Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I have written five mystery/thrillers, the newest being UNHOLY RETRIBUTION. Before this, I was Chairperson of a NYC high school English Department and wrote a series of human interest stories for our local daily newspaper, The Staten Island Advance. I was a sergeant in the USMC Reserves and twice received Teacher of the Year awards. My novels have won some recognition. BLOOD BROTHERS won a local book award, COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES won a 2009 Premier Book Award in the Mystery/Thriller/Suspense category, and LETTERS FROM THE DEAD was one of six finalists in the 2013 International Readers Favorite Awards and was awarded second place in the Readers’ View Contest.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
UNHOLY RETRIBUTION grew out of our current problems with the Middle East. It is about someone who is decapitating apparently innocent Muslims. The clues all point to a Jesuit priest who was a former Black Ops officer. When the priest’s brother, a NYC homicide detective, tries to help, he faces a hostile lead detective who holds him responsible for her sister’s death. The characters reflect various opinions about what to do about various terrorist organizations.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don’t think so, but others might. I try to follow the idea that if I write just one page a night, by the end of a year, I will have written 365 pages – a book! But things don’t usually work that way and I get the feeling my wife thinks I’m goofing off when I sit at the computer. So I do most of my writing late at night when I am the only one awake. It’s quiet and I don’t bother anyone, but I frequently get “carried away” with things and end up writing and revising well past 1:00 and 2:00 a.m. I also always have a pen and pad with me so that if I have to wait somewhere I have something to think about and jot down notes about.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
It’s a strange lot, but I would have to say James Joyce, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, Michael Connelly, James Paterson, Lee Child, Pat Conroy, Robert Parker, Thomas Hardy, Chaucer and Poe.
What are you working on now?
All my novels have involved the same priest and detective. My next work will try to follow each of them separately as they deal with a problem. I hope to be able to show how each of us handles certain situations in different ways. Sometimes they work out and sometimes they don’t. The detective will face his problems in NYC and the priest his problems in Colombia, SA. I am going to try to write each character’s story in the first person.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I wish I knew. I have a website: www.george-hopkins.com. Amazon also has a website illustrating my books: amazon.com/author/georgehopkins . I have published books with Xlibris, Outskirts Press, and now CreateSpace, but I don’t know how effective they really are in promoting my books. Posting reviews I have received from Readers’ Favorite on FACEBOOK, however, seems to have helped. I also feel speaking about your book at book club meetings in a good way of spreading the news.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Stick to it! Keep writing. Write for yourself. It is easy to get discouraged in trying get something published. I feel knowing people through conferences, letters, friendships, etc. gives the new author a foot in the door. It’s still a long, arduous job to get published. If I were younger, I would have attended more conferences and tried to develop friendships with other writers. I self-published because I felt I had some stories I thought would interest, entertain, and maybe even enlighten some readers and I honestly didn’t have the patience to continue to struggle for an agent and then a publisher.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Don’t give up. Continue to “fight the good fight.” As the little red engine once said, “I can do it. I can do it!” Denis Waitley wrote a poem which illustrates this idea. “If you think you can, you can! / If you Think You Can, You Can! / You can be a total winner even if you’re a beginner, / If you think you can, you can, / If you think you can, you can.” It’s good advice for all of us. You have to believe in yourself.
What are you reading now?
I just finished John Connolly’s THE UNQUIET, Lee Child’s PERSONAL, and Linda Fairstein’s TERMINAL CITY. I am now reading P.D. James’ DEVICES AND DESIRES and a couple of books about writing.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I don’t know. I would like to write another chapter in the lives of the detective and the priest and to put together some of my short stories, essays and poems to share with my grandchildren.
What is your favorite book of all time?
It has been a long time since I read it, but I remember how much I enjoyed reading James Joyce’s PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN.