The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Allan Hendry

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The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Allan Hendry


Summary: We enjoyed End Game by Allan Hendry, a fast-paced and action-packed eco-thriller to make you think exactly where we're going - and who is likely to do something about it. We had quite a few questions for the author when he popped in to see us.
Date: #
Interviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee

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We enjoyed End Game by Allan Hendry, a fast-paced and action-packed eco-thriller to make you think exactly where we're going - and who is likely to do something about it. We had quite a few questions for the author when he popped in to see us.

  • Bookbag: When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?

Allan Hendry: I started by writing the book as the one I would like to have taken on one of the many flights I once had to take, so maybe I would have seen someone like myself. Fortunately not now, because I have been amazed by how many different sorts and ages of people tell me they enjoyed the book. So I don't know.

  • BB: Some books are written from research and some come from deep-seated and extensive knowledge. When I read End Game it was obvious that this was the latter. How did you come by all this knowledge?

AH: I have had the luck of a very varied and enjoyable career, taking me all over the world and working on many technologies and with some fascinating characters, such as one Gary Williams. He taught pilots in the specialist knowledge of flying in the Rocky Mountains. He was also an accident investigator! I was grateful for his advice in the flight sequences, and to others on other topics.

  • BB: And it wasn't just the wide range of technical detail in the book which impressed me. You took me all over the world and I sensed that you hadn't done this courtesy of Google Earth. Have you travelled a lot? For work or for pleasure? If you could live somewhere other than where you live now, where would it be?

AH: I have actually been to all the places featured in the book, mostly work related, but, even if it meant little sleep, finding out all about the places. I did some trips just to research, for example to the illicit drug-running landing strips in Polk County central Florida, where I spoke to the local Sherriff. It all makes you more confident in writing.

Where would I live? I am very happy in the New Forest, but I do like Dorset. It's somehow so understated. If you force me to move country, it would have to be France.

  • BB: Have you ever been seriously frightened whilst travelling?

AH: Surprisingly few times, then mostly by my own fault, some of which I'd rather not think about. One of those was an incident in Jordan, which is the basis of the start of the first chapter.

  • BB: That frightened me just reading it, Allan!

As I read I noticed that the chapter titles put me in mind of music but it was only when I looked back afterwards that I found there were nods to some of the great music of the sixties and seventies. Is music important to you? What's the best piece of music ever written?

AH: That last one is an impossible question, for me anyway. I also make hi-fi loudspeakers which I call MonoPulse, and love playing well-produced modern music. There has been so much talent and creativity over the past six decades. If I was asked to list a few, I would just keep going. I love the wailing guitar – a good one is the break in Bob Seeger's “Like a Rock”. Good current music – Arcade Fire.

  • BB: The message in the book about the way in which earth's population is expanding is subtle but thought provoking. What can be done about it? How do you see it ending?

AH: A strange thing is, that when I started writing the book this aspect wasn't in my mind. As I conceived the plot and the characters started to form themselves, I began to realise how this issue lies beneath so many of our world's problems. But it is the elephant in the room, and may remain so, because that grey background is actually an even bigger elephant. I have ended up rather pessimistic.

  • BB: Where and how do you write? With or without music? How long did it take you to write End Game?

AH: I started writing when I was travelling a lot and spending a lot of time on planes, waiting for them, or in restaurants on my own. The result is that I am most comfortable in places where there is something going on in the background, but which doesn't involve me. Some restaurants in odd places around the world know me for this. I find it more difficult writing on my own.

  • BB: What are you reading at the moment? Is reading important to you? What's your best book ever?

AH: I am trying to get though about a hundred back copies of New Scientist and National Geographic – when I get the time. Best book? Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

  • BB: You've got one wish. What's it to be?

AH: I would wish that my children are given the fortune, opportunities and experiences I have enjoyed.

  • BB: What's next for Allan Hendry?

AH: Slow (I hope) decline? But meantime I keep working, and spending time with friends, driving my two classic cars, enjoying good wine, music and food. Another book? Yes, I have a good plot. So I'd like to think so, but it's finding the time.

  • BB: We hope the decline is very slow, Allan but in the meantime that sounds like a good life. We'll keep our fingers crossed for another book though! Thanks for chatting to us.

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