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New Military Fiction: Interview with Robert G. Brook

TJ INK recently produced Robert Brook’s novel HMG, an exhilarating high octane novel set during the unrest of 1990s Northern Ireland. We fired some questions at Rob about his book and the writing and publishing journey…

‘A stunning new piece of military fiction, HMG draws you in to a world of danger, conspiracies, action and adventure.’

The finished book

Congratulations on your recently published novel, HMG. Could you tell us a bit about it?

HMG is a military thriller, set in the midst of the political uncertainty of 1990s Northern Ireland. Men at arms on both sides of the conflict are willing to kill to suit their ends, and the British Army helicopter crew find themselves used as pawns in the most deadly game of all. The timeline preludes the first IRA ceasefire in 1994.

The novel is about real life events, how much fact comes into the fiction of your story?

It is fiction, for sure, but I have attempted to ensure that the timeline adheres to history and many of the places would be familiar to anyone who served or lived over there at the time. There is close attention to the detail of the flying elements, and I have tried to make the ‘techno’ aspects readable and enjoyable.

What major obstacles did you encounter when researching and writing this piece of military fiction?

Time. I based many of the locations on places I had served, so research was relatively light in this regard, but like all authors, time is the most critical aspect.

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Left: TJ INK published, 198 x 129. Right: CreateSpace, 229 x 152. Both paperback.

You previously had the book published via CreateSpace, Amazon’s publishing system, how do the two experiences and end results compare?

 Amazon is great, in the sense that it is easy and the quality of their systems is un-surpassed in terms of protocols, formats etc. That said, and precisely because of this, I am one of many millions, so marketing is hard, especially when my ‘writing’ time is focussed on the next book in the series.

Traditional publishing, as for this edition, is different in terms of the look and feel of the book. Perhaps I am slightly biased due to my age, but I definitely prefer this edition in terms of the look and the feel.

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TJ INK published: matt cover

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CreateSpace: gloss cover

How did you go about getting your book into the local Waterstones and did they have any specific requirements?

I just walked in and spoke to the manager who was very obliging, polite and supportive. Books really are their thing.

Did you have any kind of secret weapon or routine to keep you motivated: Tea? A timetable? Listening to Mozart?

Just the desire to see my work in print.

What are the main components to a good book do you think?

Plot. It’s got to be engaging, realistic and un-predictable. Writing style needs to compliment this, my book is a military thriller, so it’s fast paced. I am sure this would be inappropriate for other genres. I think all good books have a high degree of believability about them. Frederik Forsyth is the undisputed master in this regard.

What advice would you give to people who want to write a book?

Go for it. Really, just do it. Use Scrivenor as your software, it’s very good.

Why should readers buy HMG?

It’s a good read and enjoyable… I hope!

And finally, what would be your ‘desert island book’?

Catch 22. No competition on this one. Each time I read it, there is something new…

It was an absolute pleasure to work with Rob on this outstanding piece of military fiction. HMG is available on Amazon hereOr, if local, why not support your bookshop and pop down to Truro Waterstones?

Been inspired to see your work in print? See where your journey could take you and ask us your questions on our Contacts Page.