery, and would be able to save children who die daily of hunger, wars and diseases? The answer was no, I would not be able to find the solution.
So the book was about the worst act of terrorism, and the solution.
Host: So it is a story about a person with all the characteristics you mentioned, and that can be any one from the society.
Jonar Nader: When I hear people talking about a criminal who killed 3 kids, and they call him “animal” or that this was a barbaric act. I wonder why people think that only people with animal inside them would act in such a criminal way. We are all the same, so why when someone does something like that, we think that he is different, that is why the book is about a group of average people who end up doing bad things. Which makes you wonder how the terrorist, the crazy person or the criminal is different than us?
Host: What is also interesting is that I have read many comments about the book for senior employees in intelligence bodies from around the world, saying things like the book is sleep depriving and one actually said ‘Jonar have put the civilized world on notice’ what drove them to say things like that?
Jonar Nader: The history of my writing taught me that people tend not to believe what I write, not only that, that can also be very disrespectful, and time usually prove to them that I am right. Even when I wrote about management, people didn’t believe until they saw the companies that collapsed the corruptions and legal cases, etc…
Now I write about serious matters like politics, technologies, crime, corruption and greed, and I knew people wouldn’t believe, that is why I sent copies of my book to all these officials in the intelligence authorities, churches, hospitals, judges, scientific institutions, and others to get their opinions about the book so I can tell the one who would make fun of me, look at what these professionals and specialists think before you comment, and ask yourself why did they all say that it was a scary book. It means that if the book didn’t scare you, then you should read it again.
Host: The big surprise in the book is that you used countdown in numbering the book pages, and have numbered the chapters from A to Z. Why is that?
Jonar Nader: The reason is that the story is decreasing not increasing, and while the story is coming to an end, I am trying to show that the world is also coming to an end. As for the chapters number alphabetically, this is an important part, because it has something to do with ‘Generation X’ which was the generation who helped the governments by spending their money on purchasing and building houses, etc…. the spenders generation. Then there is ‘Generation Y’, which didn’t like the spending process, instead, they copied everything without paying for it, you see them now copying CDs of music and movies or downloading them from the internet. They don’t have any respect for the intellectual property.
So I wondered, if this is how these generations were, how will ‘Generation Z’ be? The story talks about this generation and how it is going to be a suppressed and controlled generation, because the corporations are not happy with the way ‘Generation Y’ is acting by copying and stealing from them, because that is causing them money. So they are going to develop systems which will protect their products in all areas.
Even in medications, people with chronic diseases will have to take their medications on weekly or daily basis, for the rest of their lives, and this medication is not necessarily going to cure them, it is more likely going to hide their sickness for a while so they continue on taking their medication and paying the corporations.
So, they control people by forcing them to take medications for ever, and limit them by preventing them from taking medications from someone else by designing the bills to only suit the genes and bloods types of the patient.
Host: I noticed that you are giving away your CV to the media with the book, and in it you spoke about how did you fire your first gun when you were 6 years old, were trying to show that you are a tough guy?
Jonar Nader: It is weird to say tough guy, I thought you will say poor guy.
Host: I noticed the poor guy point, but there was an insinuation that you are a tough guy, so are you a tough guy?
Jonar Nader: I am a tough guy using my pin not a gun. I always say that the tough guy is usually the nicest guy, and that you should pay attention to nice and generous people, because from these people are the most dangerous ones. The one who keeps on threatening is not likely the one who is going to do anything, because if you want to do something, do it, don’t talk about it.
I wasn’t trying to say that I was a tough guy, I just wanted to say that the writer of this book is not an ordinary man, and that is why the book is not an ordinary book, it is a special book. And that is why I consulted the military, intelligence, medicine and church people and judges before I published it.
I included my email at the end of the book, and asked from readers to send me their comments, and I receive emails late at night from people telling me that they don’t know what to believe and what not to believe, and when they read the comments from the different specialists, they understand that the book is working on more than one level.
Fourteen year-olds can read this book and enjoy the action in it, and the people with political or military or technical interests can read the book and enjoy it. This is why; this book was the most difficult book I wrote, because it was like I am writing more than one book to different readers groups.
Host: Do you think that you will get any offers to make a movie out of the book?
Jonar Nader: I think that the book is a great candidate to be a movie, but there should be enough interest and time. I am currently reading a book of 500 pages about movie contracts, so when the time comes, I would be aware of everything related to this matter.
Host: Thank you for your time, and wishing you all the best with your new book. ‘Z’
Jonar Nader: Thank you Ghassan.
Host: The author ‘Jonar Nader’ who wrote a new book called ‘Z’, that talk about today’s biggest problems and mainly terrorism. With that we end the youth program ‘Youth and the future’.
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