Sunday, 13 May 2012

Author Update: Derek Haines

Today we're catching up with author Derek Haines, whom I interviewed back in August 2010. Derek's been busy writing, and he's here to talk about his new book.

Welcome back, Derek. Congratulations on your new book. Tell us all about ONE LAST LOVE.

Life has the habit of delivering its perverse twists at the most unexpected times.

For Bonnie his life had been lived, and the bitter sweet memories of his wife, along with the never ending sorrow of losing his son so young remain with him, but were now ebbing slowly with the passing of the years. His days of love, warmth and tenderness well past and all that was left were his last few quiet years to grow old. Alone, yet content.

What he had done, he had done and what had happened, had. All that remained was to live out the rest of his life in a new place, far away from his checkered past. His days passing with the regularity that an old man desires and deserves. Until the dark day arrives that signals an impending end to his new found life, and with it, all sense of hope. 

In facing mortality, Bonnie resorts to using his crusty exterior and bravado to hide the frailty and fear he feels within himself, until he is presented with stark realities beyond his understanding and is forced to come face to face with his own prejudices and beliefs. In meeting Danny and Angeline, Bonnie begins to reshape his thoughts about his acceptance of those he had habitually admonished, and of the bigoted life he has lived. While Charlie and his daughter Beatrice realign his set concepts of how he has habitually rushed to judge people too quickly. 

However, it is only when Bonnie meets Madeleine that the most unexpected eventuality turns his hard held beliefs, and his very set views about life, people and love, on their head.

How did the idea of the story come to you?

One Last Love came from a couple of obtuse ideas but somehow gelled together. The first coming from noticing how elderly people expressed theirs feelings for each other. Much more tender and based on discreet yet unmistakeable expressions of love and devotion. Far removed from the hot and passionate notions usually found in mainstream romance novels. The other idea came from a personal viewpoint. Having lost my father, and a few very close friends who had spent their last days in a hospice, and the fact that there was a a long standing family rumor about an attachment my father had for many years, the two ideas played on my mind. In the end the main character, Bonnie, became a mélange of my father and my friends.

Are you a planner or a pantser?

Both probably. I usually write my first draft of a story based on a bunch of connected and sometimes disconnected notes and a basic one or two sentence story line. I like to write away then, and in the process get to know my characters intimately. When the first draft is finished, I feel a connection with them, and can then start on my second draft knowing them very well. During the second draft, I decide which characters need more or less expansion and where the story needs trimming or more likely, where it needs more detail. In the case of One Last Love, one seemingly incidental character in my first draft had so much more to say, so she received a lot more attention in my second draft. Then my third draft of a story is usually a tidy up exercise.

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

This I have to say, happened today. I was wondering if there was a town or village anywhere in the world that was called something similar to No Mans Land as I needed it for the current book I'm writing. As luck would have it, there is. So thanks to Google and Google Maps, I have a great little place in England to set a part of my story.

Time for my infamous writing test ! Use the following words in a sentence: obligatory, kimono, and sand paper.

I had never been to Japan before and was eerily expectant having read Shogun by James Clavell far too many times. Of course I did all the Sushi and Karaoke bars in an attempt to discover what daily Japanese life entailed. However, it was only when a friend suggested I accompany him to a Geisha House did I start on my real Japanese adventure tour. When we arrived, I was of course nervous as what to expect. But once I had removed my shoes, which is of course obligatory before entering, and I had been so warmly welcomed, I started to relax. Just a little. Dressed in a beautiful, and one could almost say ornate kimono, Kayoko guided us through a series of delicate paper sliding doors to our tea room. So polite, so refined and so steeped in tradition, I felt I hadn't dressed at all formally enough for such an occasion. I'd only managed to run a blunt razor across my face that morning. I felt I had made such little effort, and had the thought that I should have used sandpaper on my five o'clock shadow and presented myself in a state fitting for such an overwhelmingly formal occasion. Kayoko didn't seem to mind though and entertained us delightfully for a full two hours. Afterwards I reflected on how accurate James Clavell had been in his observations of Japan.

Okay, that was more than a sentence, but still very clever. And finally, where can people find ONE LAST LOVE online?

One Last Love is only available through Amazon in both ebook and paperback.

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Derek. It was great having you with us. Best of luck with your new book!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great interview! I enjoy learning more about authors I admire. :))