Beyond the Story – The Prodigal Son

In the middle of the night, a mysterious phone call from his past, changes his life for ever. Rob MacLaine, seasoned, battle hardened ex Special Forces operative, is summoned back to his family home on Achravie a small island off the west coast of Scotland.

Rob has had no contact with Achravie since his elder brother schemed to blame him for a car accident which killed a young friend. Having been sent away as a gangly, spotty, tousle haired youth by his father at the tender age of eighteen, Rob joins the army and progresses through various war zones such as Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, first as a regular soldier and later as member of an elite group of Special Forces operatives.

But now Rob MacLaine is back on Achravie. Unrecognisable as the innocent young lad who left sixteen years earlier. Back to face his past and encounter friends and enemies alike in an explosive reunion with his elder brother and his “security” people. Rob joins forces with group of National Crime Agency operatives to help them solve the mystery of the dark secrets hidden behind the gates of Hillcrest Estate, Rob’s childhood home, now under the control of his elder brother, Bruce.

My guest this week is stepped out from the pages of The Prodigal Son to answer a few of my questions about himself and his busy life.

SJJ: Can you please tell us your full name and where you live?

RM: Robert (Rob) MacLaine, I live in Bourne End in Buckinghamshire, but my home is the island of Achravie, situated between the island of Arran and the Mull of Kintyre.

SJJ: How would you describe your personality, Rob?

RM: Split. Professionally – confident and competent and outgoing – Personally – Often insecure and lacking in self-esteem but still competitive.

SJJ: I think many of us have split personalities between professional and personal and it’s probably a good thing. 😊

Now this is a two-part question, what do you do for a living? And what is your dream job?

RM: I am the CEO of Harper MacLaine Security. Dream job – Laird of Achravie.

SJJ: What would you say is the biggest obstacle preventing you from achieving your goals?

RM: Time, I will achieve my goals.

SJJ: I suppose time can stand in the way.

Tell us something about you that not everyone knows.

RM: Big music fan, Bruce Springsteen, Joe Cocker and Eric Clapton to name but a few

SJJ: Rob, are there any defining moments in your life that made you who you are today?

RM: A car accident on Achravie, where I was brought up. I was wrongly blamed for the accident by my brother and sent away from my family and friends. – Joining the military made me the man I am today

SJJ: That must have been a difficult time in your life.

Do you have any regrets?

RM: Regrets, I’ve had a few, but yet again, too few to mention, as Frank Sinatra famously sang.

SJJ: Ha, ha, well I guess we’ll just leave it at that.

Is there anyone you look up to, consider to be a mentor, either in the past or right now?

RM: Sir Andrew Savage, a good friend and often father figure.

SJJ: When you think of all your accomplishments, what is your proudest moment?

RM: Taking ownership of Achravie Estate.

SJJ: Perhaps your dream of becoming Laird is around the corner. 😊

What’s your idea of the perfect day?

RM: Tomorrow

SJJ: A chance to start over – perhaps?

What would you say are your strengths and your weaknesses?

RM: Strengths – Professional confidence and competence. Weaknesses – Lack of self-belief.

SJJ: What do you do for fun, Rob?

RM: I remember fun, I think I enjoyed it if I remember rightly.

SJJ: Well, I think you should try it again sometime.

And what do you do to relax?

RM: Close physical contact with my wife.

SJJ: Do you have plans for the future?

RM: Build up Achravie Estate as a profitable enterprise and eventually make the island my permanent home.

SJJ: That sounds lovely!

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play you?

RM: Douglas Henshaw, he’d get the accent right.

SJJ: And finally, are you happy with the way your story was told?

RM: Reasonably, although it sometimes makes me out to be a violent man. I’m not and I’ll kill anyone who says I am!!

SJJ: Ha, ha, that’s funny! You’re joking – right?

Bio:

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 of 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!

Links:

Book link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07VRXQ5KN

E-Mail: les@leshaswell.com

Linked In: www.linkedin.com/in/leshaswell

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Les-Haswell/e/B0861DL151

Author Interview with Les Haswell

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.

Author’s Bio

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!

Author’s Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07VRXQ5KN

www.linkedin.com/in/leshaswell