The Secret Billionaire
by Teymour Shahabi
GENRE: Young Adult Mystery
March 24. Billionaire Lyndon Surway takes off in his private plane and never returns.
His will leaves the entirety of his wealth—one of the largest fortunes in history—to his “dear friend Lucian Baker.” Only there is no trace of anyone by that name. And the fortune itself is nowhere to be found.
Andrew Day knows nothing of wealth and privilege, but he won a scholarship to study at the most exclusive school in the country, in the town where the mystery, decades later, remains unsolved. There he discovers friendship and danger with the aristocratic Cameron and the beautiful Olivia. But watchful eyes follow him everywhere… Until, one night, he comes across a secret that will change his life. As he begins to unravel what really happened to the Surway fortune, the question remains: who is Lucian Baker?
Winner: Northern California Book Festival, Best Young Adult Book, 2016
Winner: Great Midwest Book Festival, Best Young Adult Book, 2016
Winner: Florida Book Festival, Best Young Adult Book, 2016
THE METROPOLITAN TIMES
June 24, 196…
At nine o’clock yesterday morning, following ninety days of fruitless searching, billionaire industrialist and businessman Lyndon Surway was officially pro-nounced dead. Mr. Surway was last seen by mem-bers of his staff departing from the main airplane hangar of his estate a few minutes past eight in the morning, flying alone aboard one of his aircraft. His last recorded words to the command center crew of his hangar were: “Clear skies and mild winds. Per-fect visibility, or as perfect as I could hope, for as long as I can tell. Gentlemen, I wish you a thorough enjoyment of this fine day.” Nothing unusual was noted in his language or behavior.
The late Mr. Surway often took his plane out with no stated destination. But this time, he failed to return at the customary hour of six in the evening. As no word had been received from him, the kitch-ens were advised that he would likely dine outside.
At ten o’clock on the following morning, when there was still no news of Mr. Surway or his air-craft, the Steward of the House alerted the munici-pal, state, and federal authorities, and a search began for the missing magnate. But no airport, ho-tel, hospital or inn within fuel’s range of the estate could provide any information. Dozens of interviews bore no result. Countless journalists and detectives rushed in from every corner of the country, but none of them could unearth a single clue regarding Mr. Surway’s whereabouts. Not even the Steward could guess where Mr. Surway had gone. On the morning of his disappearance, Mr. Surway had only told him: “My day is free and so am I.”
Fifteen infantry troops were dispatched, with over a hundred hound dogs, across more than two hun-dred miles of hills and valleys surrounding the town of Spring Forge, where Mr. Surway lived. The infan-try and the dogs found nothing. The Air Force then loaned eighteen jet-powered aircraft to continue the search. The Navy joined the effort with five ships, sixteen helicopters, and four submarines to scour the coastal regions, islands, and ocean floor within flying range of the Eastern Seaboard. Again nothing was found. Finally then, a large-scale search was conducted through the grounds and the buildings of Surway House itself, led by seven hundred volun-teers from Spring Forge and other towns throughout the valley. Still they found nothing. Yesterday marked three months since Mr. Surway’s disappear-ance. The aircraft was legally declared lost, and its owner deceased. Mr. Surway, estimated for each of the past twelve years to be the wealthiest man in the Western Hemisphere, leaves behind no known relatives.
Welcome! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.
>> Hello Harlie, I’m the author of “The Secret Billionaire,” a young adult mystery novel and my first published book. I was born in Paris of Persian parents, and I moved to the US—Boston to be precise—to go to college, where I studied Comparative Literature and Mathematics. These days I live in New York City, where I’ve spent the last few years among serious professionals, many of whom probably prefer to read nonfiction.
Is a single title, or part of a series?
>> I planned it as a series from the start… and incredibly generous readers are now encouraging me to write the sequel!
What were your inspirations for the story?
>> This book is inspired by the great stories of my childhood, stories of adventure and lost treasure, like Ali Baba or The Count of Monte-Cristo, and stories about heroes and supervillains.
Please share your setting. Have you ever lived or visited there? If so, what did you like most?
>> The story is set in a fictionalized version of the beautiful Hudson Valley, near New York City where I live. In particular, the lovely town of Cold Spring, which I first discovered when looking for a day hike near the City, is the inspiration for Spring Forge in the book. It’s the kind of small town that feels cozy and magical at the same time, where life seems frozen in time and yet anything could happen. There’s even a real-life person whom I met in Cold Spring who made her way into the book… But I’m almost certain she doesn’t know yet ☺
When did the writing bug first bite?
>> I was a very sickly kid, and because I spent much of my childhood in bed with a book in my hands, fiction soon became my world. Once I started becoming healthier, I discovered that the real world is filled with stories, even richer stories than I’d found in books. And so, I started writing them down in the dark, using a flashlight in my bed at night.
Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time?
>> I’m a huge movie fan. I also love classical music. And I’m obsessed with food. One of the three, at least, is highly obvious from the book.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard or seen?
>> Once, when I was in my early twenties, I vividly heard something that sounded like a real-life Star Wars space battle outside my window. The sounds lasted a good twenty minutes, and they were as loud and clear as anything I’ve ever heard. But everything outside looked perfectly normal. And I’ve never come across anything like that again.
What is the one thing that you would tell an inspiring writer to do?
>> Set a writing schedule, even a modest one, and stick to it, with no concern for quality. Your writing will take on a life of its own. Wherever it may take you, that in and of itself is a miracle and a joy.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Teymour Shahabi was born in Paris of Persian parents in 1985. He moved to the United States to study Comparative Literature and Mathematics at Harvard University. He lives in New York City where he’s spent the last few years among serious professionals, many of whom probably prefer to read nonfiction. The Secret Billionaire is his first published book.
You can watch him try to figure out writing and life at www.facebook.com/Teymour.Shahabi.
Amazon book link: http://a.co/8L4lido
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Teymour Shahabi will be awarding a print copy of “The Secret Billionaire” with a personal message (International Giveaway) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.