Interview with Hep Aldridge, Author of Sunken Treasure Lost Worlds
17 Sep 2019
What can you tell us about your new release, Sunken Treasure Lost Worlds?
It’s an action/adventure that combines a number of my interests. Lost treasure, Diving, Pre-Columbian archaeology and legends of lost or advanced civilizations in pre-history. I know that’s quite a melding pot of area’s but I believe the reader will find the common or uncommon thread that ties them together. It’s a group of close friends who decide, some in retirement, to form a company called Risky Business Ltd and search for treasure from the 1715 Spanish fleet that sank in a hurricane off Florida’s east coast. What they find takes them on a mysterious and dangerous quest that crosses two continents, with implications of history and life changing discoveries. This is book one of a three book series.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
Wow, that’s a hard one. After completing my dissertation for my doctorate I pretty much swore I would never write anything again. But because of my varied interest and experiences over time this germ of an idea began growing in my head over the last 13 or 14 years. The more I saw or experienced the more the threads of the story became entwined and I could see a creative story forming. I actually wrote a major part of the story in my head before I ever sat down in front of my computer. About 4 years ago I had a back injury that pretty much halted any physical activity for 4 weeks. Starting to go stir crazy sitting around one day I thought why not begin putting that story idea on paper. And that’s how it started. I’ve been told I’m a pretty good storyteller but I really had no idea how to translate that into the written word, so I just jumped right in and started typing. Unencumbered by knowledge. I will say the last 4 years have been a monumental learning experience for me on so many different levels! I wish I had listened more in all my English classes! However I do have to thank Mrs. Brown, my 10th grade typing teacher and her wooden yardstick for making sure I learned how to type without looking at the keyboard. My knuckles still sometimes ache when I think of her!
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
That’s another tough one. Early on, 20,000 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and War of the worlds got me interested in science fiction and that interest just grew. Northwest Passage and Last of the Mohicans really stirred my interest in indigenous cultures which grew into my interest in pre-Columbian cultures. J. Frank Dobie’s “Apache Gold and Yaqui Silver” kicked my treasure hunting fever into high gear. Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea” was a personal emotional experience for me. Finally I read Star Wars about 8 months before the movie came out. On the back cover it said soon to be a major motion picture and I laughed. I thought well this is probably going to be the worst B-rated Sci-Fi movie produced or The best one. We know how that turned out and that showed me that with the written word anything is possible. I know that’s more than 5 but those are the ones that were important to me.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
I guess I would like to talk to Stephen King. I am not a big fan of horror but his writing usually involves good vs. evil in some fashion and his characters very often are what I would call ordinary people having to deal with or overcome extraordinary situations or antagonists. I would want to delve into his process for plot and character development. They vary so much yet are intricate and captivating.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
I love the creative outlet it provides. I had no idea it would feel this way before I started this book. To see your ideas take shape in front of you and flesh out the characters and scenarios is very satisfying. Like I said earlier I’m a storyteller and to see the story in your mind come alive on paper is an unbelievable experience. I’m a self-taught musician, tried my hand at song writing, I’ve dabbled in oil painting and air brush. They all provided some creative satisfaction for me but nothing like writing has done. I have a lot to learn about writing but am ready and willing to do so. I always write to music, instrumental only and often late at night. Depending on my mood I will listen to classical but really prefer electronic music of all types. Epic soundtrack type music, soothing ambient space music or some of the classic artists like Tangerine Dream, Jean Michel Jarre, and David Arkenstone. There are more but no matter who it is I always write with music playing!
What is a typical day like for you?
No such thing. I don’t have a set writing schedule but as I said I usually write at night and if I’m on a roll into the wee hours of the morning.
That makes me a late riser, I don’t do early mornings very well. Got to have my two cups of coffee and then start by checking e mails and Facebook accounts. Respond to any requests I get and then try and get outside. I have a small collection of classic cars and motorcycles that I like to work on and sometimes take my boat out for a run. Being on the water is very relaxing for me. Then it’s just the normal errands and keeping up the property as I call it. In Florida during the summer it rains almost every afternoon and that’s when I sometimes start my writing for the day. I usually do my story research then. I take a break around dinner time and then 8 o’clock or so get back to the creative part of writing.
What scene in Sunken Treasure Lost Worlds was your favorite to write?
I’ve got two really. Chapter 1 I like a lot. It was fun to write and fun to tie into the story plot since it’s the first chapter but not really the beginning of the story. Another favorite is the bus rescue scene in the mountains and O’Reilly’s flight. That was a lot of fun and technically challenging to write.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
The usual ones come to mind some with more significance than others: That which does not kill us strengthens us, De Oppresso Liber, Sua Sponte and the one I adopted for Risky Business: Aut viam inveniam aut facim (Hannibal’s quote, “I shall either find a way or make one.”
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