Interview with Hamish 'Managua' Gunn

What is your writing process?
I visit my forest every morning - and blog only about that also. Words are found in trees.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
One of my first English teachers reminded me about it recently, when she sent me a volume of poetry with a note attached, a very kind one with her memories of teaching me. If I remember the story focused on a tin can on the road, I think I'll use the beginning one day.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
When I was young if I read a good book I went out and bought more books from that particular author. Now I focus more on the book. I remember the first book was by Gerrald Durrell. I think the book's effect stays with me even now. "For Whom The Bell Tolls" stands out in my memory, especially the dramatic ending.
How do you approach cover design?
I have a wonderful cover designer. She's a woman who lives in Riga, Latvia. I like to spend a while looking for something that really resonates. The book cover is a story in itself.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I think almost the same thing that motivated me to live in a small town in the Empty Quarter, the large sand desert of Saudi Arabia, then to move to Lappland beyond the Arctic Circle! Sometimes one should do things their own way, rather than getting stuck in mainstream.
What's the story behind your latest book?
'Winner Takes Nothing' is closely related to real events. As I inserted in the book; names have not even been changed. There is my love of the desert and the great north in there as well. Surrealism and avantgarde approaches were challenges I wanted to explore, and the theme is part of us all: global events of the past few decades, but it is also a testimony of friendship, and of love. I think that aside from the challenge of avantgarde and surrealistic approaches, the most interesting was perhaps to portray a diamond heist in a positive light.
What are you working on next?
I have two books coming, one called "Put Your Lips Together," about a whistleblower and a non-fiction book about forests.
Who are your favorite authors?
I think Colin Thubron is a wonderful writer, as is Robert Frisk. Ryszard Kapuściński was amazing, and I've enjoyed Paul Theraux. Khaled Hosseini is great, and recently I have found Rory Maclean very readable as well. Freya Stark wrote well, as did Peter Fleming. I used to enjoy Martha Gellhorn, and Hemingway.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My forest.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I think its true to say ebooks discover the reader, whether by luck or astute marketing,
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the mountains of the Alps. I think there is a mountaineering book in me sometime, we'll see, but mountains, and the Alps certainly are a backdrop to many scenes. Where I grew up there were a lot of kids from different countries. I think that's fairly normal now, but that international background gave me a lot. I still enjoy writing Japanese haibun, for example, and reading books about Africa.
Your book deals with the fundamental truth of right and wrong. Where did this notion come from?
I find the concept of truth alone to be a difficult one to explain. As a safety officer I could never get one single truth from interviews of witnesses after an accident, and have experienced the concept of absolute truth in both communist and deeply religious societies, though in reality it is individuals hijacking the notion of 'right' and 'wrong' for their own reasons.
Where do the characters in your books come from?
They are real people, often doing real things.
What advice would you give a starting writer?
Forget the pinks and dazzling effects on your blogs. Concentrate on the basics: I have seen far too many blogs and websites with font that is too small to read or in faded pastels colours. What a disaster. Also, leave out stuff readers don't care about, like which university you went to. The best university for a writer is jail. Concentrate on your book. The blog and website are the windows. Keep them smart. A window cleaner is the most important person in the company.
What is the meaning of life?
If you watch a bud grow and blossom, on a tree, over the spring, or help a fallen acorn start to grow into a full tree, every meaning becomes beautiful.
Published 2018-04-16.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Winner Takes Nothing
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 137,140. Language: English. Published: January 14, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
A book full of intrigue, of mystical shamans, of love and friendship. and the destructive workings of the CIA, in an exploration of the avantgarde and surrealism. This epic takes us to Siberia on a diamond heist involving a Saami shaman. Gunn is an authority in international espionage. A hard-hitting and well-written adventure that spans 3 continents over 3 decades.