I began my working life by joining the British Army at the tender age of 16 and qualifying as an
avionics engineer. The forces exposed me to many things, including sport and travel, two things that
stayed with me throughout life.
Leaving the army at 30, I joined a German manufacturing company, moving through technical
management to sales, and spending more time than ever on travel, something I didn’t complain
I’ve always loved the written word and tried my hand at it in various ways over the years before
eventually completing my first book in 2013. Gone on to complete another 7, with the next one now
in the edit phase. My books tend towards what I would call ‘action-fiction’ and I try to weave my
military and travel experiences into them.
I can be found under my own name on Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads and Amazon books.
My writing journey:
As an engineer in the military, I was lucky enough to be attached to several different units, where most people in the army would join a unit and move around with it. It gave me a chance to work with fellow engineers, both electronic like myself and mechanical. It also saw me attached to both the Royal Marines and Parachute Regiment, with even a short spell supporting the SAS flight in Hereford while they updated their helicopters.
Though it might sound odd, the career highlight for me was being a part of the Falklands War in 1982. It was a chance to test all your training, in my case making helicopters fly even if you didn’t have the right parts to fix them. It was also a time to learn about yourself. We lived in the field for around 6 weeks, we had no tents, no huts, just a poncho that you somehow converted into a shelter. It was winter down there. An enduring memory was trying to stay clean. Each day I would wash my socks in a stream, then tie them around my waist to try and dry them overnight. I always failed, the result being wet and cold feet for the whole time. When I eventually boarded the Elk – a cargo ship that we took the helicopters back home on – I showered at least 3 times a day, partly to get clean, partly to enjoy being warm again. I still love a good shower!
One day, I was almost taken out by a stray missile, the projectile landing about 5 metres from where I came around a hedge. Shaken, I was informed that it was one of our Rapier missiles, fired by the RAF battery close by. I don’t think they liked us too much!
The hardest thing writing about the army is not slipping into excessive jargon. Soldiers have a strange communication system, and an even stranger sense of humour. If you wrote a book totally as a soldier, the only people who would understand it would be other soldiers, and possibly only ones from ‘your army’. Sort of narrows down the audience a little!
I began writing while still working for the German manufacturer, and it was mainly for fun, plus to
fill time on endless flights and airport stopovers. A couple of years ago I decided to give up the day
job, and try and take publishing seriously, though to date I have only managed this as an Indie
I tend to complete the first draft of a novel in about 3 months, this for around 60-80k words. In the
past, I have rushed through the edit/book cover/etc, but this time intend taking 6-8 weeks over it. I
found KDP a good tool to publish with, though I did have a bit of a learning curve to find the best
way to use it.
Recently I have spent a good amount of time on marketing and advertising courses, and slowly –
perhaps very slowly! – I am starting to see small results here. I think most authors would agree that
they enjoy the writing bit of the job, and the rest is more or less pain! The thing I have realized
since retiring is that ‘the rest’ or ‘the pain’ is at least as important as the story. If you don’t get the
story out there, then it is probably not worth writing.
Anything else I feel like sharing:
Reviews: no matter what you do, how many people you ask, or what you attempt to persuade them,
reviews are hard to come by. People just don’t like writing them, whether they love your book or
South Africa – Our Land!/Arab Winter/Syrian Shadow/Beat the Clock/Slasher/No Gods/Vigilante/
Author Page: amazon.com/author/gordonclark