Interview with Derek Hart

When did you first start writing?
It was during Freshman English, at Oakton Community College, many years ago. Rinda West, the professor, suggested that I had real talent as a writer and that I should pursue it seriously. She was instrumental in planting the seed, which I didn’t seriously pursue until several years later, when I wrote my first novel.
What's the story behind your latest book?
All these recent apocalyptic books and movies always have the victims know what is happening. I just don't believe that would be the case. So with Minerva's Shield (part 1 in the series) and now Nike's Chariot, the protagonists don't have a clue what happened, just lots of questions. So they set out to find some answers, but only come away with a lot more questions. Sure, I provide hints, but I want the readers to come to their own conclusion. Much of the initial plot originated from a recent father/son vacation, where we went exploring abandoned abandoned buildings and stumbled upon the Black Hills Army Depot, a military post abandoned in the 1960's, but still standing out in the middle of nowhere in South Dakota. This discovery led to the first inklings of the story.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Impatience. I went through the typical old-world process of inquiries, sample chapters, agents, all that crap. My rejection letters all spoke of talent, but no place for action and adventure tales, and my agents proved worthless too, so I went independent.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
There is no doubt that ebooks sell in their many formats and sales overseas are my biggest success. Electronic sales are leaving traditional hard-copy sales in a cloud of dust and Smashwords has played a huge role in this event.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
First, I write for love of the writing. At this time in my writing career, there is no way to claim any financial success. However, my rush comes from finishing another book and reading or hearing how readers loved it. I like to read my books and in most cases I am leaving a timeless gift for my son Ian. He is absolutely blown away by the fact his dad writes books and loves reading them. That is a tremendous reward. Also, I have a circle of close friends and family who enthusiastically involve themselves in my novels and their loyalty is also priceless. Writing is my true passion, so I really enjoy it - period. Sure, it’s hard work, but I love the headache I get from working out a plot problem. I am thrilled when one of my characters refuses to cooperate and I can’t wait to get into the groove, when the words are flying across the page. I am never satisfied as a writer, but I do get to the point where the project needs to be finished and the next one started. I am impatient and am constantly looking ahead. Right now I am aggressively researching 2 books, rewriting 2 books, editing 2 books and outlining 2 books. That’s how I prefer it. There is no such thing as writer’s block with me, because if I get stalled on one, I just jump to another. I love to write entertaining stories and I am constantly trying to polish my art, which I think my readers will agree is happening. Each book is better, because I’m learning, but it’s like an addiction, I must keep writing another one.
What do your fans mean to you?
I write to entertain. I write the kind of novels I like to read. Lots of action, adventure, likeable characters, some history, and perhaps some question of society or life in general that has given me pause. I admit that I am presenting issues in a controlled environment and my conclusions on paper are usually far more obvious and final than life ever is. But foremost, I want to entertain. So when I hear from my fans, I am delighted. They mean everything to me and I aim to please.
What are you working on next?
The final 2 books in the dragon series - Secret of the Dragon's Teeth and Secret of the Dragon's Wings. They are long overdue. There have been lots of interruptions and for awhile, I lost motivation. Since I am wrapping up a very complicated story, I must make sure there are no loose ends, at least not any that would destroy the story. I struggle with this project presently, but it's finally coming together.
Who are your favorite authors?
Alistair Maclean, Hammond Innes, Jack Higgins, Douglas Reeman, and Robert E. Howard.
Do you have one of your books you reccomend most for a new reader?
It depends on the reader's interests and preferred genre, of course, but I usually choose A Favor for FDR. It's a captivating adventure story unfolding during WWII, regarding the race between the Allies and Germans to build an atomic bomb. If you read every Derek Hart novel, you will begin to put together a trend or two. Besides the historical or political questions that I may confront in the chapters of each book, I most definitely challenge that emotion called love. I am fascinated by the impact, not just between a man and woman, but on all the levels that love might express itself. I question it, dissect it, challenge it and most of all, attempt to present love at its best. Sure, that might include sex and since I’m a male of the species, you will find it discussed from my point of view. But love is far more intriguing and seductive than sex, so I keep searching for the answers. I write historical novels because I think history is the best teacher we have and the most overlooked. Our society preaches about history always repeating itself, but we seldom actually study it and pay attention. I love to delve into history, to seek out the viewpoints and ask questions, not in a dusty old boring way, but from the human aspect. I try to toss gifted people into abnormal situations and let them perform.
As a consumer of literature, have you a favorite genre? What is it? And why?
Well, it’s the same genre I write. I love action and adventure, spy novels, even the occasional mystery or romance. Historical fiction also catches my eye, especially if it’s a subject or era I’m intrigued by. I also consume volumes of history books, usually on the topic I’m researching for another novel.
If you could offer just one tidbit of advice to other aspiring writers, what would it be?
The same piece of advice I have received from several people who made a difference in my writing career. Believe in yourself, stick with it, keep learning and keep writing. This is not the course of action for the easily defeated. Writing is a passion and it should be treated as such. Every time you run into a roadblock, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and go at it again. It does help to have friends, family and fans to support your efforts, believe me. But in the end, it’s still up to you. Study your craft, study the genre you want to write, but don’t copy it, follow your own internal voice instead.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Tracks of the Predator, which was eventually published, after perhaps 100 rewrites over the years.
What is your writing process?
I enjoy the research, but that’s not actually writing. Since I usually write the ending first, I love watching how the book unfolds on the journey to get to that ending. Certain characters often captivate me and there are passages in my books where I think I’ve done a pretty good job of writing. But to be honest, my favorite part of writing a novel is when I’ve completed it. There is such a tremendous feeling of accomplishment, that it deserves a cold beer and a grilled steak in celebration. I love looking on my bookshelf and seeing 25 published novels, knowing there are plenty more to go.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first action/adventure novel I read that forever impacted me was Ice Station Zebra, by Alistair MacLean. I was spellbound and read it again to study what the author had done to capture me.
How do you approach cover design?
My close friend David Burke designs my book covers. He is a very gifted graphic artist. I always have ideas for a cover, so when the book is completed in draft form, I send the manuscript to David and he reads it, then creates a draft cover. We haggle and spend hours laughing, negotiating, and debating what should go into a cover, but I am always thrilled by the end result. He’s learning too and his covers keep getting better and better.
Published 2014-10-11.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 12,650. Language: English. Published: August 12, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » American poetry
Poetry collection by Derek Hart. Love, adventure, muses, secrets, motivation and disappointment - all captured in verse.
Tangles of Truth
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 118,700. Language: English. Published: August 5, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
Tangles of Truth, by Derek Hart, is a new historical fantasy novel set in North Africa during the early years of WWII. Once again, after exhaustive research into the author's ancestors in Europe, an explosive and exciting story evolved.
The Carla Conspiracy
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 99,320. Language: English. Published: July 14, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
Best-selling author Garrett Brody stumbles upon murder and mayhem, far outside his writing experience. Or it that just a cover up?
Tidal Trap
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 92,420. Language: English. Published: June 24, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Sea adventures
Former Navy SEAL Jeff Parker struggles to find a rogue submarine, hidden agendas that reside in the White House, and environmental issues revolving around dolphins used as weapons. Parker must come to terms with a failed covert mission, a schooner crew to lead and protect, and a choice between two women.
Game Over
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 111,230. Language: English. Published: June 1, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
Something went terribly wrong. Seemingly normal people suddenly were so aggressive, even violent. They took to the streets, protesting everything, which led to massive riots. Law enforcement was hard pressed to contain this inexpiable breakdown in society.
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 85,760. Language: English. Published: April 6, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
Danielle Draganov was in no way the typical woman, if there was such a thing to describe a 25-year-old beauty. Instead of going to college like most of her friends, she got a job and spent her free time searching through abandoned buildings.
Apollo's Plague
Series: The Shield. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 175,390. Language: English. Published: November 11, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
This is the third book in this post apocalyptic series. While the survivors in the Georgia bunker struggle with complacency, a new alien species appears bent on the final destruction of all of mankind and the vaunted Grid fails. In the midst of this collapse, 4 brave adventurers have set off in search of another medallion.
The Wreckchasers A Novel
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 100,700. Language: English. Published: June 12, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
Steve Corbin has a fascination with airplane crashes. This is not morbid curiosity, but a historical necessity. After leaving the NTSB, Steve, along with his army buddy Devin Wade, start up a company expressly designed to track down and recover the wreckage of airplanes crashed during World War II.
Secret of the Dragon's Teeth
Series: Dragon Secrets. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 90,960. Language: English. Published: November 7, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
The Secret of the Dragon’s Teeth continues the adventures of Gavin Kane, Emily Scott, and Bunty Digby, sixteen-year-olds who struggle with their daily lives in England during the pivotal year of 1944, along with their dragon friend Thaddeus Osbert.
Nike's Chariot
Series: The Shield. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 141,630. Language: English. Published: October 11, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
It was the end of the world. Or was it? There was something else involved in this apocalypse, this final cataclysm. Strange black winged shapes that moved faster than sight or sound, zipped in and out of the destruction. Shocked by yet another unforeseen discovery, a hardy band of adventurers is thrown into the middle of a global conflict that defies explanation.
Minerva's Shield
Series: The Shield. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 120,580. Language: English. Published: January 14, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
The world has come to an end. Or has it? Minerva's Shield is a post-apocalyptic adventure unlike anything you have read before.
Shadows In Replay
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 123,560. Language: English. Published: June 2, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Historical » USA
Soon Kinkaid finds himself embroiled in a complicated network of lies and cover-ups involving everyone around him. As he stumbles upon an opium export operation directed by members of his old unit, the mysterious Emerald Tiger thrusts Kinkaid into an assassination plot against the King of Thailand.
For Love or Honor Bound
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 155,920. Language: English. Published: May 17, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Historical » USA
One hundred and thirty-seven years ago, the Countess Isabelle Sophia Bario, diplomatic representative of Emperor Dom Pedro II of Brazil, sailed to war-ravaged America, to negotiate with President Lincoln to allow Brazil to trade with the Confederate States of America.
Tales of the Yellow Silk
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 50,400. Language: English. Published: March 19, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » War & military adventure
Tales of the Yellow Silk is actually a collection of short stories, covering Sergeant James Kendle’s brief tour of duty in Thailand from October 1974 to June 1975. The naïve young sergeant considered his assignment as both a grand adventure and exotic travelogue. Instead, he found himself embroiled in a highly sensitive love affair and assigned to a dangerous covert military operation.
Flag of Her Choosing
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 96,470. Language: English. Published: September 13, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
.. this disaster was the building block for Derek Hart’s grand romantic adventure, as US Marine Corps Captain Richard Danforth is thrust into the middle of a relief expedition to assist earthquake survivors. Little does he know that this mission will lead to murder, intrigue, the heist of an enormous fortune of gold, and of course, falling in love with local teacher Maria Vitale.
A Favor for FDR
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 78,710. Language: English. Published: September 12, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General
It was Germany, not America, which first split the atom. The US didn't have a clue until Einstein warned the White House some years after the Nazi research began. The man in charge of German nuclear research was Werner Heisenberg, a founder of modern quantum physics.
Dust Jacket
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 83,160. Language: English. Published: September 12, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General
Connor MacLean is a rare book dealer, who specializes in military and historical manuscripts. His father Grant is a Vietnam veteran and Grandfather Ian served during WWII, while Connor himself served with distinction in Operation Desert Storm.
Claws of the Raven
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 97,230. Language: English. Published: June 1, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Romance » General
Love is still a wonderful curse and humans go out of their way to complicate every step along the way. When all is said and done, even the author can't manipulate the characters to do and react in ways that are out of character.
Ice Flotilla
Series: The WWII Motor Torpedo Boat, Book 3. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 114,260. Language: English. Published: May 31, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Historical » General
Ice Flotilla is a story about ordinary people caught up in the extraordinary horrors and challenges of World War Two. In the midst of this terrible conflict, human beings were also faced with many of life's seemingly mundane choices too.
Seas Aflame
Series: The WWII Motor Torpedo Boat, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 103,970. Language: English. Published: May 25, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General
Seas Aflame is the second book in Derek Hart's MTB Trilogy. It is packed with furious action, derring-do and sizzling romance, but is also the result of extensive research. This is not just a tale about brave men and women wrapped up in the cruelty of war, but about the sacrifices and losses good people were forced to make in the face of great evil.
Element of Surprise
Series: The WWII Motor Torpedo Boat, Book 1. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 127,930. Language: English. Published: May 24, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General
Element of Surprise, like most of Derek Hart's previous novels, is based around extensive research and filled with interesting and diverse characters. Their hopes and dreams, fears and losses are captured within the pages of Element of Surprise, the first book to the Torpedo Boat Trilogy.
Crooked Cross Factor
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 82,850. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General
Take an action-packed, roller-coaster ride into the shadowy back-room of embassies, nations pushing the brink of war and agents betraying innocent, or not so innocent, bystanders. Crooked Cross Factor will hook you with its historical events, then entertain you with counter move and double cross.
Tracks of the Predator
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 81,740. Language: English. Published: May 19, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General
In Tracks of the Predator, Mike Rejest is a dedicated Special Agent for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is responsible for the Southwest region and has over 35 agents reporting to him. Rejest has survived countless administrations and even more policy shifts.
Secret of the Dragon's Scales
Series: Dragon Secrets, Book 4. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 86,500. Language: English. Published: May 18, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
Secret of the Dragon’s Scales continues the adventures of Gavin Kane, Emily Scott, and Bunty Digby, fifteen-year-olds who make the best of their young lives in England during the autumn of 1943.
Danger Cruise
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 57,550. Language: English. Published: June 29, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American
Danger Cruise takes place during a one week round trip cruise. The Princess Carla is the setting for a tale of love and intrigue, romance and excitement, with some international criminals thrown in for good measure. Indeed First Officer John Drake is handsome, dashing, and certainly entertaining, but it’s Interpol Agent Raylene Capri who really has the moves,
Executive Firepower
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 86,170. Language: English. Published: May 9, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Adventure » General
David Lockhart holds down a pretty typical job, as a sales manager for a company that supplies an extensive catalog of products. On the surface, there’s nothing unusual about David Lockhart. However, when he receives a certain call sign, Lockhart becomes the team leader of MESA, a Black Ops organization that reports to the Director of the NSA.
Secret of the Dragon's Claw
Series: Dragon Secrets, Book 3. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 85,190. Language: English. Published: April 16, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
Secret of the Dragon’s Claw continues the adventures of Gavin Kane, Emily Scott, and Bunty Digby, fourteen-year-old teens who struggle with their daily lives in England during the winter of 1941 and into the spring of 1942. War has forced everyone to settle into an uncomfortable daily pattern, while England is still under siege, as U-boats relentlessly attack vital convoys.
Secret of the Dragon's Breath
Series: Dragon Secrets, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 89,090. Language: English. Published: April 8, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
Secret of the Dragon’s Breath continues the adventures of Gavin Kane, Emily Scott, Bunty Digby, and their wonderful dragon companion, Sir Thaddeus Osbert. These teens are once again thrust into the center of Nazi plans to bring England to her knees during the crucial days, during the spring of 1941.
Secret of the Dragon's Eye
Series: Dragon Secrets, Book 1. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 91,590. Language: English. Published: March 24, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
Secret of the Dragon’s Eye is a tale of fantasy for young people, with a high-spirited dragon named Thaddeus Osbert and three adolescents who befriend him. Faced with danger and intrigue, the children band together with the dragon, to thwart a German top-secret mission, aimed at seizing the mystical and magical sword of King Arthur—Excalibur.