10 Questions with John Twelve Hawks
1. Mr. Hawks, thank you for stopping by on my blog. Your newest thriller, SPARK, came out on October 7. Tell us a bit more about this book.
This is the first new novel I’ve published since ending the Fourth Realm Trilogy. Spark is about a man named Jacob Underwood who survives a severe motorcycle accident. When he comes out of the coma, he’s suffering from a real-life syndrome called Cotard’s Delusion — he thinks that he’s dead.
2. How did you come up with the character of Jacob Underwood?
I’ve written a great many things that will never see the light of day. A few years ago, I wrote a short novel. Underwood appeared in the final chapters and I was fascinated by this new character who had no fear or compassion. Writing about extreme personalities can give us a different way to look at our own lives.
3. What is one of the most interesting things you learned during the research for this thriller?
That empathy and compassion are inherent to the way that the “normal” brain reacts.
4. How is SPARK different from other thrillers in the genre?
It’s a first person novel and Underwood’s voice is completely unique. What has surprised me is that most readers ending up caring about a man who has been trained to kill people.
5. Why do you write?
I don’t have a choice. Writing fiction is how I understand the confusing reality of our world.
6. What are your writing habits? Outlines or not? How do you go from the idea for a book to the finished manuscript?
I usually have an outline, but it’s only about a page long. I need to know how the book begins and how it ends, but that’s about it. For me, a long and extensive outline would restrict my creativity. Other writers are successful with different strategies.
7. What are your thoughts on the latest publishing industry developments, mainly the rise of the self-publishing?
This year I self-published a nonfiction book called AGAINST AUTHORITY (available on my website). I think we are moving toward a system in which self-publishing will become a significant option for a great many authors. The trick is finding out new ways to draw attention to your book.
8. What are your favorite pastimes?
I like to listen to music. This year, Bedrock Records released The Traveler — a progressive house album created by British record producers John Digweed and Nick Muir that was inspired by my first novel. I read passages from the book. They changed my voice and intertwined it with the 13 cuts on the album. It was fun to work with Digweed and Muir. Music has great power.
9. What is your greatest satisfaction as a writer? What is your greatest disappointment?
My greatest satisfaction is that I don’t feel cynical or bored about what I do. Each new book is a challenge. My greatest disappointment is that the trilogy hasn’t been turned into a movie, but it’s beginning to look like it might become a TV series.
10. What is your next book going to be about?
I wish I knew. I’ve got about a half-dozen ideas bouncing around my brain.