Arts & Entertainment

Mendham Resident Pursues Lifelong Dream as Suspense/Thriller Novelist


MENDHAM, NJ- In the neighboring town of Mendham, resident Bill Powers went from leading groups of scientists in the United States, Europe, and Asia, to pursuing his passion of being a fictional author. Powers debuted his modern mystery, “The Pharm House,” a year ago, which took almost 10 years to publish.

“I’ve always wanted to write since I was a kid. So I figured that’s what I’m going to do,” said Powers.

Powers worked in pharmaceutical Research and Development at Johnson & Johnson for 26 years, and he was the vice president of Global Preclinical Development. After retiring from the business a couple years ago, Powers’ lifetime dream of becoming a suspense, thriller novelist came true.

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“The Pharm House” was completed almost a decade prior to its release date. When Powers first completed his novel, he originally tried getting an agent and reached out to publicizing houses. Unfortunately, he could not get his novel published.

“When I first started back then everything was pretty much on paper, so I got a lot of paper rejections letters. Then a few years later technology had improved so my rejection letters were electronic,” Powers joked. “I tried on and off for several years and it didn’t quite pan out.”

After leaving Johnson & Johnson, Powers focused full time on his novel, and he was finally able to find a small boutique publisher. One year ago, DonnaInk Publications, LLC., published “The Pharm House”, and Powers has been publicizing the novel by reaching out to libraries, bookstores and radio stations ever since.

In June, there was an in-home book signing put together by a group that recognizes local artists. There, Powers talked to readers, sold and signed books. He also has an upcoming signing and reading event scheduled in North Carolina, where Powers is originally from.

“I have a love of books and of stories. When I was a little kid my father was the principal of the elementary school I went to. It was a little town where I grew up. It was about a 1,000 people and one traffic light. So there was nothing to do. My dad gave me free run at the library in school. He said I could read whatever I wanted as long as I took care of it and put things back where they were supposed to be. I did that and it’s how I fell in love with stories. So I’ve always loved stories and I’ve always loved books. Now I just want to make that my career,” said Powers.

Powers started reading when he was five years old. He soon became a fan of mysteries, suspense and thrilling books. The first mystery/thriller series that he really got into was the Sherlock Holmes stories. In graduate school, Powers attempted to write his first novel.

“I was reading a lot of science fiction back then. So I wrote one and I was about halfway finished and it was just horrible. So I just put that aside. Then I started reading thrillers more and more, so I thought to myself ‘Oh, I can do this.’ So I decided to write a thriller,” said Powers.

Powers always heard to write about what he knew, whether that meant something he already knew, or something he could go out and learn about through research. Unfortunately, due to his busy work schedule at Johnson & Johnson, Powers did not have the time to do research on anything new. Instead, he wrote a fictional story and set it in a pharmaceutical company since that was the field he was familiar with.

“I know all about the pharmaceutical business so it should be easy for me to build a fictional story around that, and that’s how I came up with the story,” said Powers.

“The Pharm House” is a mystery thriller. Although it is set in a pharmaceutical company, it is really a story about family and personal interactions. The protagonist, Nicholas Harding, a young scientist/executive at Marshall Pharmaceutical is a widower trying to raise his precocious 11-year-old daughter while climbing his way up the corporate ladder. As he tries to take care of his family and career, horrible things start to happen to him at work. Nicholas finds himself fighting for his family, career and life.

 “What I like, and what is different about my stories, are the protagonists. Every story has to have a protagonist, a good guy, and there’s the antagonist, the bad guys. I don’t like stereotypical, all good characters. If the protagonist is all good I can’t stand that. So I try to create protagonists who have a dark side. I think everybody has a dark side. Most people keep it hidden but everybody has a dark side. So I try to create protagonists that are the good guy but they have a dark side and may have to do some bad things to get out of this mess that they’ve gotten themselves into,” said Powers.

Powers attends writing classes to continuously keep improving his abilities as a writer. For the past 4 years, Powers has attended ThrillerFest, an annual conference of top international thriller writers. He attends the classes in New York City where these writers teach different ways of writing.

“What I picked was that writing a thriller is just like any other business. There’s an art and a science to it. There are things that you have to do. There are steps that you have to get to. So I’m starting to learn the actual art of writing,” said Powers.

Currently, Powers is working on a second book. He hopes it will be released sometime next year. The novel is a continuation of “The Pharm House” set 10 years in the future with some of the same characters. This story focuses on Nicholas’ 21-year-old daughter, Drea. Her journey will be to step in to take care of the family business as she looks after her injured father and uncle. 

For more on Bill Powers and how to purchase his book click here:

Editor's Note:  Bill Powers is an advertiser on The Alternative Press of Randolph.  To learn more about becoming an advertiser, please call 201-725-2670 or email

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