Spotlight on Brian O’Hare – Interview with Author of ‘Fallen Men’

He’s an Academic and a new author, learning all about the publishing process. I’m really happy to host his first interview today.

So, let’s learn more about Brian O’Hare!

Please, tell us a little about yourself.

I am a retired assistant director of a large regional college of further and higher education. I live in Newry, Northern Ireland, am married, have three children, ten grandchildren, one great grandchild. I play golf three times a week off a ten handicap and do a lot of voluntary work. Any writing I have previously done was academic…very much restricted to a specific readership. Several articles in educational journals were followed by a number of book-length reports for the Dept. of Education and the University of Ulster.

I have also written an interesting biography of a man (interesting because of who the man is, nothing to do with the way I write) who daily performs amazing miracles of healing…The Miracle Ship. That’s with an American publisher…hopefully to be published within the next year. (There are some seriously fascinating episodes in that for a blog…if I get around to starting one!)  I emailed the publisher the other day after several months and he replied that “…it is still in the queue,  I hope to have a response by Christmas.”  I wait in hope!

I had a liver disease since childhood which resulted in my taking early retirement a number of years ago. In 2002 I had a liver transplant but am strong and healthy now. I continued to do academic writing well into my retirement and followed that with a memoir about my liver transplant, dealing with the physical, emotional and spiritual experiences that came from that period in my life (A Spiritual Odyssey, published by Columba Press, Dublin).

Recently I experienced a desire to write fiction. Hence Fallen Men. It is a story about three priests. Because it is about priests, religion is in the story’s very DNA but it is really a heart-breaking story about a doomed love affair and the psychological disintegration of the lead protagonist. 

I have written a second fiction book, currently with a traditional publisher in Belfast. It’s quite different from Fallen Men… a detective mystery inspired by an old 14th century painting of the Last Judgement. It’s called “The Doom Murders” and I am currently writing a third book, “The 11.05 Killings” featuring the same detectives as in The Doom Murders.

How long have you been writing?

I would have said only recently, perhaps about six years ago. I never considered myself a writer before.  Always maintained I had nothing to say.  But I have started to remember stories in national newspapers when I was in my twenties, a couple a failed novels in my thirties, and all that academic stuff (there was a lot of that) in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s  when the NI Inspectorate kept contacting me to write reports for them.  So perhaps I started somewhere in the mid-seventies.

Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Haven’t thought about it in years but I was just into my twenties and tried my hand at a short story competition. I wrote a ghost story which won the thing and was plastered over two centre pages the following Sunday.  I remember how chuffed I was. Story has disappeared into the ether now …along with nearly everything else I wrote.  I trusted people who borrowed and didn’t return.  Never kept a record of who got what.  All my articles (twenty odd) are toast.  No record of any kind!! I regret that now.  Should have saved them.

Can you tell us two eccentricities about yourselves?

  1. One of my daily chores is to do the dishes and clean up the kitchen after my wife cooks.  I play my ipod to relieve the boredom. At such times I like music with a beat.  Try to imagine a seventy-five year old, in slippers, dancing to rock music in a kitchen with a dishcloth in one hand and a washing brush in the other.  (Mind you, I’m still petty nifty on my feet!!)
  2. When I prepare for meetings with other individuals, I tend to go over several scenarios in my mind, carrying out a dialogue with the other person…rehearsing both parts.  Sometimes I do this aloud.  That’s all right when you’re in a room by yourself…not so good when you’re walking down a busy street, haranguing an invisible Harvey beside you.  I’ve had looks!! Oh, yes!  I’ve had looks!

What was the best thing you’ve ever heard (or read) from a reader?

I was sitting in the body of a large conference hall where the Chief Inspector of Schools for Nth. Ireland was giving a talk.  In the middle of his talk he held aloft a book-length report that I had recently written, praised it, and earned me a clap.  Then he said, “I just got an order this morning for 3000 of these from my opposite number in England.”(That was the remark that really made my day!!!)

Do you have a good Indie author to recommend?

I’m only new to kindle (and to my kindle reader).  All my purchases heretofore have been stuff by safe, well known authors because of the expense.  I have no experience with indie…presume you mean cool stuff that doesn’t fit into existing niches or patterns.  Makes me think of Stephen King.  You just do not know what you are going to get from him.  Just finished reading  11.22.63.  Uninspiring premise…guy goes back in time to kill Lee Harvey Oswald before Oswald kills JF Kennedy.  But King’s magic turned this into an extraordinary story. Great characters, weird theories about the impact of time-travel, a love interest that time messes with… I loved it and can recommend it to anyone.

Who inspired and/or supported you to become a writer?

As I said earlier, I never considered myself a writer despite all the academic stuff. But after my liver transplant I sat down and knocked out 100,000 words in about six weeks about the medical and spiritual experiences I had during a couple of traumatic years.  I sent it to a publisher who, three weeks later, was on my phone at 8.30 am on morning asking for the floppy disc. (Not long ago in temporal terms but eons in computer time.) That was in 2004.  The book appeared on the shelves a year later.  .  That book was published and after that I thought, “Hey, maybe I do have something to say!”

Do you have a WIP (Working in progress)? If so, can you tell us a little about it?

A new detective novel called “The 11.05 Murders”. I’m trying for complicated here. Two people are killed (on different evenings) at 11.05pm. I’m trying to make this one a wee bit like one of those wooden Russian dolls which have another inside them…and another…and another. The case seems solved…then it isn’t… then it is…then it isn’t. (Plus there’s one more murder, also at 11.05pm, that causes a hard-earned solution to disappear in smoke.) The ending (like that of the Doom Murders before it) is intended to be completely unexpected yet perfectly acceptable when the reader reflects back on the clues that were laid. I have the outline clear in my head but I’m still trying to build worlds for my characters to live in. Ten thousand words done. Only another 90 or so to go.

What is your favorite of your books? Why?

Very small body of work outside my academic stuff…one memoir, two biographies, two novels and a third novel, currently unfinished.  I find it difficult to answer your question other than to say that the characters who affected me most and who were the most real to me were the characters in Fallen Men.  I suppose it was because they suffered so much…and maybe there was a fair bit of myself invested in each one of them.  For that reason I would chose that book.

What is your favorite of your characters? Why?

Almost answered that question by accident in the previous question.  For the same reasons outlined above I would have to say the young, tortured Father Ray Canavan in Fallen Men.  It’s about empathy, I suppose, but I grieved with him, cried with him, feared with him, endured with him.  Hard to forget an experience like that. (I also have to confess a fondness for the murderer in The Doom Murders.  Had, and still have, a real soft spot for him.  Can’t tell you why.  It would spoil the book for you if you ever get round to reading it.)

Do you like to interact online? What’s your favorite social media?

Very little.  Recently entered into a couple of kindle readers/writers forums.  Didn’t know the rules.  Got a bit of a shellacking from one lady who, absolutely quite rightly, objected to my plugging my book at every opportunity regardless of the thread in the forum.  I learnt from that to be more discreet in any future postings. But I apologized and the lady and I are now “all good!”  Don’t have any favourite social media…guess if I want to interact with any (wishful thinking) future readers, I’ll have to blog and twitter all over the place.

How do you feel about marketing your books?

Seriously frustrating process…but I am happy to do what I can.  That’s why I nearly lost my nose in that forum I was telling you about.  I try to market at every opportunity…but it is to one and two people at a time.  I would love to know how to reach a wider audience.  I definitely intend to start a website and a blog and a twitter (don’t even understand what that is) and see if I can make any kind of effort to remove my book’s cloak of invisibility.  Reading John Locke’s book at the moment about selling millions of books. Hah!  Doesn’t he make it sound so easy?

Please, give us all your links – where can your readers find you and your books?

Until about two weeks ago my lap-top was a type-writer and a research tool.  I have been hearing incomprehensible words and phrases, and about various technical processes in the past two weeks that have been making my head spin.  John Anthony (bibex@ymail.com ) took care of every last detail involved in putting Fallen Men on Kindle, and his wife, Yani, designed the cover.  I would have been completely lost without John…and I still torture him most days about different aspects of the kindle writer’s life…author pages, changing price, etc., etc.  He’s always patient and helpful. You can read all about his enterprise in:   http://www.kindle-book-publishing.co.uk/

The only links I have to me are the name ‘professor’ in the couple of forums that I’m tracking (that can be clicked on) and the link to the Author Page below:

  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Brian-OHare/e/B001K89IWM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Fallen Men – Amazon Uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B009BPHVDE

Fallen Men – Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009BPHVDE

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Brian! Wish you all the best with your books. Fallen Men is on my TBR. 🙂

And readers, don’t go anywhere! Stay tuned for next interview.

  • If you’re an author and want to be in my spotlight, contact me!
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Spotlight on Wodke Hawkinson – Interview with Author duo of ‘Zeke’ and other stories

 

Today I’ll have not only one, but two talented authors under my spotlight.

Together or alone, they wrote many popular books. Their stories are greatly reviewed.

They are also really funny and friendly people, who support Indie Authors all the time, specially with their popular website, Find a Good book to read. It’s my absolute pleasure to have you two here, girls!

So, let’s learn more about them!

Please, tell us a little about yourselves.

K- For many years I was into music, performing in bands, writing and co-writing songs.  Performing music is no longer a part of my life, but I enjoyed it immensely. I’ve worked at various jobs throughout my life, but began writing full-time just recently. I published a book for young readers entitled James Willis Makes a Million. Then, in 2009 PJ and I began collaborating.  Our pen name for those works is the combination of our last names: Wodke Hawkinson.  We’ve written several volumes of short stories along with three novels, so far. I look forward to more writing, both on my own and with my co-author, PJ. We have many ideas for future projects. We’ve self-published all our books, but one has since been signed by a publisher. 

PJ- I grew up and still live in the Midwest. I graduated from Hutchinson Community College. I have one published novel of my own; Half Bitten. Currently I am writing novels under the pen name of Wodke Hawkinson along with co-author, Karen Wodke. My other interests include sightseeing off the beaten path, fishing, and reading. I admit to no favorite writer but enjoy the works of Stephen King, JRR Tolkien, JA Konrath, and Douglas Adams. I envision a life of writing both alone and with my long-time friend and co-author. To date, I have published 1 book solo and 8 books (including novelettes) with my coauthor, Karen.

How long have you been writing?

K- Writing is something I’ve always enjoyed, but I didn’t make a determined effort until a few years ago.  Even as a child when I had to write sentences for English class, I liked the challenge of making my sentences as complex as possible.  I’m intrigued by words.

PJ- I wrote Half Bitten in 2010 and began seriously writing with Karen shortly after.
 

Do you remember the first story you wrote?

 K- In junior high school I wrote a story about a woman who killed her husband and buried him under her flower garden. Kind of morbid for a youngster. In high school, I wrote a ghost story. And then PJ and I used to write humorous stories just for laughs in high school.

PJ- The first story I wrote would have been co-written with Karen when we were in high school. It was silly and fun. We wrote a series of stories that centered around 3 or 4 characters. I still have them and actually put together a spiral bound copy for myself, Karen, and my family several years ago. They were lots of fun and produced giggles galore.

Can you tell us two eccentricities about yourselves?

 K- I don’t know how eccentric this is but if I eat something sweet, I always like to follow that with something salty. I’m sure there are other eccentricities about me, but I can’t identify them because they seem normal to me. LOL

PJ- First, I like certain things in threes: kisses and sips of soda (yes, I know that is borderline OCD, but hey, it’s only a couple of things). Second, I get out of bed in stages: stage 1-make the bed and get out my clothes for the day, stage 2- lay back down and read or get caught up on facebook and words with friends, stage 3- brush teeth, wash face, get dressed and lay back on bed for a few more minutes, stage 4- get up and stay up (sometimes).

What was the best thing you’ve ever heard (or read) from a reader?

K- Recently a reader told me our new novel, Zeke, is so realistic she couldn’t finish it because it tripped too many triggers for her. Now, I’m not glad about causing any distress to our reader, but it was gratifying to know we had managed to capture the personality of a character like Zeke.

PJ- One of the best things I’ve ever heard from a reader was the praise of my family when I finished Half Bitten (my first novel). Nothing can be better.

Do you have a good Indie author to recommend?

K- I could recommend quite a few. If I have to just pick one, I would say Ruby Barnes. His novel, Peril, is very well written and twisty.

PJ-An extremely hard question as I read so many books. I went out to Amazon and looked through my past digital orders and have chosen to recommend Casino Shuffle, by J. Fields Jr. This book is about Antonio Cruz, the head butler at the Native Sun Casino and the challenges he faces to keep the guests happy. My husband and I both read this book and enjoyed it immensely.

Who inspired and/or supported you to become a writer?

K- When PJ wrote Half Bitten, it reminded me of my love for writing and inspired me to make a serious effort. I wrote James Willis and enjoyed the process very much. Soon after, PJ & I began collaborating.

PJ-Karen was my original inspiration but it took me many years to act on the idea. After reading Twilight by Stephenie Meyer and The Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris, I decided to try my hand at a different kind of vampire novel; thus, Half Bitten came to life.

My biggest supporter is my husband. He is the reason I have become who I am today and the reason I continue to be.

Do you have a WIP (Working in progress)? If so, can you tell us a little about it?

K- I have a couple of projects started on my own, and PJ and I are writing two books. It’s the first time we’ve ever tried working on two novels at a time.

PJ- We actually have two books in the works but I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a while to learn anything about them. I can tell you one is a suspense and the other is fantasy.

What is your favorite of your books? Why?

K- I’m a little torn between Betrayed and Tangerine. Betrayed is our most popular novel so far and I loved the main characters, Lance and Brooklyn. But Tangerine is the very first novel we wrote together and it was so enjoyable creating the other worlds, the characters, and the aliens that I still have a fondness for that book. We originally self-published Tangerine, but have pulled it from all venues because it’s been picked up by a publisher. It should be re-released very soon.

PJ- I guess I’d choose Betrayed. {{Spoiler Alert}} Brook goes through one of the most horrendous ordeals a woman can ever face and manages to deal with her demons and move forward with life. Lance is a steadfast, easy-going recluse whom Brook manages to bring out of his shell. We also decided to let Brook have her revenge and wrote Betrayed-Alternate Ending that takes the reader along a new path from Chapter 49 forward.

What is your favorite of your characters? Why?

 K- I like Lance the best from our novel Betrayed. He’s a strong, kind man who steps forward to do the right thing, but he also is subject to very human emotions.

PJ- Oh, wow! That’s a tough question. I would have to say Lance from the book Betrayed.  Honestly, his temperament and personality remind me of my husband.

Do you like to interact online? What’s your favorite social media?

K- I enjoy keeping up with the work of fellow authors, interacting with readers, learning others’ perspectives on writing, and finding new books to add to my collection. Facebook is great, but I have to admit my favorite is Twitter. We’ve made so many great friends there, including readers and other writers.

PJ- Interacting online is sometimes the only interaction I get since I am no longer working outside the home. My personal Facebook is probably my favorite way to interact and that is due mainly to the fact that I know, personally, everyone. I also enjoy Twitter because of the interaction between possible new friends.

How do you feel about marketing your books?

 K- Marketing is very important to the success of any author. Writing is our livelihood. Therefore, it is a business. When I look at it that way, it makes marketing easier. A lot of writers are reticent about promoting their own work, and I understand that. Many authors are introverts or shy about self-promotion. But in the process of learning how to market our books, we’ve met some really generous and fantastic people, authors and others who are willing to help each other get the word out. These relationships and those with readers have really enriched our online experience. An important key to marketing, we believe, is to support and cooperate with others. We enjoy promoting the work of other authors along with our own books.

PJ- Marketing our books is one of the hardest things we’ve faced. Karen had done an excellent job of getting authors and others to follow us on Twitter. She spends hours promoting our works and I can’t thank her enough (recently I took over the retweets and have more appreciation of the time she spent). Karen has set up and maintains our website; Find a Good Book to Read and I maintain our original author website; wodke-hawkinson.com.

We also look for other means of promotion; such as, this interview with you, Renata, and both thank you for the opportunity.

Please, give us all your links – where can your readers find you and your books?

Wodke Hawkinson books, websites, and blogs:

Zeke
Betrayed

Betrayed-Alternate Ending
Tangerine (coming soon)

Ghost Writer

Acim

Short Story Volumes:

Alone

Catch Her in the Rye

Blue

 

wodke-hawkinson.com

http://wodke-hawkinson.com/blog1/

findagoodbooktoread.com

http://findagoodbooktoread.com/wodke-hawkinsons-blog.php

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, girls! Loved having you here, and reciprocate my (hilarious) Wacky interview on your website.

Oh! And I have to say that I also need to eat something salty after something sweet! I thought I was the only one. 🙂

And readers, don’t go anywhere! Stay tuned for next interview on Friday.

  • If you’re an author and want to be in my spotlight, contact me!