Mystery Scene continues its look at authors’ writing process. Today, Jason Pinter shares how he wrote The Castle, a political thriller.

Politics With a Twist

By Jason Pinter

pinterjason thecastle
How do you write a political thriller about a billionaire businessman who runs for president on a populist campaign, upturning the political landscape like a bull in a china shop, and not have it feel a little too familiar?

That was the question I faced while writing my new novel The Castle, which centers a young man, Remy Stanton who joins the campaign of billionaire Rawson Griggs and watches the country nearly tear itself apart.

So how do you make a story that’s led the news every day for two years feel fresh?

First off, you take everything people will think they know about the characters, and make them do a 180 degree turn.

So “you know who” in the White House appears to lack impulse control?

Well, there’s a method to Rawson Griggs’s madness. If Rawson appears unhinged—that may be how he wants to appear.

He’s thought this through. He knows how to play emotions—and voters—like a Stradivarius.

And what about Alena Griggs, the brilliant, poised heiress to one of the world’s biggest companies?

Does that person familiar? Well, not in this book.

You see, in The Castle, Alena may be the billionaire’s daughter, but she has some serious reservations what money and fame have done to her personal life.

She may be her father’s daughter, but Alena has serious reservations about following in his footsteps.

In fact, she married an accountant (yes, an accountant) because she wanted a normal life.

And how’s that regular dude holding up in the face of the media and political scrutiny? Not so great…

So, as a writer, how do you stay away from political reality?

Well, Rawson Griggs isn’t running for President as a Republican. But he’s not running as a Democrat either.

So how is he running? Let’s just say he’s looking toward America’s past to pave its future. What came before the tea party?

As for Remy Stanton, my protagonist, well, Remy is just like us. He works a soulless corporate job.

He didn’t expect to find himself in the eye of the hurricane of the most controversial election ever.

Part of Remy, a big part, loves the power and attention that comes with being in Rawson’s campaign. But when he starts to notice a nasty undercurrent, he may have to give it all up to protect the ones he loves. And that might just include an heiress.

The Castle is a thrilled that takes today’s headlines and your expectations, throws them in a blender, and presses puree.

 I hope you enjoy the read. And just remember: Politics is War.

Jason Pinter is the author of the new novel The Castle, as well as the bestselling author of five novels in his Henry Parker series, which have been nominated for the Thriller, Strand Critics, Shamus, Barry and RT Reviewers Choice awards, with over a million copies in print worldwide. He is also the founder and publisher of Polis Books. Visit him at or follow him at @JasonPinter.