Hi Jac and welcome. First of all, tell us what inspired you to write your first novel.
I had written poetry and short stories before published in literary magazines. So it was a natural transition to write the Great British Novel as the next step.
Suspense, mystery, and classic literary fiction are the genre I have always loved to read and watch on TV. My father got me addicted to suspense watching Tales of the Unexpected, Mission Impossible, Perry Mason, and MacGyver without missing an episode every week when I was a child and these stories I watched with my father have stayed with me through the years.
With The Reckless Engineer I wanted to create a hero who is an engineer like me, and a series about an engineering firm. The only hero in fiction I can think of who is an engineer is Barney from the Mission Impossible TV series. There are so many legal and medical dramas, but where are the dramas centred on engineering firms? I wanted to bring an engineering drama to life treated for an audience not familiar with the profession the same way that legal and medical dramas are. I want young adults to know how entertaining, satisfying, powerful, and glamorous the engineering field is so that they will be attracted to the profession.
I picked Portsmouth because I love the beautiful seaside town where Charles Dickens was born. My mother loved Dickens’ work and she also loves the city and the Isle of Wight off the coast of Portsmouth. One of the earliest memories I have is of her reading David Copperfield to me. So I knew I wanted the setting to be Portsmouth.
And so it came together like that.
I read a lot of Agatha Christies in my late teens and a couple while I was writing the book also. I read suspense like Roald Dahl’s Tales of the unexpected, Patricia Highsmith’s work; a bit of Benjamin Black and Ian Rankin though noir is not my style. I also read a lot of classics and literary fiction. The book is a classic mystery in many ways even though the setting is contemporary. I also do like to inject some action, Mission Impossible style. It is also a legal drama and that part is unique because there are no legal thrillers through the British criminal courts currently published. Even in the US most of the legal drama series, like John Grisham’s, are based in civil litigation. In that way the book is very unique.
I notice your protagonist is called Jack; has any part of yourself crept into his portrayal?
There’s a bit of me in several of the characters. I admit there has been a time in life that I have been in a bit of a mess like Jack not entirely through my own fault. So I know what he would feel like. Does he deserve to go through what he has to if he is innocent of murder? And if he is guilty should he get away with it? (This is a big “if” you have to find out in the book.) However, I think there is more of me in Jeremy. Maybe Jeremy is more what I should like to be. He lives the life I want and I live it through him.
I'm intrigued by Jack, since I created something of an anti-hero for one of my own novels. From reading your blurb, it seems Jack has it all - yet clearly 'all' is not enough, so it sounds as if he deserves what happens to him. Does he have any redeeming features?
I too, am fascinated by anti-heroes. Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr Ripley is my favourite suspense series. For The Reckless Engineer title I took the word “Reckless” from “reckless abandon” with which Jack acts. Jack does it because he thinks he can get away with it. He is of a somewhat smaller made build and is a bit of a geek, even though he is brilliant and very confident at his work. His psychology is that he tries to overcompensate for it by going after glamorous and vivacious women.
Redeeming qualities? He is a bloody brilliant engineer and he was a great friend to Jeremy at his time of need. I think the two friendships that Jeremy has with Jack and Harry respectively are very interesting. They are very different, but very close and touching in their own ways.
However the hero in the books is not Jack; it is Jeremy, my series lead.
Do you think you'll always write in the same genre and style or do you have desires to experiment and if so, in what way?
Well, I write poetry which is based in love and romance with no hint of suspense.
My other series, Summerset Tales, leans more towards literary fiction, but there is a touch of suspense in that series too similar to Roald Dahl’s work. The nest 3 books I have started work on are all mystery, suspense, and thriller books. I do have fourth planned that is pure literary fiction similar to Leonard Woolf’s Village in the Jungle.
Thanks Jac, that's great. Now let's take a closer look at The Reckless Engineer.
The Reckless Engineer Blurb
Can you forgive betrayal?
The aftershocks of an affair reverberate out to those in the lives of the lovers, who will NOT take it lying down.
Jack Connor lives an idyllic life by the Portsmouth seaside married to Caitlin McAllen, a stunning billionaire heiress, and working at his two jobs as the Head of Radar Engineering of Marine Electronics and as the Director of Engineering of McAllen BlackGold, his powerful father-in-law's extreme engineering company in oil & gas. He loves his two sons from his first marriage and is amicably divorced from his beautiful first wife, Marianne Connor. Their delicately balanced lives are shattered when the alluring Michelle Williams, with whom Jack is having a secret affair, is found dead and Jack is arrested on suspicion for the murder.
Jeremy Stone brings in a top London defence attorney, Harry Stavers, to handle his best friend's defence.
Who is the bald man with the tattoo of a skull seen entering the victim's house? Who is the "KC" that Caitlin makes secret calls to from a disposable mobile? Has the powerful Douglas McAllen already killed his daughter's first partner, and is he capable of killing again? Is Caitlin's brother's power struggle with Jack for the control of McAllen Industries so intense that he is prepared to kill and frame him? Is the divorce from his first wife as amicable on her part as they believe it to be? Are his sons prepared to kill for their vast inheritance? Who are the ghosts from Caitlin's past haunting the marriage? What is the involvement of Jack's manager at Marine Electronics?
While Jack is charged and his murder trial proceeds in the Crown Court under barrister Harry Stavers' expert care, Jeremy runs a race against time to find the real killer and save his friend's life, if he is in fact innocent, in a tense tale of love, friendship, power, and ambition.
Jac Wright is a poet published in literary magazines, a published author, and an electronics engineer educated at Stanford, University College London, and Cambridge who lives and works in England. Jac studied English literature from the early age of three, developing an intense love for poetry, drama, and writing in Trinity College Speech & Drama classes taken afternoons and Saturdays for fourteen years, and in subsequent creative writing classes taken during the university years. A published poet, Jac's first passion was for literary fiction and poetry writing as well as for the dramatic arts. You will find these influences in the poetic imagery and prose, the dramatic scene setting, and the deep character creation.
These passions - for poetry, drama, literary fiction, and electronic engineering - have all been lovingly combined to create the first book in the literary suspense series, The Reckless Engineer. There are millions of professionals in high tech corporate environments who work in thousands of cities in the US, the UK, and the world such as engineers, technicians, technical managers, investment bankers, and corporate lawyers. High drama, power struggles, and human interest stories play out in the arena every day. Yet there are hardly any books that tell their stories; there are not many books that they can identify with. Jac feels compelled to tell their stories in The Reckless Engineer series.
Jac also writes the literary short fiction series, Summerset Tales, in which he explores characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances in the semi-fictional region of contemporary England called Summerset, partly the region that Thomas Hardy called Wessex. Some of the tales have an added element of suspense similar to Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected. The collection is published as individual tales in the tradition of Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers and Thomas Hardy's Wessex Tales. The first tale, The Closet, accompanies the author's first full-length literary suspense title, The Reckless Engineer.
You can find out even more about Jac by clicking on any of the following links:
Jac's Amazon Author Page