An interview with action-adventure writer, Rob Jones
I had the chance to interview Rob Jones, the action-adventure writer of the successful Joe Hawke series.
Congratulations on your first adventure book in the series featuring former Special Forces specialist, Joe Hawke. The Vault of Poseidon has gone to #2 in UK Amazon's men Adventure chart. You must be chuffed.
Thanks very much. I’m really happy that people are enjoying The Vault of Poseidon so much and I’ve had some really supportive comments on social media and email which is a great encouragement. Describe your book in few sentences.
The Vault of Poseidon is a fast-paced action-adventure novel about a former Special Forces soldier trying to solve the most ancient archaeological mystery of all time. Along the way his journey takes him from London to NYC to Geneva and on to Greece where the trouble really starts…
Tell me a bit about yourself.
I grew up in England and Australia, I love foreign languages and cultures and I’ve travelled a lot, so I think this is why I enjoy the escapism inherent in adventure-thriller novels. I like how they can transport you away from the stress and difficulties of everyday life, and that is why I enjoy writing them so much. Your books are pretty fast-paced with action centred around ancient treasures. Where do you get your ideas from?
I usually start with a myth or legend and then wrap the story around that. I’m a life-long reader of publications like the National Geographic, and between those and the internet there’s no shortage of ideas! Watching ideas evolve is one of the great pleasures of writing novels. Which authors have inspired you?
I like authors who can bring some fun to serious ideas, so I would say Clive Cussler, Matthew Reilly and Andy McDermott are three very inspirational writers for me, and also Scott Mariani and Dan Brown. There are also a lot of writers from outside the genre who have inspired me including C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Agatha Christie, Colin Dexter, Michael Crichton, Stephen King… the list could go on forever. Your books are full of action, just like a movie. Was that a conscious decision?
Yes. I want to try and give people a kind of “movie in their hands”, or on their Kindle, when I write these stories.
Joe Hawke is a very interesting hero - I love his humorous side. If they made your books into a series, who would play him?
I was asked this recently and coming up with someone to play Hawke was harder than I thought it would be. In the end, I settled on a shortlist of two or three well-known actors, but I’m going to keep them to myself because I want people to create their own Hawke in their minds when they read about him and not see the face of an actor just because I’ve mentioned a name!
Do you plot your novels meticulously or start your novel without a plot?
I generally plot in advance but inevitably the characters start to make their own way through the story and sometimes I have no option but to follow them. I find the best way to start is with the central theme, and then build around that, but you have to trust your characters in the end. How do you research your books?
My background is in historical research so I try and bring some of that into my work, including using journals and so on, but mostly I use books and the internet and then add imagination! What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
My advice to anyone starting out at the very beginning is to make sure you have a real interest in the subject matter at the core of your stories. Also, remember that a good story takes several drafts, so don’t give up after your first draft – the real writing happens after that. Your second book in the Joe Hawke series is called "Thunder God." Just one look at the title and they would think it's about Thor. What is it about?
I Initially, I considered writing an adventure about Thor, but there are so many stories about him that I started to research elsewhere. Most cultures have a thunder god and it wasn't long before I started reading about Chinese myths and legends. Thunder God is about a criminal mastermind set on destroying the world order and it links into the themes set out in The Vault of Poseidon. Thor could well be in a future story though…
Will we get more Joe Hawke novels in the future?
I’ve already written the third adventure for Joe Hawke, and that will be the third and final novel in the initial stories that I set up with Poseidon, featuring the “immortality arc”. Right now I’m researching Joe Hawke 4, which is a very exciting standalone novel in which Hawke must once again save the world while dealing with the terrible aftermath of The Tomb of Eternity (Joe Hawke 3)… Thanks, Rob - looking forward to read more Joe Hawke books.
My thanks to you, Rex, and all the best for the future.