Saturday, 11 January 2014

Getting to know John Hennessy ~ Author Interview

Hello my fellow bookworms!

Today we will be interviewing John Hennessy, Author of Dark Winter (Check out my Review). John has become a great friend of mind and I always find it so exciting getting to know these amazing people behind the books.. I mean they are normal inspiring people too who just took a chance at a their dream!

Lets get this Interview on the go...

Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I’m a full time martial arts teacher and part time writer. My favourite tv shows are Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Seinfeld, Charmed, Buffy, and as far as British tv goes, Yes Minister and
Fawlty Towers. My fave film ever is Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, closely followed by Goodfellas, Thelma and Louise, and Gladiator.

I have three cats, and live happily at home with my other half. She runs a bridal shop. So we’re both busy, but try and find time for each other. Writing can be so all consuming that it is important to remember the stuff that keeps you grounded, which my lady helps me to do.

Music, like books….I will listen to almost anything. It doesn’t matter if it is new or old, classics will always be classics. Fave band ever is probably The Cure…I had my goth days 20 odd years ago. I love to see much of England as I can, so in the Spring and Summer months I tend to drive out to beautiful gardens and historical houses.

I don’t get time for friends as much as I would like, but in addition to the above, they help keep me grounded, and I cherish each friendship that I have.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To write a successful book. In terms of what one defines as success, I suppose it would be an instance that would allow me to pay the mortgage off.

Which writers inspire you?
I suppose these authors are from the genres I love the most. Historically, it has been the likes of Stephen King, Anne Rice and JRR Tolkien. Many others could say ‘I would pick those too’ but their use of words, prose, and how they set the scene is truly marvellous. I try and put such elements into my writing, but 

Are you working on any new books?
I’m always working on something. There’s the continuation of the ‘Dark Winter’ story, marked for an October 2014 release. I’m writing a short novella called ‘The House on Normandy Road’ which is based on my own experiences growing up in my city…and my first direct contact with the paranormal. I don’t have a release date for that. There’s also a  totally different story that I will release under a pen name.

I’ve also drafted some ideas which have formulated into a full length story, but based on a woman I used to know via teaching her martial arts. I wouldn’t use her real name in the story of course, but I thought the events I detail would help others who found themselves in her situation. Only today did I get the go ahead to write this book. Provisionally, it will be called ‘Clara’s Song.’

The next ‘all new’ release, called ‘Stormling’, is scheduled for April 2014.

What’s it about?
Stormling’ is a fantasy story that will be aimed at the YA/NA sector, but, as it is lighter in tone than Dark Winter, likely to grab more fans. It’s quite epic in scope, and chronicles a war in a very special world, far from the eyes of us mere Earth dwellers! But an object that helped kept peace in that world is now lost, and the Stormling of the title has to go on a quest to retrieve the said object. However, as it has ended up on Earth, the quest will not be as straightforward as he would hope. I’ll be announcing the book formerly by end of February, with a full synopsis then!

What genre are your books? 
The first was a non-fiction title about my philosophy of martial arts. My latest was a paranormal horror thriller (nothing like genre-gobbling, is there?) and the newest one, which should be out in April, is an epic fantasy story. I actually wrote this between the other two, so I’m hoping it will be well received, as I have worked much much harder on it!

What draws you to this genre?
I would write about anything if it interested me, however in the case of these two stories, they really are my favourite genres.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
I’d be comfortable with Jennifer Lawrence or Saoirse Ronan playing Romilly Winter. I like to keep things realistic!

How much research do you do?
I think readers who are well read will pick up on glaring inconsistencies in stories. I will do my
best to show I do know what I’m talking about. After all, if I have put a character in a given situation that requires some research on my part to back it up, you better believe it. I would have to do the research, because if not, it sticks out like a sore thumb, and readers would highlight this in their discussions and reviews. 

When did you decide to become a writer and what inspired you?
As a child I was blown away by the array of books at my local library. The various authors, titles and subject matter was truly amazing. I would read as many books as I could, on a variety of subjects. Sometimes I would go back to the library and get them re-stamped so I could get them out again. I read a lot. Then I re-read a lot. But it seems as I have gotten older the amount of books I read are fewer.

Moving on from the library, I would go to many bookstores in town. I would look at any genre, but horror was always of interest to me. So in my early teens, I would read pretty much anything that Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Dean Kootz had written.
If I had to say when I decided to become a writer, that’s tricky because I’ve always written things, but never really in a coherent format like a blog. But the notes for my first book on martial arts just kept on growing, so I had discussions with people close to me who said – “Why don’t you put all this in a book?”
Basically, that’s how it happened!

Do you write full-time or part-time?
Part-time. Although sometimes I’m in the flow of writing when the other working hour comes round, I simply have to stop writing. That’s the discipline. I have to keep focussed on what pays for things!

What is the hardest thing about writing?
Creating an environment in which I can write. There are too many ‘normal distractions’ in life. I can mute the telephone, disconnect the internet, refuse to answer the door! But then you have family….pets…and other things that can affect focussed writing.

What is the easiest thing about writing?
Enjoying the world we create, with the characters to fill those worlds. We are only ever limited by our imagination.

Did you ever get writer’s Block?
I’m never had writer’s block, but I’ve had periods where I knew what I was writing was sub-standard, but I continued so that I could get past it, smooth out a scene or a chapter, then go back, and re-draft the bits I would not be happy with.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
If I got it, I would take it as my body’s way of saying ‘take a break, switch off, don’t force it.’ I believe if one does that, you go back to the writing anew. I don’t think writer’s block is necessarily a bad thing.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Always the traditional books, though the e-books do have their place. 

What book/s are you reading at present?
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, I’m also re-reading Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, and Rebecca’s World by Terry Nation.

Who designed your book cover/s?
Claudia McKinney of Phatpuppyart designed the cover for Dark Winter. I will task her with doing the others as well, if she can bear with me!

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
I haven’t really gone on a quest as such! This is where I need to improve the most. These days, you have to sound your own trumpet, being quiet doesn’t work anymore. However, I don’t want to be one of those people who spam via Twitter to ‘did you read my book?’ and post that every few hours. I understand why they do it, but I believe that if what I’ve written is good, and people like it, then it will be found. I will continue to blog and tweet when I genuinely have something to say. That may not be the popular way of doing things, but I would hate to become a person who spammed words just for words sake. 

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
I honestly don’t mind. If people paid their money, they are entitled to their view. If they get the book for free, then they shouldn’t complain if it wasn’t what they were expecting. I don’t believe anything truly valuable comes for free, and a good writer will know what he or she is worth.

What is your favourite motivational phrase.
Give in, give up, or give it everything you've got.

Where can you see yourself in 5 years time? Still writing, still teaching.

What advice would you give to your younger self? To do everything sooner.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
To write, write and write. Never give up on it. Never give up on yourself. It is hard work, and can break the will of many. But if you have a book in you, it will come out, I have no doubt about that.

What inspires you to write?
Anything and everything. I don’t look to other books or films for inspiration, I just write what I want to.
Do you have any special quirks you need to do/have to write?
A never-ending supply of tea, decaff coffee, and biscuits.

How does it feel to be published?
It’s always nice to see the physical book. It wouldn’t have been created without the hard work that the writer puts into it. You do feel a great sense of achievement. For me, it was never an ego thing, I could not care less about fame. But seeing your own name on a book is a nice thing.

What advice do you have regards finding a publisher/publisher rejections?
To keep on going. Each rejection takes you to the one that will take you on. JK Rowling received one letter back regarding Harry Potter, with the publisher saying ‘it’s about a boy who goes to boarding school, who would be interested in that?’

This is typical of some publishers and agents, who, to be fair, are overwhelmed with submissions. Given that anyone can publish a book now, the elitism and actually, some unprofessional elements in the industry that writers come up against can now circumvent them should they wish. That can only be a good thing.


Thank you for joining me getting to know John a little bit better! 
I am very excited for his new novel Stormling.. so watch this space for a review!!!



  1. Wonderful interview, I love that he just keeps writing even if it feels sub-par, that was an exercise we used in school and it really does work.

    1. Thank you Kimba :) Writers keep writing, thats the secret!

    2. Lool I think sometimes it becomes a bit 'all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy'.....but at least you can keep writing and delete the dross later. When you go back to it, it kind of makes sense! Thanks Kimba.

  2. Great interview! I like the cover of Dark Winter! :) and yay for tea and biscuits! *runs to make some now* >.<


    1. It is right :)!! I agree.. think its tea time again!! <3

  3. What a lovely interview. I really enjoy learning about different authors.


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