Today I’m talking to Jon Hartless, the author of Full Throttle.
Trish: Hi Jon, great to talk to you today. How long have you been writing?
Jon: I’ve been plugging away at it for about 20 years, in one form or another. Most of my stuff has been published digitally but in 2017 I had Full Throttle, a Steampunk motor racing adventure, released with traditional publisher Accent Press. The sequel, Rise of the Petrol Queen, is scheduled for release in September 2019.
I started writing as it was about the only thing I ever showed any talent for. And I’ve kept going out of sheer bloody-mindedness…. My style has changed over the years, but then, that has been down to necessity more than anything; I published quite a few novellas under a couple of different pen names and they demand a very different approach in terms of style. For Full Throttle, however, I decided to just write it as I wanted and see how it turned out.
Trish: What kind of books do you write? I know you have covered a few different genres.
Jon: I mostly seem to be doing Steampunk these days, though I’ve done a few sci-fi and fantasy/horror books also. But at the moment, Steampunk rules as I’m working on my new series featuring Poppy Orpington, set in a Steampunk world of motor racing and rising fascism.
Trish: How do you collect ideas for your novels?
Jon: Simply by reading and watching documentaries. You might see a fact, store it away, and years later it suddenly impinges on your work in progress…
Trish: Do you identify with your main characters? Is there something of you in them?
Jon: Poppy is a lot more intelligent and capable than I am, alas.
Trish: Poppy is certainly a strong character, especially for her time! And what about settings? Are they places you are familiar with?
Jon: Poppy started off in Stourbridge, where I used to live, before moving to Worcester, where again I have lived once or twice. However, she then headed down to London so at that point the story became research mixed with the reality of Bentley Motors, which was set up in Cricklewood.
Trish: Do you write to get people thinking or are your novels for pure enjoyment?
Jon: A little of both; Poppy’s world is one in which the rich get everything while the poor don’t even get scraps. As such, it is based directly on the world around us.
Trish:: Unfortunately, life isn’t fair for everyone, there is still a big division between those who have and those who don’t.
Do you have a special writing routine?
Jon: I write whenever I can squeeze it around work, if I have the energy. I used to take my laptop out with me and I’d get some writing done between jobs but unfortunately the laptop is now held together with sticky tape and can’t take too much movement, which has curtailed my writing and editing somewhat.
Trish: Are you a keen reader yourself? Do you think a writer must also be a reader?
Jon: I mostly read factual things these days rather than fiction, partly for research and partly for pleasure. It certainly helps to be a reader, to have as much information sloshing around in your brain as you can, as this gives you a wider view on things and hopefully makes you consider all sides to an argument.
Trish: Thank you so much for sharing your ideas with us today, Jon. I’m looking forward to reading more about Poppy in the sequel to Full Throttle in September!
Jon: My pleasure!
Here are the media links for Jon Hartless and his writing.