Today I’m excited to welcome Jac Wright, author of The Reckless Engineer. His novel was published on November 6, 2013 and I highly recommend it!
Meet Jac Wright:
Jac Wright is a poet published in literary magazines, a published author, and an electronics engineer educated at Stanford, University College London, and Cambridge who lives and works in England. Jac studied English literature from the early age of three, developing an intense love for poetry, drama, and writing in Trinity College Speech & Drama classes taken afternoons and Saturdays for fourteen years, and in subsequent creative writing classes taken during the university years. A published poet, Jac’s first passion was for literary fiction and poetry writing as well as for the dramatic arts. You will find these influences in the poetic imagery and prose, the dramatic scene setting, and the deep character creation.
These passions – for poetry, drama, literary fiction, and electronic engineering – have all been lovingly combined to create the first book in the literary suspense series, The Reckless Engineer. There are millions of professionals in high tech corporate environments who work in thousands of cities in the US, the UK, and the world such as engineers, technicians, technical managers, investment bankers, and corporate lawyers. High drama, power struggles, and human interest stories play out in the arena every day. Yet there are hardly any books that tell their stories; there are not many books that they can identify with. Jac feels compelled to tell their stories in The Reckless Engineer series.
Jac also writes the literary short fiction series, Summerset Tales, in which he explores characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances in the semi-fictional region of contemporary England called Summerset, partly the region that Thomas Hardy called Wessex. Some of the tales have an added element of suspense similar to Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected. The collection is published as individual tales in the tradition of Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers and Thomas Hardy’s Wessex Tales. The first tale, The Closet, accompanies the author’s first full-length literary suspense title, The Reckless Engineer.
Thank you for taking the time to let me interview you about your upcoming novel.
You are such an open book on your website. It was difficult thinking of questions to ask you. 🙂
1. What inspires you to write?
I love the genre––suspense, mystery, thriller and literary fiction––that I write in. My mother loves literary fiction and the classics and some of the earliest memories I have are of her reading the classics to me––Oliver Twist, Pickwick Papers, Lorna Doone, Mill on the Floss, The Animal Farm etc. At the same time my father loved the crime and adventure TV series like MacGyver, The Tales of the Unexpected (based on Roald Dahl’s suspense fiction), Perry Mason, Mission Impossible etc. Both he and I would be glued to our respective favourite seats watching these together every week. Soon I was reading the classics and the suspense series by writers like Roald Dahl and Earl Stanley Gardner.
When I was 3 years old, my mother enrolled me in London Trinity College Speech & Drama classes which I attended every Saturday (and some weekday afternoons) for 14 years.
So the stories were all in me since childhood even though I was only writing for lessons until I went to Stanford. The influences of Stanford’s culture and its Liberal Arts education program first made me think of writing for an audience. The first things I wrote were poetry, and then literary short fiction. Soon elements of suspense started creeping into my short fiction. And here I am writing poetry, literary fiction, and suspense fiction now.
I think the influences that my mother, father and Speech & Drama School had on me as a child and their tastes in stories has had a deep impact on me and that is why I feel compelled to write.
2. How did you come up with the idea for The Reckless Engineer?
The plot is the “dual” or the complementary plot of my short story, The Closet, which I wrote first. The idea for the closet plot came to me suddenly in a moment of inspiration. In The Closet I look at the troubles my protagonist gets into because he is blinded by romantic love and passion into actions almost in spite of himself. In that story I am right inside my protagonist’s head, using a limited and very close third person POV, telling the reader how it feels for him––the joys, the angst, the pain. . .
I then wanted to write a story with the dual or the complementary plot in which there is my protagonist who again acts blinded by romantic love and passion, but this time I look at the situation from the viewpoints of the people around him, at how it impacts them. Hence, in The Reckless Engineer, I hardly give my protagonist, Jack Connor, a voice, keeping him in custody for much of the story. This time I give voices to the people around him––his wife, ex-wife, son, father-in-law, work colleagues and managers, and friends––who tell the reader how it affects them.
That’s about the central plot of this book in the series.
As for the series I knew I wanted it to be woven around the adventures of an electrical engineer. My series lead, Jeremy Stone (I hate that last name; I wanted to name him Jeremy Reid, too late), is an electrical engineer a little like me, but like what I would like to be. He lives the life I want and I live it through him. He is adventurous, versatile, and resourceful like MacGyver. He is highly skilled, super intelligent, and has nerves of steel like Barney in Mission Impossible. He is courageous and a great friend.
I also knew that I wanted to set the story in the beautiful English seaside town of Portsmouth because my mother loves Charles Dickens and I do too.
3. I really like the cover as it complements the story perfectly. How did you come up with the cover for The Reckless Engineer?
That is all Soul Mate Publishing’s work. I gave an outline of the story, the blurbs, and some ideas about what I would like and what I would not like. I was totally surprised by what they came up with. The cover features a Magistrates’ Court in England which is perfect for highlighting the courtroom drama in this story. The top part features and English seaside town at sunset. It is pure gold.
4. Can you tell us a little bit about Jeremy? Is he based on you?
He is an engineer like me. I am more into electronics and computer science, but he is also an electrical engineer with more experience in analogue circuits. He is more what I should like to be. He lives the life I want and I live it through him.
5. Have you, or Jeremy, ever thought about starting a PI firm?
Not me, no. However, I do have Jeremy and I live that life of an investigator though him.
As for Jeremy, well you have his engineering firm, radio Silicon, sharing a wing with Barratt, Stavers & Associates solicitors’ firm. And his best friend, Harry Stavers, is a criminal defence attorney; so there are lots of murders around. You also know that Jeremy’s personality is such that he is an “adrenaline junkie” and he can’t help himself stumbling into all sorts of trouble and adventures. However, he will always stay an engineer. He won’t become a professional private eye.
As you know engineers are problem solvers. You put some kind of problem before us and it will bug us until we come up with a solution to solve it. Engineers are super smart and very observant. As an electronics and electrical engineer Jeremy can create all the gadgets he wants to spy on shady characters. So we have the makings of a good amateur sleuth in him.
6. What question do you get asked the most?
They ask me if any of my characters are based on me or people I know. That is one of the most common questions.
After the readers have read one story they want to know what’s coming next and when.
7. What is your favorite scene from the book? Why?
I was a student of drama for over 14 years, and hence I like dramatic scene setting. I just love the dramatic scene in chapter 15 of The Reckless Engineer in the Sitting Room of the McAllen Mansion. The billionaire McAllens are the family of Jack Connor’s wife and the scene is set in his house while he is still in custody. The scene ends with some unexpected news of Jack Connor’s fate.
I can see the scene in my mind like a stage production. Everybody has secrets and troubles they are hiding and all is not what it seems.
8. What do you want your readers to take away from your novel?
First of all I want them to be entertained.
Secondly I want them to “see” the beauty of the towns the stories are set in in the South of England and Scotland. I want them to get a sense of what life is like here and learn about their industries and small businesses. If my readers are not British I want them to come and visit these towns.
One of the most important motivations is that I want to “lift the lid” on the great life that an engineer leads. What I write about the life of engineers is so much the reality that all, but for the murder, could be non-fiction. I also want young adults to know how cool the profession is and attract them to it. There has not been a hero who is an engineer since Barney, in Mission Impossible, who is a somewhat supporting character. There are so many medical dramas. Where are the drama series centered around an engineering firm?
I therefore create an engineering hero and a drama series centered around and engineering firm to fill that vacuum.
9. Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Bill and Hilary Clinton. Bill Clinton knew how to run the country, offering prosperity, social justice, and a surplus in the bank to the people. I think Hilary Clinton will do better. She has a harder job with the mess the country is in after years of reckless adventure, but man the country needs her now.
10. What is your favorite book and why?
I love David Copperfield because my mother used to read it to me.
From my genre I love and admire The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. It is a master-class in compelling character creation. I hero-worship Patricia Highsmith. Her character creation in The Talented Mr. Ripley is unique and unrivaled to this date, even though as a Buddhist I find her excessive rewarding of the bad at the expense of the good hard to stomach. Her writing is almost a close psycho-analysis of the character falling perfectly into Virginia Woolf’s Bloomsbury school of writing. Her POV is perfect and her work is a master-class in compelling character creation. This Literary Psychological Thriller genre is the sub-category I am most comfortable with writing in myself.
I also love the setting in Venice, Italy.
11. Light side or dark side (Luke or Darth)?
Light. (Luke) As you can see my writing is bright in the most dismal of situations. I love how Charles Dickens writes about dismal and hopeless situations in harsh societies, but still incorporate and create great humour.
12. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
My motto: Seize the day. “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha
Thank you so much for stopping by Jac! I’ll be waiting for your next novel release!
Connect With Jac Wright:
Visit Jac Wright’s Amazon Author page.
Read about Wright’s poetry, and other works, and subscribe free to news, contests, and free giveaways on the author’s web site:
Subscribe to Jac Wright’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/jacwrightbooks
Read Jac Wright’s Blog: http://mysteriescrimethrillers.blogspot.com
Join Jac Wright’s Author Q&A group: Read with Jac Wright on Shelfari
Follow him on Twitter: @JacWrightBooks