Since joining Twitter Writing Challenge, I have met some very inspiring authors. Today, I had the privilege of interview Carl Hackman. Check out his interview below!
StephyLionne: Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing (Carl Hackman) author of (Gerald and the amulet of Zonrach – Due for release by Immortal Works on May 16th 2017):
StephyLionne: Hello! And thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little more about yourself and your background.
Hackman: I joined the Navy straight from school and even though I was a voracious reader at sea, actually writing a book seemed above me as I didn’t really have much confidence in myself. After my service I tried to write a novel, but ended up as a software developer. We decided to leave England and settle in the Dominican Republic; don’t ask me why LOL. Since we have been here I have finally managed to achieve a lifelong dream; to become a published author, although not with the novel I first started. Gerald popped into my head when I was in the shower funnily enough.
StephyLionne: What is the very first book to ever make you cry?
Hackman: I honestly can’t remember, I have read so many. Usually it involves an animal though. I am a complete sucker for animals and animal stories, which is why I started writing Jaguar all those years ago.
StephyLionne: What were you like in school? Has anything changed?
Hackman: In school I was an under performer with no self confidence. I did read a lot, but never thought that I could ever be an author myself. Joining the Navy did a lot for my self esteem, especially when I worked my way through the ranks. Each promotion and course I did boosted my confidence letting me know that I could do things that I never thought I would be able to. I think this gave me the impetus when I left to actually try and write a novel.
StephyLionne: Were you good in English?
Hackman: I wasn’t particularly good at English when I was at school. I really started to improve when I was in the Navy. Even though I read a lot as a child, I read even more at sea and I think that rubbed off. The more I read during the quiet times the more I wished I could be a writer and produce the books I read. It wasn’t until I broke my back and was medically discharged, after 18 years service, that I sat down and started to write my first novel, Jaguar. Life got in the way and I had to find a means to earn a living and Jaguar ended up in a drawer somewhere. Eventually, after writing Gerald, I went back to finish the book I had started all those years ago. It now sits with my publisher and I wait with bated breath to see if it will finally find a home.
StephyLionne: So, what have you written?
Hackman: I have completed two novels. The first is Gerald and the amulet of Zonrach which is a humorous fantasy and will be published by Immortal Works on May 16th. The second is called Jaguar and is a contemporary fantasy about a female jaguar that was captured and imprisoned in an illegal predator collection on the edge of Exmoor, England. She manages to escape, but she is pregnant when she gains her freedom and has to survive in an alien land with her cubs.
StephyLionne: Where can we see or buy them?
Hackman: The first chapters of 3 of my novels can be seen on my website. Gerald, when it is released, will be available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble initially and will also be available in paperback and audio book formats.
StephyLionne: What are you working on at this moment?
Hackman: I have two novels under way at this moment in time. The first is the sequel to Gerald and the other is a historical fiction novel about a 12 year old Anglo Saxon boy in 8th century England. Both are completely different and that helps me stay excited about each one. If I stall on one then I work on the other which helps me get over any hiccups and keep the stories fresh.
StephyLionne: Do you write full time or part time?
Hackman: I have the luxury to be able to write full time due to my Naval Pension. It sounds better than it actually is. We struggle sometimes, but it is just enough to keep our heads above water and allow me to concentrate on my dream of being an author. A house full of rescue dogs also puts a strain on us, but we wouldn’t be without them.
StephyLionne: Why did you decide to write?
Hackman: The simple answer to that question is, because I have a story in my head that needs to come out. That was more the case when I first started, now an idea pops into my head and I write a few sentences and a couple of notes to set the book in motion then I carry on with the one I’m currently working on.
StephyLionne: Do you aim for a set amount of words or pages a day?
Hackman: I have no fixed amount that I like to produce each day and go where the story takes me. I have written as little as 500 words in a day and as much as 3,000. It all depends on how well the story is flowing.
StephyLionne: What’s the best way to market your writing?
Hackman: As a debut author I am still finding my feet when it comes to marking myself. My publisher has a publicist who has arranged a lot of things during the run up to my book launch. Myself, I have reached out to some blogs and have also arranged school visits to get my name on the tongues of children in the local area. I have also arranged to hold my launch party at the school.
StephyLionne: Do you ever get writer’s block?
Hackman: Yes, sometimes, but I believe every writer comes across stumbling blocks; even those who are plotters.
StephyLionne: Any tips on how to get through it?
Hackman: If I have difficulty progressing I have several ways that I push through: I continue to write just to put words on a page and when the story begins to flow again I edit out the rubbish I started to write; I work on something else that is getting in the way of my thought process just to exorcise it from my mind; lastly, I leave the house and go for a coffee or chat with a friend so that my mind is free of the flashing cursor in front of my face.
StephyLionne: Have you ever had a bad review? How did it make you feel or react?
Hackman: No bad reviews yet. I’ve had critiques from beta readers and editors, but as my debut novel doesn’t come out until May 16th I’ve had no reviews as such. I won’t be following reviews too much unless my editor or publicist point out that there is a consistent theme to any bad reviews; if there is I will try to address that in sequels I write.
StephyLionne: Do you google yourself?
Hackman: Never. I haven’t got the guts to see what might come out of the woodwork.
StephyLionne: How can we follow you and your work?
StephyLionne: What do you think about “trailers” for books?
Hackman: I love the idea of book trailers, but haven’t seen many that grab my attention. If they are done well I believe they are a great way of getting potential readers excited.
StephyLionne: Give us some sneak previews on your main characters.
Hackman: Gerald manages to cause damage on a massive scale when trying to do something he believes is good. He has a habit of overreaching and this can be a hindrance especially as height is the one thing that gives a wizard power. The problem is you are penalized or promoted in inches, so screwing up loses you height and Gerald screws up quite a lot.
StephyLionne: Any other comments?
Hackman: Only one thing really. If you are a writer on the journey to publication. Never give up. It may be a long road paved with rejections, but it will eventually happen.