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INTERVIEW: Jack B. Rochester author of Bridge Across the Ocean

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About the Author:

Jack B. Rochester has worked in publishing for five decades. He was a business and technology journalist and author for 30 years, pounding out 500+ articles and 16 books, two of which were bestsellers: The Naked Computer and Pirates of the Digital Millennium, both co-authored with John Gantz. He is author of the Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers literary trilogy. His most recent novel is Bridge Across the Ocean, a contemporary thriller, much of which is set in Taiwan. Rochester has a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature from California State University, Sonoma. He co-founded (with Caitlin M. Park) The Fictional Cafe, an online creative arts ‘zine, in 2013. His website is An avid recreational cyclist, he owns five bikes. He was raised in South Dakota and Wyoming, spent many years in California, and today lives with his wife in Lexington, Massachusetts. No moss grows beneath his feet.


Tell us about your latest book “Bridge Across the Ocean.

Bridge is the first bicycling literary thriller since Vikan Berberian’s The Cyclist in 2002. Bridge is the story of four MIT grads who start Smithworks, a successful and innovative bicycling company. They invent an extraordinary device that generates its own power to drive a bike. They are heading for Taiwan to make a business deal with Joyful Bike, the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer, who wants it for their revolutionary city bike. Days before they are to depart, one of them is killed by a hit-and-run driver. Brokenhearted, they decide to soldier on and fly to Taipei, but on a layover in Tokyo are set upon by two business intelligence espionage agents. They meet Jung-Shan Lai, head of business development for Joyful. She and Jed Smith, CEO of Smithworks, fall in love. The main themes are entrepreneurship, business innovation, business IP espionage, romance — and bicycling, of course.

Is there any story behind the title? 

Of course. The bridge on the cover is the Penghu Great Bridge. It’s in the Penghu Islands, off the coast of the island of Taiwan. It crosses the South China Sea (aka the Strait of Taiwan) for about two miles, connecting two small islands, Siyu and Baisha. The beautiful arch you see displays poetry written by Chiang Kai-Shek. I’ve ridden my bike here, and so do the characters in the novel. It’s a metaphor for the business relationship that grows between Smithworks and Joyful Bike, but also between Jed and Jung-Shan. Be sure to visit my website, to watch the video of the bridge. 

What actually got you into the field of writing?

I’ve loved stories since I was four years old, and grew to love telling them. My favorite aphorism is “A good story, well told.” That’s what I love to do and hope it’s what my readers love, too. I have a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature; after college I spent about a dozen years working as an editor at several publishing companies. I grew wistful working on books written by others and so gave that up to begin writing my own books. My first was a national bestseller.

What are the best and worst parts about being an author in your opinion?

It’s really hard, lonely work. First drafts are a grind, so I have a methodology that has no room for writer’s block. The fun is all in revising and improving; for me, it’s like spreading frosting on a cake one layer at a time. Holding a book with my name on the cover is the most satisfying thrill in my life, and even though I’ve now seen it on 19 books, it never grows old.  

Any advice for budding authors? 

Don’t let your idea for a novel remain in your head. Start gathering ideas, themes, personalities, scenes. I used to hand-write these in Moleskines, but now I capture them in Notes on my iPhone. Over time, it will all gel into a plot of sorts. Start writing. My approach is to begin with a single definitive sentence, followed with a one-page description of the entire novel, and that followed by chapter descriptions no longer than one page. Now use those chapter descriptions to flesh out chapters. Write every day! When you finish the complete first draft, set it aside for at least a month. Read it without holding a pen in your hand. Then read it again and begin editing. You’ll be amazed at how the manuscript gets better and better. Revise as many times as necessary, until you’re totally satisfied that it’s ready to show another human being. 

Want to know more about the book? Then check out my review here:

Bridge Across the Ocean by Jack B. Rochester



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