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Author Q&A: Glenn Beck on His New Thriller, 'The Overton Window'

What is "The Overton Window" about?

It's about me going back in time to examine the people, places and experiences that launched me on my journey as a working-class, bold fresh piece of humanity who made it in the big city. Oh wait... that's O'Reilly's book. I always get the two mixed up.

You can read all about the plot of "The Overton Window" on Amazon or the book jacket, but I want people to know that, above all, this is simply a great story about two materially different visions for the future of America: the Marx vision and the Madison vision. Right now we are caught in the middle of this struggle and which way the country goes is up for debate I think. My book explores that debate and plays out a scenario that I really hope stays fictional.

Describe the real Overton Window theory.

It was created by Joseph Overton, a public policy strategist who observed that "when public policies in a given area (education, healthcare) are arranged from freest to least free, only a relatively narrow window of options will be considered politically acceptable." In other words, the public is only willing to consider options in a certain window of debate. The trick (if you're a politician) is to move the window in the direction you want the debate to go and there a lot of ways to do that, some honest and some not.

Why did you write a thriller?

I love thrillers. There are a lot of people, and I consider myself one of them, who are curious and really want to do research and educate themselves about what is going on in the world, but get so bored by reading non-fiction books all the time. Like some of my favorite thriller writers, I wanted to create a format where I can tell a great story, but one that is also filled with facts, education and history in an entertaining way.

What were some of your inspirations for this book? What other thrillers did you look to?

I loved how Michael Crichton explained global warming in "State of Fear." That book, along with Brad Thor's "The Last Patriot," were huge influences because they did such an amazing job of combining fact and fiction.

What do you want readers to get out of this story?

As little sleep as possible. Actually, while I hope people like the story, I really hope that it inspires them to start their own process of discovery. To help them do that, I included a 28-page afterword that shows people the parts of the story that were based in fact. I include all of the sources as well, so that people can really start to dig in if they are interested in exploring these issues even more.

Do you identify with any of the characters?

None of them are based on me specifically, but I identify with certain parts of some of them (particularly Noah's killer eHarmony profile).

There is a character named Danny Bailey who is sort of a media personality with a large following. Is he based on you?

I knew people would make that association, but no. We included him specifically to show that those who live on the fringes or who embrace radical conspiracies will never be taken seriously and can never play a large role in any kind of movement. Danny ultimately comes to that realization himself.

What does that Rudyard Kipling poem mean? When did you first read it?

Wait, Nobel Prize winner Rudyard Kipling wrote that? According to some blogs, I wrote it and therefore it made no sense. To me, it means that man always repeats his mistakes. One of the lines is: "And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire." In other words, you get burned, you wrap it up but then you go right back into the fire again. Throughout history, tyranny always wins. We enslave, we wage war. Man always goes back to its bad traits. If we don't work really hard and fight against them every day, it's where we'll wind up again.

Will there be a sequel?

There is nothing I would love to do more that a sequel. But, like James Cameron (who loves me, by the way) said before "Avatar" came out, it's up for the marketplace to decide. I just hope it works out as well for me as it did for him.

"The Overton Window" hits shelves on Tuesday, June 15. Click here to learn more.

Glenn Beck, nationally syndicated radio and Fox News television show host, is the author of five No. 1 New York Times bestsellers: "An Inconvenient Book"; "The Christmas Sweater"; "Glenn Beck's Common Sense"; "Arguing With Idiots" and the children's version of "The Christmas Sweater."