5 minutes with author D.L. Hicks
In the Over60 “5 Minutes With” series, we ask book writers about their literary habits and preferences. Next up is D.L. Hicks who is debuting his second book, The Fallback.
D.L. Hicks has worked as an officer with the Victorian Police for more than 25 years and decided to put all his real-life experiences on the frontline on paper.
Using his frontline experience, D.L. Hicks brings you along the journey that explores desperation, vulnerability, the lengths people will go to to get what they want, and whether you can ever change who you truly are.
The Fallback is available for preorder now and is due for release on May 31.
1. How has your background of being a police officer contributed to your writing style?
One of the most common pieces of advice given to any writer is ‘write what you know’, and I’m no exception when it comes to that. As well as bearing witness to crimes and criminal activity, being a police officer gives me a firsthand insight into the effect this type of behaviour has on victims and offenders, as well as the emergency workers whose job it is to attend critical incidents. From the most minor car accident to a life-threatening assault or even a homicide, police officers are tasked with taking control of the situation, investigating it and hopefully bringing it to some sort of resolution. To be able to draw on those experiences from a career approaching 30 years in the job is a valuable tool for me as a writer – not only in terms of plot and story arc but also in observing the characteristics of different people involved and the manner in which they deal with things. Hopefully being an ‘insider’ in this world gives my writing authenticity and credibility.
2. How long were you thinking of writing The Fallback before you decided to go ahead with it?
The idea for The Fallback had been buzzing around in my head for some time before I actually put it down on paper. Once I had overcome the excitement of having my first book – The Devil Inside – published and out in the world, I was then able to focus more on The Fallback and expand on the initial concept. The writing and editing process to get this novel to the point where it now appears on the shelf took around 18 months to 2 years, squeezed in around full-time police work and existing in a family including two teenagers!
3. What was one of the most surprising things you learned when writing your book?
Although it shouldn’t be surprising, the editing process – in sharpening a rough diamond first draft into something that can actually be released – amazes me. There are so many character story arcs that require fleshing out or resolution, and so much additional information that is added to round out characters and enrich the overall quality of the novel. It is definitely a collaborative process – so much work is put in by the writer and their editor after the initial story has been written to make the finished product so much more polished than what was first put on the page.
4. What book(s) are you reading right now?
I am constantly reading – it is one thing I love doing and always try and make time for, even if it’s just a chapter or two in bed at night. Most books I read are crime novels – Christian White, Jane Harper, Jo Nesbo, Michael Robotham, Chris Hammer, Lee Child – however in saying that, I am always open to good book recommendations from any genre. The best two books I have read lately are not crime fiction at all – Bluebird by Malcolm Knox, and Still Life by Sarah Winman. I have just finished Kill Your Brother by Jack Heath – definitely a crime novel!
5. How do you deal with writer’s block?
I haven’t had to deal with writer’s block too much yet, although there are certainly times where things flow better than others. Taking a break can be useful – getting out in the fresh air walking the dog, leaving the writing aside for a small period of time and then returning to it can usually get the creative thoughts flowing again. Sometimes I think it’s beneficial to just try to just focus on getting something down on the page - even if it isn’t award winning literature – to progress the storyline. Once the words are down they can always be sharpened up at a later stage.