Ian Hickman, the author of The Third Eye, shares some info on what it's like being a new author!
Did you always dream of becoming an author?
Not really. I probably started making up stories for my kids, and then some short stories for my own amusement.
I did enter a short story competition run by ABC Radio. I was invited to read this “On Air”. It had to be a true story, with less than 500 words.
What was your first job?
At sixteen I left school and commenced work with an insurance company. I was an office boy, filling out forms and going on errands. My daily commute to London did give me time to dream, usually of something more adventurous, like surfing or living on a tropical island.
On weekends I would go to watch Chelsea, if they were playing at home, and on Sundays I would go fishing.
Four days after my 20th birthday I left England and my family for Australia, where I took up surfing and lived on a tropical island.
The surfing didn’t last very long because I headed inland, to the outback, with a mate. We worked as labourers on the Indian Pacific railway line, living in a tiny shack which lacked any type of plumbing or electricity.
The tropical island came a few years later, when I was employed by the Bureau of Meteorology. It was so small I could run around it in seven minutes.
I was based there for six months with only two other men and radio contact to transmit weather observations, for company. We saw nobody else for the whole period, apart from an RAAF plane which parachuted us mail and a few treats, at Christmas time.
Every day I would dive on the reef, though we were forbidden to do so. Sharks and poisonous fish being the reason, but not as it turned out, a good enough reason.
The reef was the most beautiful and awesome natural phenomena I have ever seen. And now it’s endangered.
Towards the end of the six months I was feeling somewhat lonely, and the sight of our ship on the horizon was very welcome.
How did you come about writing your book? Was that your intention or did you start writing for fun?
I had thought about writing a non fiction book, to pursue some of my own questions about the world, but this didn’t flow.
As soon as I began writing a story which was to explore nature versus nurture through identical triplets, it did flow, but never in the directions I thought it would.
This was fun, playful, even cheeky at times. As my characters gained substance I found myself becoming fond of them, and emotionally involved with their struggles.
I realise that almost unconsciously, I have made most of my characters good men and women. Problems have arisen because of misunderstandings or difficult life experiences, not because anyone was inherently bad.
In this world of fear and blaming, I wanted to look for the positive.
What was your life like before you became an author?
After 34 years working with the Bureau of Meteorology, which afforded me stability and an opportunity to travel to remote destinations such as Antarctica and the tiny coral island on the outer Great Barrier Reef, I retired at the age of 56.
The period prior to retirement revolved around being the primary bread winner for my first family, and building and renovating my houses, to improve the financial independence and stability of the family.
Following divorce I had to begin again, having parted company with most of my material assets in the process. So much for financial independence and stability, but this was my journey with my hands on the steering wheel.
I met my second wife five years later, and we had our first child six years after this.
Partly my reason for taking early retirement was in order to really be there for my two young kids. I was the primary carer for extended periods of their early lives, after my wife returned to work.
I was also a Hospice volunteer for ten years. This came out of gratitude for the intuition which had prompted me to return to England, and as it turned out, to spend the final couple of weeks, firstly with my mother, and later my father, who both died unexpectedly during my visits.
That’s another story though.
I had also become involved with personal growth from a spiritual perspective, meditation and workshops at ashrams etc.
I attended a Men’s Gathering 24 years ago, which changed my life. It opened my eyes to the importance of deeply connecting with other men in a very different way than I had previously. One aspect of this was to understand, respect and love my father in a way which had been closed before.
These annual gatherings, and smaller men’s groups have become a regular and invaluable part of my life.
My wife has also recently joined a Women’s Circle.
Did you face any struggles before becoming an author? If so, how did you overcome them?
My main struggle was to confront the prospect of revealing my inner perspective of who I am.
As an older man, born into the baby boom generation, I had embraced the idealism of the time, and our intent to change the world for the better.
There is a saying that boomers sometimes use: “If you remember the 60’s then you weren’t really there”.
Well I do remember the 60’s and I was there.
We were going to ban the bomb; make love, not war; protect the environment; end racism; create gender equality, and not be so attached to the material world.
Huh! Didn’t quite work out that way.
I have four kids, two daughters from my first marriage, a daughter and a son from my second.
I sincerely wish from my heart, that our 60’s aspirations will be realised asap.
Now that you are a published author, how has your life changed, if at all?
It’s too soon to answer this. My book has only been published for a few weeks.
I am working on a sequel, but if “The Third I” isn’t well received, it might be for my eyes only.
Can you please describe a typical day in your life now?
I usually awake about 5am, have a coffee, meditate and then watch the news, thus negating the calm I received from the meditation.
I wake my son to prepare for school, pack his lunch, and then drop him off to catch the school bus. Sometimes by the skin of our teeth.
I’ll then check the forecast on my laptop and reply to any emails.
Mondays and Thursdays I will head off to play golf. After this I will have a nap.
Tuesdays I’ll meet up with some of the guys from my men’s group, and we’ll go for a long walk, have a coffee and laugh or discuss important issues.
Every second week on Tuesday evening, is my other men’s group.
Wednesday is to spend with my wife, going to a movie or out to lunch.
Friday. No routine.
Weekend. Watch my youngest daughter play soccer. Have my second daughter and her husband for dinner.
What is your most memorable moment of your life as an author?
When some of my mates who had the first read of my finished book said how much they loved it, and that it really reflected who I am.
In a few words, how would you review your experience with Pegasus Publishers?
I have found that Pegasus have delivered on all that they offered.
They have been very helpful to this novice, (I mean novelist of course), and I was especially delighted with their interpretation of my idea for the cover.
They have above all else, been available and quick to respond.
Why did you choose Pegasus Publishers?
I tend to act on intuition, when my brain will get out of the way.
Whilst I was researching different publishers, Pegasus popped up, and immediately resonated with me.
I’m glad I chose them.
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