As part of the featured author Q&A sessions, I am very pleased to announce that the featured author for the current session is Adam Hamdy, author of Pendulum (you can find my review here).
Hi Adam, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? A little about myself? Well, I love listening to people. I’m not sure I believe the old adage that everyone has a book in them, but am absolutely certain that we are all an ever evolving compendium of experiences. I relish any and every opportunity to hear people’s stories, to understand the challenges they’ve faced and how they overcame or were defeated by them. I have a childlike fascination with learning about the world and hope I never grow out of it. Before I became a writer, I worked as a management consultant and specialised in advising big businesses how to make more money. A lucrative career but one that I didn’t find particularly fulfilling.
What are your ambitions for your writing career? Shane Abbess, an Australian film director I greatly admire, once said that he measures success as the ability to continue making movies. I feel the same way about writing. Earning a living from writing is a tremendous privilege, so any success above and beyond a modest income is pure gravy.
So, what have you written? I’ve written three novels. The first was self-published, the second was picked up by a small, independent imprint, and my third, Pendulum is my first foray into mainstream publishing. So far, it’s been a wonderful experience.
What is your most recent novel? Pendulum was published by Headline in hardback in November 2016. The paperback is out in March.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? John Wallace is a combat-hardened photojournalist who wakes up to find himself being hanged by a masked man. He survives the attempt on his life and undertakes a frenetic quest to discover why he’s been targeted for death. Wallace is a man who’s been battered by life, but ingrained determination prevents him from accepting his fate.
What genre are your books? Thriller
What draws you to this genre? I love stories that hook you with a fast-paced mystery.
When did you decide to become a writer? I dreamt of being a writer as a child, but it always seemed beyond the reach of someone who came from very modest roots. It wasn’t until 2004 that I decided to take the plunge and throw everything into making that childhood dream a reality.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? I have a lot of commitments as a screenwriter, so have to be disciplined in order to meet my deadlines. I write between six and twelve hours per day, six days a week.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? When I’m working on a novel, I aim for 2,000 words per day, but I’m happy if I write 500 that I feel work particularly well. I aim for quality not quantity, but it’s a good day if I can get both.
Where do your ideas come from? Talking to people. Reading a lot. Taking an interest in the world and speculating about all the ‘what ifs’ in life.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you? I prefer to outline and do a lot of preparation. I’ll often deviate from the plan, but the preparation helps me feel comfortable that I know my characters and the world sufficiently well to deal with anything they might throw at me.
How long on average does it take you to write a book? Six months.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? I’ve finally figured out that it’s all in the execution, so really focus on the detail of how a book or screenplay is put together. Ideas and concepts are crucial, but a great idea poorly executed is a wasted opportunity. I’ve also learned to take pleasure from that detail and to enjoy the process. Writing is more fun than ever.
Do you read much and if so which writers inspire you? I read a lot for work. I’ve been most inspired by the writers I grew up reading; Stephen King, Alexander Dumas, Tom Clancy, Thomas Harris – I could go on. They were and are my literary heroes, the people I looked up to when I believed authors were a different species. They’re not; they’re normal people with a different perspective.
What is your favourite book and why? The Count of Monte Cristo. I love a good revenge story.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Cloud Atlas. It’s an epic, beautifully constructed book which blends genres, writing styles, worlds and periods. Magically imaginative, with characters who draw you in.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Keep writing until you find your voice. It can take years to develop, so stick at it. Don’t let rejection dissuade you; everyone gets turned down because ‘no’ is the easiest word in the world. Write what you believe in and don’t try to chase the market. Your perspective is what makes you unique. It’s the only thing that separates you from every other writer in the world.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? Thank you for having me. It’s been a pleasure answering these questions.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?