Dear readers, tonight with us is someone who we might mistake for a playboy. This son of a billionaire however, found himself embroiled in an international intrigue involving nations.
What was is like growing up as the son of a billionaire?
You mean, was I happy? Worry-free. The answer to that is a big “No.”
When everybody wants something from your father—including kidnapping him, or taking his life—then you wish you weren’t the son of a billionaire. Especially when you begin to realize that maybe they have good reason.
That’s not something you’re very much aware of when you grow up, not until you begin to realize that … well, that you don’t like your father much.
Oh yes, indeed, there are perks, perks that for many years seemed not only normal to me, but a given. But then one day I realized my father wouldn’t hesitate to kill me if he could gain something from it.
How do you feel being responsible for your girlfriend’s death? Did it change after you found out her secret?
Oh … that.
I take it you got that bit from one of the tabloids, didn’t you? The ones that have pestered me ever since I was found in a bar under the legal age accompanied by my bodyguard, Ed Bryer—may he rest in peace.
I really can’t answer your question; it’s classified. It was rumored she was MI-5, so you’re curious.
And I can see what you’re thinking. If she was MI-5, you concluded that she wasn’t with me because of… well, because of me, but that she was trying to get to my father through me. To investigate him. So you wonder, did she love me?
Look, it’s the same old story. When you are the son of a billionaire, you wonder. Are people with you because of you, or because of what you represent? The power of wealth.
Did she truly love me, is that what you are wondering?
Yes, I think she did love me. I know I did love her. She was an exceptional woman, the type that, in another time and era, kings fought wars over. If she hadn’t died… what is the use of wondering?
How has your relationship with your father changed?
It was never good, and now that I know what he was up to most of his life, it will never be. It can’t.
How would your relationship with your father change were you to find out that he’s a clinical psychopath, the type that make criminal psychopaths—like serial killers—look like Peter Pan? Once you see certain things for what they are, there is no going back.
Did you get to enjoy the Galapagos Islands when you were there?
I have always enjoyed the Galapagos. I’ve been there more than once. They are a special place, perhaps the most amazing location on the planet. They were the inspiration of Charles Darwin for his theory of evolution, and when you go there, the first thing that strikes you is the fearlessness of the wildlife. You might as well be just another rock, a bush, or a tree.
But this time around … Let me just tell you that behind the illusion of peace lies something that’s at the core of life, the eternal struggle for the fittest to survive. In the Galapagos, this seems to rub off on people, revealing who is the predator, and who the prey. Let me tell you, there’s plenty of predators out there.
What does your ideal vacation look like?
I know what you’re thinking: The filthy rich, with their yachts and mansions, playing in Casinos like you see in James Bond films. Visiting Club Med—no, way under my category for sure! So I must go to some private island in the Caribbean.
No private island, I’m afraid. Not in my case. And I always hated those places full of rich people. Fake smiles, fake bodies, killer tans, literally.
My father was a workaholic and he never really went on vacation. He invited people over on their vacations to sail in his luxury yachts or fly in his private plane, but always with the understanding that it was for business as usual. Under the atmosphere of relaxation, always a sense of threat. You are with me, or against me.
The real big deals aren’t made during meetings in conference rooms behind closed doors. The real big ones are made with a drink in hand, dressed in shorts, during a “vacation” where you wonder whether you’re going to wake up alive, or see your company absorbed by the larger fish swimming the shark infested waters of the corporate world. Board-room meetings are there for the staff and management to polish off the terms you already agreed on verbally. This may sound blunt, but a vacation is what people do to find relief from their stress caused by work done for people like my father.
What is your favorite restaurant in the world?
If you think it is one of those that serves nouvelle cuisine, you’re wrong.
All those small portions, course after course of exquisite tastes that you’ll later regret because your body was never made to digest such a mixture.
The best restaurant was the kitchen at my father’s house in Cowes, while sitting on stools with the staff who prepared regular food, none of that “who is on that table?” social crap to destroy your appetite.
But that’s just me. I always hated the attention, the stiffness, the uppityness of being in a place where you know you’re just showcasing your money.
My father loved that, and my stepbrother’s mother—may she rest in peace—did too.
But look, these are just questions that appear to tell readers something about people like me. Tabloid crap. I thought you weren’t a tabloid.
But I guess journalists all come out of a single mold… unless they’re not.
Are you trying to figure out who I am by asking me what my favorite vacation looks like, where do I prefer to eat, or what music do I listen to? What my favorite color is?
The real stories behind people like my father—or me—would get you killed faster than you can spell the word journalist.
The secrets we hold are the type of secrets that could cause wars, change the course of history, or make people wake up to the realization that they are up against the greatest deception in history.
I know you really want to ask me what happened aboard the White Tempest, why was she blown up, how come I wasn’t on it but my girlfriend was. I know you want to know why I decided to give up my inheritance … and whether I also killed my stepmother. You wonder, how is that all tied up with what happened aboard the Galapagos Treasure?
But as the cliche goes: If I tell you, I would have to kill you. And if I don’t kill you, somebody else will. Because there are certain things people should know, but they are better off if they don’t.
Leonardo Wild has been writing since the age of 12, following his passion. CEO of a company dedicated to environmental solutions, he has travelled extensively: sailed across the Atlantic and the Pacific, survived cyclone Harry, walked three times over the Andes into the Amazon jungle with Native Indians, took part in gold survey expeditions in Ecuador’s rain forests, cycled across South America, built wooden houses, advised Ecuador’s Central Bank on currency design – all of which makes it into his novels. You can find Max Villalobos on the pages of The Galapagos Agenda, the first of the Paradigm Shift thrillers.
Next week with us will be a renowned food-critic-turned-murder-solver. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right), via Twitter or like our Facebook page to be notified when the next interview is posted.