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Michael Neal

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Member Since: Mar, 2003

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Interactive Novel
by Michael Neal   

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Literary Fiction

Publisher:  iUniverse ISBN-10:  0595261566 Type: 


Copyright:  Jan 1 2003

Barnes and Noble
Interactive Novel

With headlines full of scandals involving CEOs and billion dollar deals, names such as Enron, WorldCom, and Qwest echo through Wall Street where investors are more than a little skittish. So what happens on the other side of the business world—the world of startup companies and entrepreneurs? Computer scientist and author Michael Neal provides a glimpse into this world as two young entrepreneurs navigate their way through the complex maze of venture capitalists and professional managers.

Mark Lindsey’s life takes a sharp turn after his father-in-law and close friend, a famous novelist, dies suddenly of a heart attack. Mark, a software engineer, begins to evaluate the direction of his own life. Then he finds himself caught in the middle of a political struggle within his company that costs him his job. He reacts by founding Interactive Novel—a startup company to help authors write novels collaboratively over the Internet. Sandi McKnight, a marketer and Mark’s new partner, struggles to find success in the male-dominated world of CEOs. In order to make their dream of a successful and meaningful company a reality, they must fight their way through business planning, angel funding, outside investors, and growth that takes them beyond their dreams.

Mark Lindsey put his laptop into the docking station and turned it on. He did not look forward to syncing his email. It had been a week since the previous update, and he expected to have three to four hundred new messages. This would not be an enjoyable start to his Monday morning. Last week had been tough. His father-in-law Ben had died suddenly of a heart attack, and he had packed his wife and kids in the car and driven to Kansas. Then, early on the trip, his modem had fried. In retrospect, it was good he could not work. Mark had been close to Ben.

Ben Summerville was an accomplished novelist with nine books published over his lifetime. He was also a professor at Fort Hays State University. The dual careers had made for a comfortable living the last ten years. Mark could recall how fascinated he had been to read the books as they were written. Ben liked “live feedback” on his stories. Mark was proud to have made suggestions that found their way into two books. Now Ben was gone. Mark was not sure how to deal with death. He had known so few people to die in his thirty-five years. He did know that it was painful and confusing.

Confusing? He wondered what that really meant. He sat in his chair and looked around his office. His old couch had been pushed against the wall while he was gone. He liked the array of plaques hung neatly on the wall above it. His favorite was a United States Patent plaque he had received earlier in the year. The office was otherwise sparsely decorated. He liked it that way with only two quirky pictures and several software design diagrams pinned to the white walls.

As Mark’s eyes returned to his computer screen, he tried to bring himself back into his work life. It was 6:30 a.m. and still quiet in the building. Things typically did not get going in earnest until around 9:30 a.m. Mark liked this quiet time to catch up on projects and plan the day ahead. This morning, however, he could only think of Ben and what it meant for him to be gone.

Mark noticed a message had appeared on his laptop screen. It said: “Network Problems—Contact Information Services (IS).” He had a short reprieve from all those emails. He then sat up and laughed as he had almost forgotten that IS reported to him. Therefore, he was responsible for the network problems. Somehow, though, it did not seem like the end of the world on this particular morning. Instead of reaching for his phone and calling someone, he reached into his portable refrigerator for a Coke. Mark liked to drink a cold soda for breakfast. He called it “the software engineer’s version of coffee” when he received the occasional odd look. Even though Mark was now Vice President of Research and Development, he still considered himself a software engineer.

Professional Reviews

Writer's Showcase Review
“Interactive Novel is an intriguing story about protagonists Mark Lindsey and Sandi McKnight and their ventures with their own start-up Internet company. From partnership and planning to the fast track of wealth and notoriety, the story collaborately unfolds.

The author’s writing style is clever and creative. This is an experienced writer with a knack for story telling. The author pays particular attention to detail and description, which is evident throughout. The author also creates some eclectic and inimitable characters as well, which brings the story to life.

The manuscript starts strong and will keep readers attention throughout. Those readers interested in venture capitalists, financing and starting their own company will find this to be of particular importance. Although this is a work of fiction there are some interesting concepts and ideas at play throughout.”

Colorado CEO
"Interactive Novel takes us into the real world of high-tech entrepreneurs--their dreams, uncertainties, triumphs, and collisions with harsh reality. For me, reading Interactive Novel brought back memories of startups I have been a part of, and reminded me that new companies are adventures that we share with our friends and families, and that enrich us beyond any financial return."

Colorado CEO
“Interactive Novel sweeps you up into the world of a high tech startup and doesn't let you down until you've been through it all. I recommend this book to anyone who wants the adventure of a start-up. For those of you who already have been there, you will find yourself nodding your head with each twist and turn. In either case, you will enjoy the ride of Interactive Novel.”

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