Published by Harlequin, my next guest is currently mid way through his second novel. He is a man that knows or thing or two about commercial law having graduated from Warwick University and the College of Law.
Not afraid to jump on in where his experience allows, he blogs furiously about Middle Eastern politics, which is a good thing as his Tom Dupree series of Novels hone in on that topic….
So, who is next up on Simon’s 10 Q Interviews?
Let’s find out…
It’s always a good start for authors to mention they’re from the South West of the United Kingdom, as that has been home to me for many years. So, I welcome with open arms my next guest Gary Haynes to Simon’s 10 Q Interviews.
Hailing from Plymouth, just a stones throw from my old stomping ground, Gary is a practicing Commercial Lawyer. Not afraid to get stuck into the odd dispute or two and luckily so for his readers and 10,000+ followers, as they get a taste of how Gary deals with conflict in the #1 book in his Tom Dupree series, State of Honour.
Another writer with an eye for a cover… it’s a draw on the eye, but how will Gary perform against Simon’s 10Q Interviews?
Let’s find out…
SD Q1: Your first novel “State of Honour” has recently been published under the Harlequins book label Carina. Aside from a great cover, what can readers expect that is out of the ordinary from this novel?
GH A1: It’s a political action thriller with elements of espionage and military sub-genres. The hero, Tom Dupree, is a special agent in the US Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which is a first, I think. He’s a complex character rather than a two-dimensional kicker down of doors. Compassionate as well as tough, and plagued by the demons of his past. On his watch the fictional Secretary of State, Linda Carlyle, is kidnapped in Islamabad rather than assassinated. He has a three-day timeframe in which to find her, a fast-paced journey across four continents. This isn’t a black and white story. I wanted the reader to experience the grey realm in which geopolitics plays out, and tried to make the antagonists as believable and motivated as the hero’s helpers. There are some great twists, modesty aside. I guarantee you won’t see them coming. I like to think the action scenes are state-of-the-art and that my attention to detail, via a huge amount of research, shines through.
SD Q2: On your website you list your favourite quotation to be: “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.” What makes this your favourite quote and what regrets do you harbour, whether in your life as a lawyer and/or as a writer?
GH A2: I like the cleanness and simplicity of this quote, and yet it’s so profound. Life is all about taking risks and, metaphorically speaking, going down dark alleys. I don’t want to be an old man sitting in a chair in a nursing home with nothing but regrets for the things I didn’t do. Life is all about doing as far as I’m concerned. I’m not one for saying “what if” but I did miss some great opportunities when I was younger. My main regret is not continuing to write at university and afterwards and not picking up the thread until my forties. But then again, the book I’m currently working on is the best writing I’ve done and I couldn’t have done it twenty years ago. I want to get better with age, like fine wine.
SD Q3: You are said to be fascinated with nanotechnologies, can you give three examples of your favourites; One from the past (perhaps now obsolete), one that is current and one that you would like to see developed in the future?
1. – From the past?
A breathable, waterproof climbing jacket.
2. – Current?
A genetic test that allows doctors to predict how well their patients will respond to the anticoagulant drug warfarin, which is notoriously difficult otherwise.
3. – Futuristic?
A molecular self-assembly machine that builds anything I desire in seconds.
SD Q4: State of Honour is the first in the Tom Dupree series of novels. How many are planned for the series, when can readers expect the next one to be published, and are there any other series or novels in the pipeline?
GH A4: I’ve almost finished the sequel to State of Honour and I’m planning at least another one after that. There may well be more. The sequel is due out later this year. I wrote a WW2 novella based on the fall of Berlin a couple of years ago and I’m adding a few twists and turns to it before getting it published. I’m also about a third of the way through a YA/adult thriller based in the UK which is written in first person and is different from anything I’ve written previously.
SD Q5: You are a trained and practiced Lawyer; you studied law at Warwick University and completed your postgraduate training at the College of Law. If there is such a thing, what is the funniest, most interesting or most ironic case you have ever worked on and how was it finally resolved?
GH A5: I worked on a case for years. It happened to set a legal precedent, because no one had managed to do what we did before. My client was financially, and I have to say, emotionally ruined by the facts of the case. But he had his day in court and won. He died a short time afterwards at a young age. I realised then that the case wasn’t about how his life had gone wrong – it was his life and when it was over he just gave up. We had become close. That case taught me a lot about letting go of the past and moving on.
SD Q6: I happen to know that today you are watching the Epic “Ben Hur” for the umpteenth time. A true classic indeed. Name three other classic movies that you would be content whiling away the hours watching and what makes them so watchable for you?
Classic Movie 1: The Deer Hunter
Why? This is a long film but three of my favourite actors are outstanding in it: Christopher Walken, Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep. I saw it when it first came out one afternoon in a poky cinema. There were about half a dozen other people in there. I was seventeen. When it finished I just sat there. It was so well observed, so powerful and moving. The foreshadowing of the deer hunt and De Niro’s character not wanting to kill again at the end of the film because of what he experienced in Vietnam is simple and brilliant.
Classic Movie 2: Rebecca
Why? This is a black and white Hitchcock classic with a young Lawrence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. I fell in love with her when I first saw it and that hasn’t changed. No big action scenes. No huge production. Just a great story with characters you care about and flawless acting by everyone in the small cast. It’s perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Classic Movie 3: The Godfather Part II
Why? It’s one of the greatest films ever made and another long one. I’m a big fan of the director, Francis Ford Coppola, who wrote the screenplay with Mario Puzo, the author of the original book. It stars Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, and Robert De Niro. It’s probably Pacino’s greatest performance. The character arc from principled war hero to ruthless criminal is gripping. It is one film where the flashbacks, his father’s rise in depression-hit America, are as creative and compelling as the main story.
SD Q7: You are a Plymothian, home to many famous ‘celebrities’ of past eras; Sir Francis Drake who was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe and became embedded in history after his victory against the Spanish Armada. William Henry Wills, The journalist, editor and great friend of Charles Dickens and currently the BBC Sportsman of the year (2007) and the Olympic diver Tom Daley to mention but a few. If I were to lend you my Time Machine with the precondition that you could only travel to the locality of Plymouth, to which 3 times/years would you visit, where would you venture within that locality and who would you seek out with a view to asking a burning question…and of course what would the question be?
Time 1? 1620.
Place or Person to visit? The Mayflower Steps in Plymouth’s historic barbican. It was here that The Mayflower left for the New World in 1620. Aboard were the Pilgrim Fathers. They had wintered in Plymouth. William Bradford was one of their intrepid leaders. My question would be: How did you convince so many people to follow you into the unknown?
Question or reason? How did you convince so many people to follow you into the unknown?
Time 2? 1831.
Place or Person to visit? Plymouth Sound was the departure point of The Beagle’s second voyage in 1831. There was a 22-year old on board called Charles Darwin.
Question or reason? Did you really just want to see the tropics before becoming a parson?
Time 3? 1939.
Place or Person to visit? The Shipwright Arms was an old pub situated near the centre of Plymouth and it was where my maternal grandfather had a last drink with his brother, my great uncle George. My grandfather had gone white at seventeen after being torpedoed three times in WW1 on so-called secret ships. His brother was younger and was a sailor on HMS Courageous. Courageous left Plymouth on 3 September 1939 and was sunk two weeks later by a German U-boat. My great uncle told my grandfather he was going to die on that mission and he did. My question would be: If you could stop him going, would you?
Question or reason? If you could stop him going, would you?
SD Q8: On your Time Travels you happen into Sir Francis Drake, who, realising your excellence within the field of Law asks you to accompany him whilst he attempts to circumnavigate the globe. Your brief, simply to confuse any islanders that you may bump into during restocking stops, bamboozle them with your knowledge of law and hopefully enable the vessel to be restocked on the promise of ‘future’ payment. This will ensure sailors aboard are kept happy with galleys filled with food, water and rum and any chance of mutiny therefore will be kept to a minimum. Of course you forget the rules of Time Travel and jump at this opportunity. However, this change in the course of history ‘Lord Gary’ leads to a change in the load and displacement of the vessel and during storms you and Second Officer Drake (as he would be known from then on) end up as joint survivors on a deserted and uninhabited island. On being rescued years later, you would tell of the ‘late’ second officer and the three personal items you had on your person that would keep you sane during your time on the island. What were those three items, what did they mean to you and what happened to the second officer?
Item 1: A small mirror. This would enable me to keep up appearances and ensure I didn’t forget what I looked like. It would also enable me to start a fire and signal to passing ships.
Item 2: A notepad and pen. I used to write a lot of poetry. I would try to get better. I could spend hours playing with the sound of words, which would be bliss. I could also write a diary and tell myself that I would publish a nonfiction book on my experience after I was rescued.
Item 3: An iPod with The Ring Cycle. I’m a massive fan of Wagner and as the poet WH Auden said, ‘Wagner was perhaps the greatest genius that ever lived’. I have a vinyl edition conducted by Wilhelm Furtwangler that I bought off an old English teacher. It is 19 hours long and I could listen to it again and again and learn and hear something new every time.
As for the Second Officer, he slit his wrists with the mirror after I drove him over the edge with the Wagner. Despite the accolades, Wagner is like marmite.
SD Comment: I would love to hear how you explained away the iPod to your rescuers, but perhaps that’s a question for another day!
SD Q9: Who are your favourite three authors from the past. What draws you to their style of writing and how does your own writing compare to their work?
Author 1: Ernest Hemingway. He has a lean and masculine style of writing that lends itself well to thrillers. He writes about war and loss and love in all its aspects. My writing has been described as not wasting a word and I like that. I’m also interested in the same themes, although redemption is perhaps my strongest theme.
Author 2: Joseph Conrad. He is an exotic writer and his themes were based on his view of the world, which was bleak, and yet know he’s seen as prophetic. I admire the vision and ambition of his work. He was certainly not concerned with plot. I don’t write like Conrad, but then I don’t think anybody does or ever did. In 1901 Conrad wrote: Egoism, which is the moving force of the world, and altruism, which is its morality, these two contradictory instincts, of which one is so plain and the other so mysterious, cannot serve us unless in the incomprehensible alliance of their irreconcilable antagonism. See what I mean?
Author 3: Charles Dickens. He wrote the most memorable characters in the most entertaining and haunting way. He cared about the injustices of the world in which he lived and addressed them in a manner that was devoid of being patronizing. I admire him hugely, that’s all.
SD Q10: 10 Questions are always a challenge…It never seems to be enough! But alas we are now at Number #10. So for my final ask, the question which is fast becoming customary on Simons 10Q Interviews, if you were to interview any author from the past or present, who would you interview and what would be your opening question?
Interviewee: Cormac McCarthy
Question: Why do you write?
SD Comment: Gary, many thanks for taking part in Simon’s 10Q Interviews. I very much look forward to hearing of your new releases due out in the near future. Readers – before you leave, why not learn more about Gary and his first Novel, published by Harlequin, State of Honour. Don’t forget to bookmark the page and return for more fun at Simon’s 10Q Interviews!
The Gary Haynes interview took place on 02 April 2014.
Simon Duringer © 2014.
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