Books: Author J.T. Lundy debuts Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy

After a successful 20-year career in the trading pits of Chicago’s futures and options exchange, J.T. Lundy might have found utopia in his new line of work.

“It felt good when the book came out,” said Lundy, a 1984 graduate of Oswego High School. “To see my book in a bookstore is a real thrill, and more so, the biggest thrill is that my kids see it, and know what dad has been doing all this time.”

Lundy, of Naperville, recently released his debut novel, “Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy,” a political satire and espionage parody that follows the adventures of an unlikely secret agent and family man who becomes embroiled in a government conspiracy.

“What I love most about some of the best spy novels is their ability to truly take the reader on a journey and bring them into a world seldom seen,” said the 48-year-old author.

“Satirical novels provide an opportunity to explore a subject that may otherwise intimidate or frighten, in a way that allows us to enjoy ourselves and escape into the story.”

Writing professionally seems like a stark contrast to Lundy’s fast-paced and high-stress job in the trading pits. The self-described “numbers guy” earned a finance degree from Indiana University in 1988 and a master’s in business from University of Chicago.

In 2007, on his daily commute into the city, he discovered his passion for prose.

“As I rode the train, I started writing,” Lundy said. “It was a bizarre experience for me, that with writing, I could go somewhere else. I just loved it.”

He sold his business in 2008 and began writing regularly.

“I went to College of DuPage and took a creative writing class, then went to a summer program at University of Iowa,” he said. “I found other people who were writing and shared the same interests as me; I had never really told anyone I was writing.”

He continued to work on his craft, attending fiction and screenwriting workshops and earning a master’s degree in creative writing from Spalding University in Louisville.

His wife, Renee, admits she was surprised by the career change, but more so, she’s impressed.

“I knew he had a sense of humor, but I couldn’t believe how much I laughed when reading his book,” Renee said. “I have been so impressed by how much J.T.’s writing has evolved since he first began putting pen to paper in a vacation journal seven years ago. His commitment to the process and the time he dedicates to writing each day inspires me to find something I am equally passionate about.”

Lundy is in the editing process for his second book, a romantic comedy.

Buy it “Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy” (Emerald Book Company, $13.95) is available through both Amazon (http://amzn.to/1jieLcK) and Barnes & Noble (http://bit.ly/19IcWCG). To learn more, visit www.jtlundy.com

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