AUTHOR INTERVIEW 52

Gary Hake

Age 43

United Kingdom

I am a Secondary School Teacher of 20+ years, in Engineering and Design Technology, in Kent, UK. I was inspired to write a Children’s book by both of my Son’s love for reading. My main hobbies (in addition to reading) include Football and music. I am also a qualified mechanical Engineer, where I am a time served apprentice.
My previous occupations include being a toolmaker, CNC machinist, fitter, miller and turner. Endless appreciation goes to my illustrator, who works tirelessly on my ideas and manages to illustrate my characters exactly how I see them!
A story of a very rude Viking. Even his dog is rude! As they embark on an adventure to find a land where they can be rude to whoever they meet, they are taught a valuable lesson on why it’s important to be polite to everyone!

Romelia: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START WRITING?

Gary Hake: My 2 children! They love books and stories, and I just thought it would be a wonderful feeling and achievement to write a book and dedicated it to them both, which I have accomplished. In addition, I feel that the stories I wrote and the messages put across to the readers are designed to teach life skills for young people growing up.

Romelia: CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WRITING SPACE?

Gary Hake: It’s very simplistic; a laptop, notepad, pen, dining table and a view of the garden- no distractions. Oh… and 2 pugs who require attention the very second I sit down! over the years I have learnt that pugs hinder progress!!!

Romelia: HOW DO YOU HANDLE LITERARY CRITICISM?

Gary Hake: It’s the least enjoyable part of the process, but the most valuable. I was always taught to listen to criticism, good or bad it has it’s worth, and is paramount if you are looking to become a successful writer. I never disagree with any criticism, as it usually comes from a more experienced mind than myself, therefore I respect their views.

Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST SURPRISING THING YOU DISCOVERED WHILE WRITING YOUR BOOK(S)?

Gary Hake: How much I enjoyed every single part, even the smallest steps as they amount to the most progress which is easily seen to the eye. At times, there were occasions where a project or a story feels as if it won’t amount to anything special, but given time, things grow… and to see these come to fruition is also one of the most surprising elements of my work, as it never fails to amaze me!

Romelia: DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE CHARACTER THAT YOU HAVE WRITTEN? IF SO, WHO? AND WHAT MAKES THEM SO SPECIAL?

Gary Hake: The first character I ever constructed was Vincent very vulgar. a rude viking who is central to all of my stories. He was named after my youngest son, who I must admit is very pleasant and not vulgar at all!

Romelia: how many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Gary Hake: 5 have been published, but I have 6 more written and in progress. I also have several other stories with new characters in progress too. Once again, my clear favorite is the first book; Vincent the very vulgar, it holds a special space in my heart as it was where it all began!

Romelia: IS IT EASIER TO WRITE A BOOK FOR CHILDREN OR AN ADULT BOOK?

Gary Hake: I am yet to write an adult book, so I will be bold and say a children book is easiest! I can imagine an adult book to be a complete labour of love, given the fact that there are a huge amount of pages to be filled!

Romelia: DOES ONE OF THE MAIN CHARACTERS HOLD A SPECIAL PLACE IN YOUR HEART? IF SO, WHY?

Gary Hake: As I said earlier, Vincent the very vulgar is my favorite, but I have a soft spot  for his dog Ringo. I designed him to be similar in appearance to my first dog, who I hold dearly in my memories of growing up.

Romelia: WHAT IS THE KEY THEME AND/OR MESSAGE IN THE BOOK?

Gary Hake: Across all of the books, they are designed to portray life skills to young children. The message varies across the books, ranging from being polite to everyone, having good manners, being helpful, being tidy and listening to advice from adults. The central characters Vincent and his dog Ringo, are always being taught how to become more pleasant in the books.

Romelia: WHAT DO YOU HOPE YOUR READERS TAKE AWAY FROM THIS BOOK?

Gary Hake: Again, I sincerely hope that the readers get a sense of not only how to be a lovable person, but also the feeling that everything turns out ok in the end.

Romelia: TELL US ABOUT THE PROCESS FOR COMING UP WITH THE COVER.

Gary Hake: The idea for me was simple, I visioned a basic picture of Vincent and Ringo the dog, on a plain retro background, similar to the great books I used to read as a child. I sat with the illustrator on many occasions and we discussed and trialled different ideas. I was keen to reproduce the old style characters from the 1970’s and 80’s.

Romelia: what do you love most about writing stories for children?

Gary Hake: The feedback and letters from the readers! I’ve even received some wonderful drawings that children have drawn of the characters. This shows that I have managed to capture the imagination and interest of a young person. This is also the most rewarding part.

Romelia: why do you think it is important for children to develop a love of reading?

Gary Hake: A love of reading can develop resilience and the desire to complete a challenge for children without giving up. I’m also a strong believer that a book can take you anywhere! I once heard a saying that once you learn to read, you will forever be free. I agree wholeheartedly, there are no limits once you develop the skills to read and find a book that grasps the imagination.

Romelia: do you have any ’’top tips’’ for parents and carers who want to help children develop a love of reading?

Gary Hake: If you’re an adult, read a book in front of children and let them see you doing it! Harness the habit of reading and this will be passed onto them. Show children that it’s normal and exciting to read a book.

Romelia: what are your hopes and dreams for the future?

Gary Hake: I heard once that every other person on the planet owns a Beatles record. I wonder if it would be realistic to hope that my books will follow the same path? Maybe not! But if you can’t dream big, then what’s the point! For the present, I’m just happy that people buy and enjoy the books.

Romelia: who is your favorite children’s author and why?

Gary Hake: I enjoyed Roald Dahl as every child born in the 1970’s did! But more recently, I have enjoyed the stories by Julia Donaldson. Her books are wonderfully written and illustrated beautifully. The characters are brilliant and are very lovable.

Romelia: what advice do you have for children who dream of becoming an author or illustrator?

Gary Hake: It’s a dream that has to be pursued! Overcome obstacles, focus on the message in every story and envision the smiles it can bring to a child.

Romelia: If you could spend a day with one of the prenderpals who would it be and why?

Gary Hake: It would have to be Ted, he looks relaxed and happy and that is one of life’s goals!

Romelia: TELL US ABOUT YOUR FIRST PUBLISHED BOOK. WHAT WAS THE JOURNEY LIKE?

Gary Hake: Vincent  the very vulgar, was an absolute dream to produce. I loved and enjoyed every moment, even when there were tough times ahead. I’m a very impatient person, and I often expect certain things to be completed asap. However, as an author, this cannot be! It takes time and love and plenty of patience!

Romelia: CAN YOU SHARE WITH US SOMETHING ABOUT THE BOOK THAT ISN’T IN THE BLURB?

Gary Hake: Ringo the dog can speak 3 different dog languages!

Romelia: DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT BOOK HERO OR HEROINE.

Gary Hake: Someone who becomes a superhero but refuses to be called one! He just sees himself as a normal person, without powers, but is just very humble.

Romelia: HOW MANY PLOT IDEAS ARE JUST WAITING TO BE WRITTEN? CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT ONE?

Gary Hake: I have several plots awaiting some attention, at least ten! However the one I can tell you about is aimed at an older audience, and follows the journey of a son’s relationship with his father following the passing of his mother. It’s a heart-warmer and one that will hopefully bring a smile to many people.

Romelia: do you believe the new generation of children will love to read or spend more time on their phone?

Gary Hake: The solution to that question lies with us as the older generation. We need to educate our youngsters and encourage the finer things in life like a book. In this current world where life is fast and instant, we need to teach them life skills such as patience and gratitude.

Romelia: WHAT BOOKS OR AUTHORS HAVE MOST INFLUENCED YOUR OWN WRITING?

Gary Hake: Roald Dahl. His characters, words and names for objects sparked the creative side to my thinking. His books are the markers in which all children’s writers should aspire to.

Romelia: WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK WHEN YOU WERE A KID?

Gary Hake: The bfg. Full of magic and a great central character in the giant himself. The illustrations by Quentin Blake were simple, yet so effective and recognizable even to this day.

Romelia: IF YOU COULD ASK ONE SUCCESFUL AUTHOR THREE QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR WRITING, WRITING PROCESS, OR BOOKS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

Gary Hake: I would interview Julia Donaldson and ask her:

  1. How did you produce the idea of the Gruffalo?
  2. Did you know how successful it would become as a book?
  3. Would you like to read one of my books?

Romelia: WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WRITING?

Gary Hake: Walking the dogs, watching football and being involved in a football club. listening to music is also a passion for myself.

Romelia: WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP? 

Gary Hake: A mechanic. I loved cars as a child and thought that my ideal job would be to fix them!

Romelia: SHARE SOMETHING YOUR READERS WOULDN’T KNOW ABOUT YOU.

Gary Hake: I ran the London marathon in 2004 to raise money for children with cerebral palsy. I raised over £3000.

Romelia: Please describe yourself in a few words and tell us what you hate most about the world.

Gary Hake: I love coffee, I’m relaxed about my work and enjoy all things simple. My biggest hate in the world right now and always will be is seeing children suffering at the hands of evil. In today’s world, this should never happen.

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