These are the places that A. Jay Collins has visited that contribute to the current story lines of the books he has written. Hover over each location on the map to find out more about how they contribute to the books.
Runs ORB, the Organization for Restructuring Business.
The senior field protagonist for ORB.
A supporting role to Matthew and the daughter of Murray.
Plato and Margaret
James and Jenny
ORB field operatives
Wife of Murray Stockman and an ex-CSIS operative.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am not a person who has ever really recognized business skulduggery at the levels I have been involved in. I am told it does go on, but I don’t go looking for it, so I am not attuned to such things. The issues that were brought to my attention seemed trivial, and I left it to others to resolve. But, eventually, as I got out of the trenches and into the boardroom, some things just didn’t sit well for me. Clearly I had matured – or perhaps I had more time on my hands to reflect. Now, it was as though I was being unwittingly caught up in situations where decisions were being made that were clearly on the edge of illegality and, frankly, beyond my ability to properly decode at the time they were happening. But, I had seemed to come to that point where I recognized where that edge was, and it was from that point that I realised there were stories to be told.
It was really my third book, Black Gold, that took the longest to write – over 40 years, based on circumstances that are dear to me – people I knew, circumstances I have been involved in – but, I was too young to put it all together.
Research has always been a passion for me. It’s something that my training as an engineer taught me. Research, research.research – and at the end of it, one realises that one’s knowledge is less than when one started. There are so many questions one has to ask oneself when to stop, write and carry on. The fact is, there are a lot of researchers, but not many can put the whole thing together as a comprehensive storyline that can teach as well as entertain. Thank God for the Micheners, the Wilbur Smiths, the Winchesters and so many great authors/teachers of the world. I love them all and acknowledge I could never aspire to their greatness.
It wasn’t until the second novel, Nazi Gold – Latitude 55, that I thought there could be a series. I am a bit embarrassed by the name of Matthew Black, since I had always thought of him as being Matt Black, but as time went on I thought this was a little ridiculous. So I stayed with Matthew Black and now I can’t change. I also don’t like the acronym ORB but, again, I don’t think I can change at this point. I think it’s really cheesy but at the same time it is what it does and what I intend it to do. ‘Change government, change industry, create a semblance of normality that doesn’t ripple the fabric ….blah, blah, blah.”
My characters are all based on fact and experience. Most of the time they are real with their names changed. I would love to use their real names – but I can’t. I cannot conceive of the possibility of just creating these characters from nothing. I am not that creative. Give me something to start with and I can take it from there. Take Max, from Black Gold. He was real, as bold and as ridiculous as I describe him and he would be even more eccentric if one met him. He is a truly cartoon character of immense proportions – a French Legionairre to me, a character so ridiculously real as to be almost impossible to describe – but he existed. He, like many of the characters I include in my novels, is impossible to believe as a real person. But I ask you to reflect on your life and try to remember those larger-than-life characters we have all come across. They are so difficult to recreate – aren’t they?
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