Roderick Vincent is the author of a dystopian thriller titled “The Cause.” For this interview, the debut novelist discussed what drove him to take a huge risk and write a controversial thriller set in 2022.
Vincent said that the book title was inspired by a slogan of the Loyal Nine, a secret political organization formed in 1765 to protest the Stamp Act. The Loyal Nine eventually merged with the Sons of Liberty to stand against a tyrannical England.
The idea behind “The Cause” began with a single question. Vincent described it as, “What one event could have an impact and be the catalyst for a second American revolution, yet still be realistic and not require a huge leap of faith from the reader’s perspective?
“I also wanted to have a counter voice to the revolutionaries. I came up with NSA Director Montgomery and embarked on a hell of a lot of research concerning the NSA. I didn’t want Montgomery to be a stereotype and hope readers will sympathize with his perspective too, which is that anarchy is not the answer either. My hope is the novel might have some inherent debating points.”
Vincent sees himself as a very concerned citizen and felt an obligation to write this book. He said, “Through fiction, authors can make a statement about society and create awareness through entertainment. In that sense, I wanted to take topical issues of today such as financial repression, crony capitalism, militarization of the police, robotics, the NSA and project them into the future. George Orwell wrote about the fully evolved totalitarian state in 1984. My intention was to write something futuristic and dystopian that was pre-Orwellian where the shape of a totalitarian state was still forming.”
“I wanted the story to have topical elements to it, intriguing characters, and finally to blur both sides of the story. One of the characters says, ‘We are living in a world where moral climates have no atmosphere.’ Is he right? Is this what our future will look like. Nowadays, the ‘Tree of Liberty’ is having its leaves pruned with the militarization of the police and the NSA essentially tearing up the Constitution. I’m gazing a bit into the future and taking a somewhat pessimistic, perhaps eerily progressive, view of topical events today.”
Another element Vincent said he wanted to incorporate into the novel was a variety of voices. As a trained classical guitarist, Vincent feels music has helped shape his writer’s voice. He said, “Voice is extremely important to me in finding character. I need to hear the lyricism of a character’s internal thoughts, whether they are soft as snow, or hard as nails. More rounded characters have both.”
That voice and variety, said Vincent, exists in music as well as writing. “The musical voice of composer Heitor Villa-Lobos is very different from the voice of J.S. Bach. But, within the breadth of each composer’s work, one will find differing use of voice, each evoking differing moods within the listener. In that sense, I consider voice a rich instrument to the larger symphony of narrative.”
Vincent describes “The Cause” as an unusual thriller. He said, “It’s brainy, somewhat in the vein of John le Carré. It still has its share of action, but don’t buy it thinking it is an airplane read or you might be disappointed. As well, the possibility exists that this book might draw a lot of criticism. A statement against the status quo has the potential to make one seem unpatriotic. I’m taking that risk, and it’s one I’m willing to take, especially since I’m living outside of the US now looking in.
“I do believe it’s easier to perceive how things are changing for the worse living outside of the US and then coming back. I do believe the US is resilient and can survive through thick and thin. But, some tough decisions are going to have to be made going forward. A lot of America’s problems are still hidden underneath the covers. As the years creep forward, they will be harder and harder to hide. When I do come home one day, I hope it’s not to an America in flames as ‘The Cause’ portends.”
For more information
Learn more about Roderick Vincent on his website at roderickvincent.com.