Today, I’d like to welcome Greg Messel to my notebook. He’s sharing a little about the characters in his novel, The Illusion of Certainty, and how their experiences reflect a lot of Americans’.



In a bygone time there was certainty regarding your career, your job stability and plans for the future. If an individual worked hard and was a good employee at work, there was a good chance they could be there for life.

There were certain things that could be assumed. Those assumptions were the underpinning of your life. An employee could reasonably expect that income would steadily increase each year, the stock market would provide a steady rate of return which would provide opportunity for home ownership, college education for your children, annual vacations and eventually, a comfortable retirement.

Those assumptions seem to be relics of the 20th Century. Now most employees work 10-12 hour days and are married to their job. Wild swings in economic fortunes continue to trouble us all and there is no certainty for our futures.

The economic angst is just one of the uncertainties faced by characters in my new novel, The Illusion of Certainty.

I tried to show the human impact of the nationwide economic downturn and how someone’s life can suddenly go into a downward spiral once uncertainty is introduced.

In The Illusion of Certainty the characters are coping with losses that largely reflect those of Americans today, dealing with shifting social values, issues of the modern family, the flailing economy, unemployment, and the shattering of our illusions of certainty.

Although the characters go through many hard times, ultimately, they learn an important lesson about moving on and rebuilding after loss. It is possible.

One of the main characters in the book, Marc, loses his illusions of certainty twice: the first time when he discovers his wife’s infidelity, destroying his illusions of certainty about his marriage and family. The second time occurs when his job is “excessed” after the subprime mortgage crisis, treating his entire team as excess spending rather than people.

When Marc meets with his former team member, Samantha, he realizes she has suffered greatly herself. Samantha finally found a job only to be informed the next day that her husband has been excessed, leaving them with one job once again. She offers Marc an important message about moving on. Samantha urges Marc to “snap out of it” and rebuild his life. “You’ve been beat down, Marc. You’ve lost your wife and lost your job. That sucks. You’re wife is a lying skank and you worked for a heartless corporation. But, Marc, it’s time to get up off the mat!”

Samantha reminds Marc that we can “take action or be acted upon.” She  encourages him to take a trip that has the potential to change his outlook on life, to “do a reboot” and then “come back and kick some butt…Right now you have a big problem. It’s time to fix yourself! Use all of the talents you have and remake yourself.”

Many Americans have become disheartened by the economic situation and fall into cycles of self-fulfilling prophecies of failure, too discouraged to do something bold or be proactive in securing a new career. Just as Marc changed his life with some encouragement, readers will find that they, too, can enact the change that they desire in their own lives through the encouragement.

There are no promises that it will be easy. We’ll have to adapt and change and reinvent ourselves several times in the course of a career.

The key theme in my book is that “the only certainty is life is uncertainty.”

About Greg Messel

Greg Messel has written three novels and three unpublished memoirs. He published his premiere novel Sunbreaks in 2009, followed by Expiation in 2010 and The Illusion of Certainty in 2011. Greg has had a newspaper career as a columnist, sportswriter and news editor. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist. Greg also spent many years in the corporate world as a Financial Manager. He now devotes his energies to writing at his home in Edmonds, Washington on the Puget Sound just north of Seattle, where he lives with his wife, Carol.

You can visit his website at  Connect with Greg on Twitter at @gregmessel or Facebook at Greg Messel.

About The Illusion of Certainty

The Illusion of Certainty follows two parallel storylines. Marc is a successful businessman who seems to have everything—a great job, a beautiful wife, a house in an upscale neighborhood of Portland, Oregon and two great kids who are preparing for college. But something is not right. Marc is unsettled by the sudden change in his wife, Aimee, who seems distant and unhappy. What’s going on with her?

The second storyline involves a successful young attorney, Alexandra Mattson. Alex, as she is called by her friends, meets a handsome young cop, Sean, during an unexpected crisis in her neighborhood. Sean and Alex seem made for each other and begin to merge their futures in a world of uncertainty.

The only certainty in life is that we will face uncertainty. Despite all fo the technology and controls available in the modern world, sometimes the only comfort comes from the human touch.

Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!

To celebrate the release of Greg Messel’s new book, The Illusion of Certainty, he is offering one free paperback copy of his book at Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16. More than 50 books, gifts and cash awards will be given away! Click here for details!


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