My interview guest this week is Author Les Haswell. I hope you enjoy learning about Les as an author and a little of his personal side. Next month, one of Les’ characters from his debut novel, The Prodigal Son, will join my on Beyond the Story Character Interviews.
About Writing/Books/Being an Author
SJJ: Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you – in what way and what was the name of that book?
LH: That would be Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson, which I read as a young schoolboy. For years after I wanted to be Alan Breck.
SJJ: When did you first realize you wanted to write?
LH: About 20 years ago I got this urge to write a novel.
SJJ: Who are your favourite authors?
LH: Quintin Jardine, Lee Child, David Baldacci & Simon Kernick are certainly up there
SJJ: What is your favourite thing about writing? What is your least favourite thing about writing?
LH: Favourite – The sense of satisfaction when I see the finished article. Least favourite – I hate other people proof reading and pointing out all my mistakes
SJJ: Where do your ideas come from?
LH: I have a vivid imagination. I can’t remember the last time I punched anyone and have never killed anyone, honestly officer!!
SJJ: I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?
LH: I enjoy painting and cookery, both in their own way creative
SJJ: If you could jump inside a book for one day (as an observer) what book would it be?
LH: The Prodigal Son. I love the west coast of Scotland and I would love to see Bruce MacLaine get his comeuppance!
SJJ: When you create characters, are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?
LH: Completely fictional, almost!
SJJ: Have you ever created a character “out of thin air” only to run into someone in real life that reminds you of that character either in personality or their features?
LH: Not yet but give me time
SJJ: How do you come up with titles for your books?
LH: I try to reflect some aspect of the plot. The Prodigal Son – the main character goes back to the island of his childhood. Book 2 – The Good Samaritan – the main character does someone a favour, both have slightly biblical connotations.
SJJ: What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?
LH: The Good Samaritan, Rob MacLaine Book 2 and a third, almost stand-alone story, Playa Ricos, based in the Almeria region of Spain.
SJJ: Have you won any awards for your writing/books and if so what?
LH: Not yet
A Little More Personal
SJJ: What is one thing you haven’t done but would like to do?
LH: I would like to spend a few weeks driving from the north of Spain to the south, avoiding motorways where possible, bit of a “Thelma & Les”
SJJ: Can you tell us about an embarrassing/funny moment?
LH: I once told a builder that I was fine with drilling a hole in a bathroom wall tile, started to drill and broke the rather large, very expensive tile as my wife watched me – oops.
SJJ: Have you ever experienced something weird you could not explain?
LH: I had a car at one stage which would just die electrically for no apparent reason. It would sit there for about five minutes then come back to life. I suppose that was as much embarrassing as weird as it very often happened at traffic lights.
SJJ: Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals for good luck?
LH: Not at all superstitious, although I won’t walk under ladders out of respect for gravity
SJJ: What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?
LH: Suckling pig brain in a restaurant in Madrid.
SJJ: Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?
LH: Caribbean. Did a cruise there and loved the laid back, off the wall attitude of the places we visited
SJJ: Can you tell us about one of your favourite childhood memories?
LH: On holiday, with my parents in Highland Perthshire, boating on Loch Fascally, pony trekking in the hills above Pitlochry and walking up to the Falls of Bruar.
SJJ: What makes you happy?
LH: Good company
SJJ: If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?
LH: Working (part time), golfing (badly)
SJJ: Can you tell us three interesting facts about you?
LH: I was adopted as a baby, my birth mother being a single parent. – I am a past President of Winchester Rotary and helped to raise £40,000 to help build a new Hospice in Winchester – I love fast cars.
I was born in Glasgow, but spent the first three years of my life in London, before moving back to Ayrshire where I stayed for about thirty years before commencing a world tour of Scotland, living in a number different locations. Over the years I have accumulated four children, nine grandchildren and most recently a great-grandson.
I served an engineering apprenticeship in the aviation industry and at various stages of my working life, I owned a private hire/bridal car business and later, a fifty cover licensed restaurant. However, I spent most of my working life in business development roles, mostly in the Oil & Gas industry. I was lucky enough to travel regularly to very diverse countries including the Middle and Far East, Africa, North and Latin America. Eight years ago, I moved from Aberdeen to Kings Worthy with my wife Val.
I have always enjoyed creative activities. I enjoyed art at school and have been allowed to hang some of my more recent paintings around the house. For as long as I can remember, I have had a yearning to write a novel. Travelling around as I did when I was working full time, I spent hours in airport lounges and hotel rooms where the only television programs were in Portuguese or Arabic, so I started to write “The Prodigal Son.” The rest, as they say, is history!