I spoke to Barrie Hyde about his writing process, and his debut novel A Higher Authority.
A Higher Authority was published by Safkhet Publishing in May, on the day Hyde turned 60. The novel is about a young Oxford graduate with a gift for languages, who joins MI5 and is soon seconded to ‘The Organisation’. The hero is given the name Jonathan, and is trained at an old British Army Camp in Kenya, where he falls in love with his colleague Zan. Catapulted into the world of industrial espionage the two find out from the inside how a company has been able to grow at lightning speed.
Hailed as entertaining, excellent and exciting, A Higher Authorityis a first-class debut.
After having the pleasure of meeting Hyde at WorldCon, I spoke to him recently about his writing process. Hyde became an author after spending 33 years in the commercial world:
Realising that if writing was to become a second career I decided to learn about the craft and joined my local writers group. They have been inspirational in turning whatever talent I have into some semblance of order!
His main piece of advice for aspiring writers is to join a writing club.
They will help you improve your skills. You’ll also learn from kindred souls who care about the subject. Writing can be a lonely business and meeting people with a similar interest can only help to motivate you.
The idea for the novel came about because he wanted to get away from books like 50 Shades of Grey and the Harry Potter series.
I looked at the genres I have always enjoyed, which went back to the likes of Nevil Shute, Alistair Maclean, Len Deighton etc. They inspired me to write an espionage story, but most importantly it had to be in the present day and not a throw-back to the Sixties.
Staying positive is, according to Hyde, incredibly important.
You’ve got to have a fair amount of tenacity to be a writer. I approached sixty nine literary agents and publishers before Safkhet took me on. I always believed in my book, having got great feedback from writers I respected at the Writers Circle. My advice is that if others are positive about your work don’t give up. The last refusal is one closer to the person who says yes!
Promotion is, as many authors know, one of the hardest parts of writing a book. The work begins once you write the words “The End”. Hyde has appeared on 15 or so radio shows, had a dozen newspaper articles written about him, and has appeared at conventions and done multiple book signings. He is also a big social media promoter.
A book is like any other product, it has to be sold and more importantly the customer has to enjoy the sales experience. There is no hidden secret to selling a book, it’s hard graft and you have to keep chipping away.
Between working hard on the sequel and promoting his book, he still finds time to read.
I’m currently reading a book written called Justice 4.1. It’s a Sci Fi novel written by a friend of mine, Jim Webster.
Hyde is currently 30,000 words into the sequel, which is great news for fans.