The Big Idea: Alex Shvartsman

When opportunity comes knocking, author Alex Shvartsman is quick to answer the call. Follow along in his Big Idea for the second novel in his Conradverse Chronicles, Kakistocracy, to see just how he started crafting this sequel.


Sometimes you have to work at coming up with the big idea for your next-in-series, and sometimes the idea shows up on your doorstep, inevitable and undeniable, and demands to be written.

When I first began writing humorous urban fantasy stories set in Conrad Brent’s arcane version of New York City, I wanted to populate the setting with some larger-than-life Big Apple personalities. One minor character was Bradley Holcomb, a real estate developer with a reality TV show and a penchant for gaudy gilded environs. This was long before Holcomb’s inspiration ventured into politics, and the character mostly served as local color and comic relief.

Fast forward a decade or so, when I was completing the first Conradverse novel, and suddenly Holcomb’s presence was no longer funny, at least not in the same way. It carried connotations and subtext that hadn’t originally been intended, because when you write a setting that so closely resembles the real world, sometimes the real world has its own ideas. I considered getting rid of this character entirely, but ultimately I chose to keep him, as the concept for the sequel was already taking shape in my mind.

What if a vain, amoral, and incompetent swindler gets elected mayor of New York City?

Kakistocracy: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Powell’s

Listen to chapter 1. Visit the author’s website. Follow him on Facebook.

Find out more at: The Big Idea: Alex Shvartsman

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