Interview Orca Rising by Chris Hannon

Friday, March 30, 2018
Title: Orca Rising
Author Chris Hannon
Series: Orca Series Book 1
Genre: Young Adult, Suspense, Action, Fantasy
Publisher: Thistle Publishing
Release Date: Feb 18 2018
Orca Rising is the story of Ocean Daley, aclever, athletic
sixteen-year-old, living a hum drum life with his mum and
her annoying boyfriend, until he is recruited to a mysterious spy agency.This is a suspenseful, action-packed YA
novel,similar to the Alex Rider and Young Bond series.


16-year-old Ocean Daley needs to get away from school, his seaside town and wasting his summer working for his mother’s irritating boyfriend. When his mysterious Uncle Frank offers him a place at a summer school for a select group of gifted teens, he jumps at it.

But the school isn’t like any other, with classes in hacking, bike racing, psychological tricks and combat. Orca, the secretive organisation behind the school, needs fresh recruits…but for what? Ocean’s father co-founded Orca, and joining the organization feels like a way to honour his memory, as well as strengthen bonds with his strange uncle.

Orca demands each teenager push themselves beyond the possible and in return each student gets an impressive salary, international travel and exhilarating field missions — a double life. There is one catch. Joining Orca is a life-binding commitment to support their ‘noble' cause. For Ocean, it’s the challenge in life he’s been looking for.

Others might call it a trap.

Tell us a little about Orca Rising and where did you get the idea to write this story.
Orca Rising is the story of Ocean Daley, a clever, athletic sixteen-year-old, desperate to rise above small town life, his Mum and her annoying boyfriend. When Ocean is recruited to a mysterious spy agency known as Orca to support their secretive ‘noble cause’, it’s the escape he wished for…or so it seems. 
It’s a suspenseful YA novel and I guess fans of Alex Rider, Cherub and the Young Bond series would really enjoy it. Yes, it has action, hacking, suspense and all the good stuff you’d expect from the genre but at its heart there’s a boy trying to figure out who he is. So the idea was to connected that personal quest with place; I’d been living in Shoreham-by-Sea for a number of years and while it’s a fantastic town with a lot going for it, I think for a teenager it doesn’t often matter; wherever home is can feel limiting when you’re at an age when anything is possible - I know that’s how I felt as a teen! So for Ocean it’s by seeking this escape to something seemingly glamorous and better, learning about himself and that life is rarely so simple. 

How and when did you get started writing novels?
I’ve always been an avid reader but I don’t think I wanted to be a ‘writer’ until my early 20s. It started as a hobby, a few short stories just for fun. I look back on them now and laugh and cringe at how terrible they were! Then, it was time to get serious, write a book. After all what sort of writer doesn’t have a book? Next: imagine a montage of abject failure. A third of a novel here, half there, a new opening chapter for a different one over there. I could never finish. I’d get bored halfway or simply not know how to bring something home or just be convinced my writing was pants. To break my duck I attempted an ambitious dual point of view time-slip novel set in Argentina during the military dictatorship of the 70s and the modern day UK….you can imagine what happened. 
For me that failure was crucial. I decided to get tooled up, do a Masters in Creative Writing. It lifted the veil on the craft, gave me discipline and skills I didn’t have before. I wrote a rather flawed but coherent novel for my Masters, –Perry Scrimshaw’s Rite of Passage– but who cares I’d finally finished one!  Eager to move on, I self-published it, and looked to take my writing a step further and produce something truly entertaining; and that was Orca Rising. 

What’s the best and worst part of being a writer?
The best things;
When you think of a clever plot twist and then work backwards in your writing to embed the build-up, it’s like burying treasure. 
When you finish a first draft. It’s that chest-thumping feeling as you stand at the top of a mountain (even though most of the work is still ahead of you!).
The worst thing:
 How hard it is to make a living from it. Unless you’re one of the big bestselling guys it isn’t enough to live on. You do other work to supplement it– which can be great as it gives you wider experiences to write about but it steals away writing time. 

 What is your writing schedule like?
A complete mess. Our son Toby was born six-months ago, and babies don’t really do schedules. I’m the main carer, so saying: ‘No sweetie, it’s writing time now’ just doesn’t fly (I’ve tried). That said I’ve worked out with my amazing wife to get at least two sessions a week of pure, alone writing time, which will be my gold. 

Where do you get your ideas?
My passable ideas I usually get in the shower. There’s something about hot water numbing the body that lets the mind wander awhile. My best ideas always hit me at night, but I’m too groggy to note them down and by morning I’ve forgotten them. I’m sure I’ve lost a few bestsellers that way already, but what can you do?

Is there something about you or your life that readers might be surprised about?
We moved a couple of years ago to live in a country cortijo in Andalusia, Spain. Tending to a large veg garden, pruning olive trees in the sunshine, picking lemons, oranges, pomegranates, apples, plums, mangoes and a host of other things can be wonderfully distracting. Throw in Toby, three chickens, a dog and well, it’s happy times, though the writing bears the brunt of these dalliances. 

Do you write a novel straight through? Or revise as you go? Plan a whole series in advance? Or does the series evolve?
With my first novel Perry I wrote it over years, chopping, changing it, tinkering incessantly. It was a horrible experience and you spend a lot of time afterwards smoothing the patchwork effect you’ve inadvertently created. 
With Orca Rising, I wrote it in a burst: a complete draft in 2 months. The voice is more consistent, the flow better. It took a LOT of mental stamina, but I think it’s the way to go if time allows. When I got my agent after pitching Orca Rising, he asked me to sketch out books two and three, so there is a plan, but with plenty of headroom for the natural evolution that happens as the work develops. 

What’s next after the Orca Rising?
The second in the series, Orca: Double Agent is in the (early) works. 

Chris has a Masters in Creative Writing and lives between Shoreham-by-Sea,UK and Salobreña, Spain with his wife,their dog Scrappy-Doo, and some chickens.Orca Rising is his second novel.

Author Links
Amazon Author Page 
Twitter @CSJHannon
Book Links
Barnes and Noble 
Indie Bound 


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