17 May, 2017

The Expansion by Christoph Martin Blog Tour!

The Expansion
In politics and big business, truth is a matter of opinion.

Straddling the storyworlds of Panama, Washington and London, The Expansion follows British-born geomatic engineer Max Burns, whose revolutionary water-saving system wins him the esteemed position of head engineer for one of the 21st century’s most politically contested megaprojects: the expansion of the Panama Canal.

For Max it is a dream come true: not only is he able to work closely with construction giant and old high-school friend Godfredo Roco in one of the most beautiful tropical environments, but it’s the kind of job Max has been working toward his entire career.

Yet in the arena of global trade and diplomacy, stakes are high, and when a senior official of the Panama Canal Administration is found dead, Max finds himself in the frame for sabotage and murder, and at the centre of a web of political intrigue and betrayal that reaches far beyond the idyllic shores of Central America. The only person Max can trust is his new-found love, Karis Deen, a scientist with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Except Karis herself holds a secret that could not only destroy Max, but could change the entire balance of world power.

Author spotlight

The Expansion (the first of a series) was written by a collaborative writing team: Christoph Martin Zollinger and Libby O’Loghlin.

Christoph Martin Zollinger is a Swiss entrepreneur whose career spans legal, military, corporate and private enterprise. Christoph graduated with a law degree from the University of Zürich, after which time he went on to live and work in Panama in corporate and private enterprise for more than a decade. In 2012 he returned to Switzerland with his wife and children. He divides his time between his home in Zürich and a tiny Alpine village in Graubünden.

Libby O’Loghlin is an Australian novelist and prize-winning short story writer who has a career in narrative media production, including film and television, as well as print and digital publishing. She has lived in the UK, USA and Malaysia, and she now lives with her family in Switzerland.

Chris: The Expansion is a story that landed in my head one day when I was on a flight from Panama to Zürich in Switzerland (where I live). I started typing on my iPhone, and then six hours later I had an outline with the big plot points and about six characters that were larger than life and wouldn’t get out of my head! The story was of a scope that I realized would be best tackled by more than one mind, so I approached Libby O’Loghlin, who is an experienced novelist and screenwriting teacher.

Libby: I hadn’t ever written a collaborative novel before, and the experience was a huge adventure from start to finish. We are lucky because our strengths complement each other, and we don’t have personality clashes: we save all that for the characters in our books!

Christoph: And because The Expansion is the first of a series of novels in the political thriller genre (starting in Panama, with the next contentious arenas being the Arctic, then space and satellites and ‘the cloud’), we expect to be working together for some years, so it’s great to have a strong working dynamic as a basis for that.

Libby: We always respect each other’s inputs and creative ideas, and we discuss everything until we’re in agreement about which way it should go, with the bottom line being: Would this character do/say that? And will it move the story forwards?
Christoph: We also do some of our research by visiting places and talking to people, and that’s been a really big part of this process. We even travelled to Panama to see the site of the expansion of the canal itself, and that was an incredible experience!

Libby: I love meeting and working with people who have had completely different life experiences from me, because I learn so much about the world and humanity. For example, we talked with experts in the fields of environmental science, medicine, the military, the diplomatic corps, and some ex-gang members who at one point lived on the streets of Panama City; we learned so much from all these people. It’s very humbling.

You can join Christoph and Libby’s email list by going to the book’s website: theexpansionbook.com

And get a copy of the book here:

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