Copyright keith hoare 2014

The Interview

As an introduction, could you tell us a little bit about yourself? I’ve been an electrical engineer all my life. From an early age, I’d always been interested in electronics. Whether I got it from my father, who was an inventor, I’m not sure, except I began to design my own products. I even hold a number of patents in the leisure industry. So, for example, if you have played bingo, that doesn’t use the ping pong balls, then you have probably played using one of my inventions. Over the years I’ve had a number of businesses. At one time I owned a large nursing home. It was a home for people with dementia and if I look back, the characters I met and talked to there, besides my employees in the electronic business, who every morning would try to explain why they didn’t turn up Friday, were late Monday morning, or why they needed the next day off, taught me a great deal about human life and its different facets. This for a writer, was a great help in developing my own characters. What are your books about? I find I can write in different genres. I write action adventure, romance, fantasy and fairy stories. I’ve even written what was the most difficult book for me ever, a non-fiction book on the early life of a supermodel. I say difficult because unlike fiction you can’t manipulate the characters. These are real people, with real lives and yet they still need development and brought alive. Action Adventure  - The People Traders is, and always has been, my most popular book. It introduced a character named Karen Marshall who, after a vendetta between her father and another man, was abducted to be sold at a trafficker’s auction in the Lebanon. Pretty basic concept, except Karen was no ordinary girl. Her father always wanted a boy and Karen was brought up that way. She did self-defence, kick boxing and even went on weekends with her dad playing war games with other enthusiasts. So when Karen got a chance to escape she did just that. Her new owner, an arms dealer, wanted her back offering a massive reward for her capture. In a poor country already ravaged in war, the reward brings not only the locals out, but the army as well. We follow Karen in a dangerous cat and mouse game between the arms dealer and her. This first book moved me on to write three more on the subject of people trafficking. The books don’t dwell on the hopelessness of the victims, but use the grey world of trafficking as a backdrop to books full of action and intrigue. Fantasy - Fantasy was a real departure from traffickers. I wanted a world that children ran, that didn’t use broomsticks to fly, or magic wands, but gave the modern child a belief the world exists, so I created Plagarma. The children who go to this world can fly by thought, can change their clothes at a whim, but most of all they can have adventure. Although as in all books, there is a dark side of their world known as Dargarma. This is a world of nightmares and if you stray there, you are lost forever… Romance - After writing the non-fiction book ‘Catwalk Supermodel’, which was a real live romance, I wrote the fictional book Gemma’s Whitecliff’.  It began as a simple boy meets girl, except Gemma is nearly sixteen and her boyfriend fifteen years older. This was difficult enough for her, except her life was about to take a devastating turn for the worse. Her parents are killed in a road accident and the business they had built up, in buy to let schemes, falls on Gemma. However, they didn’t buy houses, but land, letting it out to farmers. Now our Gemma not only has farmers to deal with, but relatives trying to take over, and a boyfriend she has to hide away. For a young girl, who has only ever had ten pounds in her pocket and now owns White Cliff Estates worth millions, the pressures are beginning to take their toll in ways she cannot imagine. Fairies - I’ve always wanted to write fairy stories. Not the stories where the fairy carries a magic wand and sprinkles fairy dust, but of little people who live in the wood, or at the bottom of the garden. Their only difference to humans was the females are able to fly, have learnt to talk to other residents of the wood, and of course their size. However, as the woods disappear and gardens no longer have wild areas, the fairies lives are changing as well. Now they struggle to exist in a world of change and keep their simple way of life away from humans.   When and why did you begin writing? I began writing ten years ago. I was looking at my computer, that for some years had only been used for accounts and designing electronic systems, which had come to an end. So I just opened the word processor and began to write. The story wasn’t very good, but it left me with a sense of bewilderment. I’d lived the characters, became entwined in their lives and even though they were fictional and didn’t exist outside of my mind, they were so real. I knew then this is what I wanted to do. What genre do you prefer to write in? I don’t have a preference. Except I put so much into my books that a simple ‘who done it’ played out across thirty or fifty chapters, I couldn’t do. I think my detective would have sorted the whole lot out in five chapters and I’d be left twiggling my thumbs wondering what to write next. What is your biggest writing achievement to date? When a stranger is prepared to spend their own hard earned cash and splash out on one of my books, I feel a sense of responsibility that I’ve done my very best for that reader and they haven’t wasted their money. But when they buy again, that is my achievement. What inspired you to write your books? I’ve already mentioned how I began to write. Now I can’t really see me doing anything else. I suppose I’m like most writers. Exactly like the reader who engrosses themselves in the book, the writer is the book. It’s their world, be it fiction or non-fiction, there is no other human experience that can better it. Who is your favourite author, and what is it about their work that strikes a chord with you? I loved Enid Blyton as a child. Not the very young books, but more the five books. The adventures were simple, perhaps very basic, except they had a life of their own and she really knew how to do that. If I could get close to her skills, then I’d be happy. What book are you reading now, and would you recommend it? I’ve just finished ‘Dark Tidings’ by Ken Magee, an Irish writer. This is his very first book and I must say I’m impressed. He’s managed to bring two very different worlds together. The time past when wizards were at work coupled with the modern and a computer hacker trying to take down a bank.  I must say if the wizard could actually do spells to order, it would have been very boring. But this wizard has no idea what will happen till he casts a spell and very hilarious it is, especially after one such spell catapults him into the twenty first century. This is a writer to watch; he has a very fertile mind and knows how to entertain. What are your current projects? I receive hundreds of emails asking when the next trafficker book is coming out. I’ve just completed one called ‘Goin Goin Sold’ which came out last December. My final trafficker book to complete the set of five is the most ambitious yet. At the moment I’ve called it ‘The Royal Grandchild’ and this time our heroine of all the trafficker books, Lieutenant Karen Harris CGC, will be pushed to the limit. I’ll say no more except the title tells you a great deal.  Where and when do you do most of your writing? I’ve a spare bedroom, which is really these days the computer room. I live in a 17th century farmhouse and the windows in my room look out across the valley. In the late afternoon the sun streams through one of the windows and the sunsets are sometimes breath-taking. I’m still working, although now semi- retired. But I will often work until the early hours. Time seems to go so fast. What would you say was the hardest part of writing your books? I’m not a planner, like most writers. Which for a ‘who done it’ is essential to bring all the components together. I write as I think. The story evolves and comes to a natural conclusion. I don’t have a memory block, but after a large book I like to break away and effectively get the book out my mind. After ‘Unit T Special Forces’, which was at the time the ultimate book on trafficking, I took a break before ‘Goin Goin Sold’, to write my fairy stories. They were simple, 10,000 words, fun and so so different. I really enjoyed the break. Who designed your book covers – and was the cover something you deemed important? I design my own covers, except ‘Plagarma’ which needed more of a fantasy cover. For me the design of the cover is part of the writing of the book and should depict to book in some way. I know what I want and play around until I get it. In the fairy stories I went one step further. All the pictures, and there are forty in each book, I did myself. Perhaps not professional, but there again I wrote the books for fun, published them to effectively give away, so I’m happy with the result. I also do my own movies for you tube to introduce my books. I’ve done ten to date. Did you try to go down the route of traditional publishing first – or did you feel that self- publishing was right for you from the beginning? My very first effort ‘Michelle Must Die’ was published by a publishing company at their expense. Unfortunately me and a great many other writers, never received a penny in royalty, the owners ran away with the money, so in some ways I was very disillusioned with the publishing industry. However, I’m quite computer literate and already had the programs that the publishers were using, so there wasn’t any difficulty in typesetting the title to publishing standard. For around seventy pounds I can have a book set up in POD with a sample, besides make the title available across the world in all formats. So I don’t need publishers any more. On the whole, how have you found self-publishing? For me self-publishing has been successful, with in excess of 37,000 books sold (April 2016). I track every sale on a large data base giving me important information as to what is selling and what isn’t. This allows me to keep an eyes on titles in a series, so I know what readers like and dislike. Realistically, the paperback route for ninety per cent of authors is no longer there. We are down to less than a thousand books shops and the shelf space is tiny for over a hundred thousand new books a year. So it has to be accepted, only the very few, with solid financial backing, will ever see the book shelf. For most writers the ebook option is the practical route to market. It shouldn’t be frowned upon, because even Amazon is admitting the ebook sales have now past paper book sales. It will only be a matter of time before the paperback as a fictional novel will be a thing of the past. Unfortunately printing cost and reducing shelf space, to sell the book, will see to that. Where can we buy your books? My books are available all over the world, printed in paper back and for ebook readers such as Kindle, Sony, Nook and iPad off the net, besides a number of audio versions, all titles have links on my site depending on your reader or paperback outlets..  I also have an Amazon shop called Keith’s Amazon http://www.keithsamazon.co.uk  where you can buy for your Kindle, or paperback, using your Amazon account.  Do you have a website or blog where we can keep tabs on you? http://www.keithhoare.com is my main site to find out about new titles I also have the .uk and the .co.uk that are mirrors. Many early titles have their own website, but you’ll find everything on the com site. Do you have any advice for other writers? Most writers in their heart of hearts become very upset with criticism. You have to accept that these days, since the coming of the ebook, there are a great many vindictive people, who seem to take a delight in scathing writers work. You need to be hard skinned and laugh it off. Only another writer knows just how much work goes into a novel, and any completed work is an achievement. How good the finished product is, did it work, was it readable, only time will tell. But do your best to get it right, don’t rush to publish, make sure the little typos are sorted out and try to get someone, who isn’t a friend or a relative, to give it a once over. Readers will often see what you don’t, so take their comments seriously, don’t get on your high horse and ignore advice. Except remember the first draft is the one with passion, don’t keep changing in a belief it enhances the work. You risk watering down the passion and the story soon becomes bland. A good example is poetry. Poetry written under stress, such as a death in the family, difficult illnesses, or financial problems, are often the best poems. They have that little extra that you cannot often create when life is comfortable. And, finally, do you have anything else that you’d like to say to everyone? I know just how difficult it is to write and hope you have been inspired a little from my own experience. Writing is a diversion from reality, but unlike the reader, you as the writer controls the world, the characters, their hopes and their dreams. It is as much as a responsibility as a reality, which is what writing fiction is all about. Good luck with your writing.                            Extract from a blog interview site
Copyright Keith Hoare 2014
Keith Hoare