5-STAR Fantasy / Sci-Fi

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Indie Author Interview: Roger Hardy

Indie Author Interview with Roger Hardy - Author of the Political Thriller Flight Into Darkness.

Roger Hardy is an aviation man, pilot, aircraft designer and safety regulator. He was born into a service family just before his noble Monarch ascended the throne and has worked in the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany before finally settling in Portugal.

Interview with Roger Hardy

Author Roger Hardy
Author Roger Hardy
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): What is your (writing) background?
Roger Hardy: I've always wanted to write but it was the experience of my first novel (2008) that really taught me how to write. Rather, I should say that it was my wonderful editor, Debi Alper. Her surgical scalpel and incisive critiques taught me more than any number of self-help books. Basically, my first draft of my first book was so bad that the only way was up. After a year, it was publishable. Now I've written four more. Learning can be such fun!

Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
As a kid, Biggles (British kid's aviation adventure stories) and Neville Shute. More recently, Ian McEwan, C J Sansome, J G Ballard, F Scott Fitzgerald, Philippa Gregory, Virginia Woolf, Franz Kafka....the list goes on. As you can see, there's no particular trend apart from excellence. For relaxation, I love historical fiction. For mental stimulation, Ian McEwan and Kafka.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
At school, we were set a task to write a short story. I wrote a complete novel. It was rubbish.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was a Biggles-style adventure concerning a pilot and the Nazis in the 1930s. They get their hands on a nuke. Lots of derring-do. Our hero saves the world. Oops, that sounds familiar!

Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?

The only common thread is inspiration. Once I have that, I just go for it, any time, any place.

"I need complete silence to write."

Please, describe your desk/workplace.
I can write anywhere but have a small office with laptop, printers, scanner, etc plus internet access for research on Wikipedia and a dog. I need complete silence to write. I cannot even have music playing in the background

What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?
It's easiest when I know exactly where I'm going. Then reading it the next day, amazed at how good/bad it is. The hardest bit is when I come to a plot crossroads where a bum decision can cause a lot of unneccessary work and retracing my steps.

"I love the mental flow and the absence of a sense of passing time."

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love the mental flow and the absence of a sense of passing time. That feeling when you look at your watch and realise it's three in the morning and you've forgotten to eat.

Roger, please tell us a little about your Political Thriller Flight Into Darkness.
This is my fifth book, but the earlier ones were mixed genre and I wanted to write a strict genre book to maximise its marketing chances. I decided to write what I knew about; aviation, and I was on my way. As I wrote it I got better and better ideas for a unique political motivation and a neat circular plot that I was really pleased with, but the plot developed as I was writing. It has a great bad guy as well. I like writing bad guys.

Flight Into Darkness (Roger Hardy)
Click to Read an Excerpt

What inspired you to write the book?
I was an aviation safety regulator and was aware that most modern aircraft accidents have elements of human involvement, whether criminal or stupidity. This, associated with the increasingly complex electronic hearts where computers fly the aircraft provided the essential technical background. This was inspired by a real small jet aircraft that I was working on with an all-electric cockpit. 'It can never fail,' the manufacturers said. But, you never say 'never' in aviation.

Who do you see as your target audience and where can we buy the book?
Anyone who likes thoughtful thrillers as opposed to action thrillers. I publish hard copy on Lulu but this is mosty for me as I am totally committed to ebooks and the Kindle which I think is the future for paperbacks. Therefore go to Amazon.

What makes your book special?
The political background and premise is unique but credible and centres around the possibility of Arabs and Israelis working together, even if they aren't aware of it. This is not something that you hear about but is surely as likely as the former warring European states now mutually defending one another. In addition, it is technically correct but not too 'techie' so that the layman is not bogglred by technicalities. I tried to play these down whist maintaining credibility.

"I had an agent but he wanted me to rewrite[...]"

How would you describe the success of your book so far?
It's a long slog but I've had a number of great reviews. I had an agent but he wanted me to rewrite my MC as James Bond (which he's not), so I opted for self-publication rather then make changes I didn't agree with. When you self-publish, you're on your own and that's hard work. Fortunately, there are people like Alan Kealey who can help. The most difficult bit is getting people to leave reviews. No one is going to download a book by an unknown writer unless they can read good reviews. Overall, it's nice to know that a few hundred people have read the book but it needs to be a few thousand!

How long did it take it to write the book?
I write fast but take long breaks when I reach plot crossroads. I do my research as I write. Overall, I can normally write around 3000 words a day but the total time to write my normal-length novel (around 80,000 words) is around 3 months for the first draft, then a further six months for editing and revisions. I normally have three iterations, that it, the final version is the second rewrite.

"Just write what you want but use a professional editor[...]"

Can you give some advice for other Authors regarding the writing process?
Just write what you want but use a professional editor; you need an objective alternative viewpoint. Oh, yes: DON'T LEAVE THE DAY JOB!

Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
I'm working on a few ideas, a children's book, illustrated by my son, a sequel to Flight Into Darkess, a short ghost story and some more esoteric stuff concerning Enoch, Noah.

Where do you see the book market in 5 or 10 years? Will there be only eBooks and will book stores disappear like record stores disappeared?
Yes, it's inevitable. I think that paperbacks will die away and be replaced by ebooks. There will always be a market for beautiful books and for much-loved books. Mostly, I regard paperbacks as consumable items and give them away after I've read them. If I love a book, I'll get a hardback copy so that I can love it some more. There will always be great book shops where you can brouse, read and drink coffee.

What is your e-reading device of choice?
Amazon's Kindle. I've never considered any other alternative.

Do you write full-time or do you have a day job? When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I write when I am inspired. I am technically retired but have a small guesthouse in Portugal which keeps me busy in the summer. Apart from that, I paint watercolours and build model aircraft. Just a kid at heart!

How can readers connect with you?
email: rogerjhardy100@yahoo.co.uk
website: http://rogerhardynovels.info/
blog: http://rogerjhardy.wordpress.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21338786-flight-into-darkness?from_search=true

Thank you very much for the Interview, Roger.

About the Book Flight Into Darkness

Flight Into Darkness (Roger Hardy)
Click to Read an Excerpt
A shiny new personal jet is lost at night over the vast Saudi desert and air accident investigator James Hayward is assigned to find out why; it was touted as the world’s safest light aircraft and safe aircraft don’t just disappear from radar screens, do they?

He and his ex-fighter pilot boss, Katja, are faced with a wall of obstruction, almost denial. However, what they subsequently discover leads them into a web of intrigue and political corruption.

They find themselves alone, pitted against a new brand of terrorist; one that is ruthless, resourceful and organized with friends in high places.

- "Once you get into the story you can't put it down. Mr. Hardy weaves a very believable tale. the world and characters are well developed. A airplane with a perfect record crashes, but there's good reason it does. It wasn't an accident. Plenty of action and political intrigue, not just a book for the aviation enthusiast." - Rodney Carlson

Links to the Book

Link to the eBook Flight Into Darkness with Excerpt on Amazon UK

Link to the eBook Flight Into Darkness with Excerpt on Amazon US