Welcome, John Hazen!!
1. For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?
(John) Writing a novel had always been one of those things I always wanted to do but never got around to do. I’d always had these ideas floating around in my head that I thought would make great premises (e.g., what would happen if a person stumbled upon one of the 30 pieces of silver given to Judas? Or, how can you compare two diametrically opposed wars like the Civil War and Vietnam? Or, what would happen if one of the “Pillars of Islam” were removed?), but I never acted and used one of these as the basis for a novel. It was about fifteen years ago that I got my first laptop and I decided it was time to put my downtime on the train back and forth to work to profitable use. I started to write. Over that time I’ve completed and published three suspense novels: Dear Dad, Fava and Journey of an American Son. I’ve just submitted my fourth novel, Aceldama, for publication.
2. All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.
(John) I’ve encountered some level of block on each of my novels. I’m not an outliner. I’m more of a “make it up as I go along type of guy.” While I think this approach is right for me and has some advantages such as spontaneity, it also lends itself to going down a path, getting to a certain point and then saying to myself: Where do I go from here? The way I usually handle it is to put the book aside and work on some other project. The blocks eventually resolve themselves. For one of my books, I even had a proverbial 2:00 AM “Aha moment” when I woke up with an idea on how to move forward. Luckily, I had pen and paper by my bedside to jot down the idea so that it didn’t flee my brain come morning.
3. Contrary to what some people envision about a romance writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?
(John) Well, I do have a day job in the field of environmental protection to pay the bills, but people don’t want to hear about that, I’m sure. In general, I like doing things with my best friend, my wife Lynn. We love to travel. Paris has been like a second home to us over the years. We also like to play tennis, go for walks and watch TV together. Whatever I do, I’m always on the lookout for new book ideas, I’m afraid.
4. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?
(John) When I first started writing, I did keep it to myself but since I’ve gotten a few books under my belt, I let anyone and everyone know about my writing. Working with a small, independent publisher, I’ve had to do a lot of my own marketing and promotion. With all the Twitter and Facebook self-promotion I do, I’m often surprised if someone doesn’t know that I’m an author. The reactions I’ve gotten range from surprise to pride, but they’ve always been positive.
5. Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.
(John) My absolute all-time favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I was chagrined that Go Set a Watchman was released, but I don’t hold it against her, instead chalking that up to a greedy publisher brow beating a nearly 90-year old woman into releasing it.
Other favorite authors, not necessarily in this order, include:
Doris Kearns Goodwin
(Kameron) Great list of authors. I love you included yourself. We should always be our greatest champion/supporter.
6. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?
(John) I’ve been told by more than one person that they thought my book Fava would make a great movie. One recent review noted that she loves it when a book makes her go “ Wow, I didn’t see that coming!” That’s what I like in a film as well. It’s also topical and current, has great action and believable characters. I’d go with Eva Longoria for the lead, Francine Vega, Bradley Cooper for FBI Special Agent Will Allen and Johnny Depp for the brilliant but off-the-wall Alan Westbrook. Might as well shoot for the stars, right?
(Kameron) That’s a superb cast!!
7. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.
(John) Well, as I mentioned earlier I just sent my latest novel, Aceldama, to my publisher with the hope of having it released in the spring. It’s a fantasy/suspense novel with a religious overtone that involves a coin, a curse and a murder. Getting it into publishable shape has been consuming my time of late, although I am also helping a friend write a screenplay of a book he has rights to.
8. Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?
(John) My books can all be found on Amazon, and no, they are all stand-alone novels and do not need to be read in any given order. The links for the books are:
9. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?
(John) Probably the best way to contact me is via Twitter @john_hazen. I’m very diligent about keeping up with my notifications and messages so if you reach out to me, I will get back shortly.
10. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.
(John) I just want to thank you for this opportunity. As I said, independent authors have to spend a lot of their own time promoting and marketing. The idealistic and unrealistic side of me says that this is not needed. “My books are good and they should sell themselves,” I tell myself, but alas, it doesn’t seem to work out that way. It’s therefore especially appreciated when I come across outlets like your blog to get my name and my works out there. I hope I’m able to pique the interest of at least a few possible readers who’ll look me up and give my stories a chance.
(Kameron) Thank you John gracing us with an interview and thank you ladies and gents for poppin by. Before you run off to the real world (again), let’s take a quick gander at one of the books John mentioned above, Fava.
The biggest story of Francine Vega’s career could end her life…or start World War III. Francine is a rising TV news reporter in New York City. Despite her brains, beauty and a growing following, she is stuck covering local interest stories. That is until her career literally hits the jackpot when the winner of a $450 million dollar lottery tells Francine that he is committed to using his new fortune to avenge his brother’s killing at the Pentagon on 9/11. His seemingly crazy plan is backed by more than just money-he is in league with a ruthless and powerful Army Colonel gone rogue, religious extremists and co-conspirators in the highest levels of government. Francine teams with FBI Special Agent Will Allen, one of the few people who believe the threat is real, in a desperate race across three continents to stop the plot before it’s too late.
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
As I was reading the first several chapters of Fava, I kept thinking it was coming across as a hate book. Alan Westbrook, Reverend Malcolm McKenzie, Colonel Lawson and their followers set out to eradicate Mecca for their own personal reasons. They were condemning/punishing an entire country/race/religion based off the horrendous actions of the few.
Reverend McKenzie’s motto “No Cheeks Left” went viral and his “sheep” began taking matters into their own hands while Alan and Lawson used Alan’s lotto earnings to plan their own vengeance. This is where the plot unfolds and the TRUER MESSAGE is unveiled and I realized this WAS NOT a hate book after all. Thank goodness for that!!
I believe the point of Fava is NOT to spread hate but to reinforce the idea of not punishing the whole for the actions of the few.
I think you can agree/hope innocent people SHOULD NOT be sentenced to the same fate as the guilty parties.
Think about this….. If we laid down the hammer on an entire nation/race/religion based off the actions of a group of people then imagine how many people would be left walking the Earth.
Not many, I tell you that.
Ponder that a moment and then read this book.
Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)
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