Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Lynette Latzko is talking with Dan Hendrickson, author of The Commander: Last Enemy Series Prequel.
FQ: Why did you decide to get into writing fiction?
HENDRICKSON: I love good stories that have meaningful endings. Fiction is a way to communicate a plethora of different things and make it entertaining. I love stories that teach us something about ourselves and the world we live in. Making that fun and entertaining is one of the main reasons I like to write fiction.
FQ: Your bio says you’ve done quite a bit of Christian ministry work in your life, which I assume involves a lot of meeting and speaking to people. In general, do you find it easier or more enjoyable to talk with people or to write, when expressing yourself.
HENDRICKSON: Speaking to an audience seems easier to me then writing. But the effort I put into writing a story makes me dig a lot deeper and the end results has its own level of satisfaction to it. I really cannot choose between the two because I enjoy both. The one plus side in writing though is that once it’s done and in book form you have it permanently.
FQ: What type of research do you do when writing?
HENDRICKSON: It varies from book to book. I heavily use the internet, talk to people, and sometimes buy books on the subject. I buy them because when I do research I want to highlight and mark them up, so obviously I cannot return something like that to the library. I do like to find people who have expertise in areas that are portrayed in my books. For instance my son Lieutenant Carl Hendrickson knowledge and experience in the Coast Guard was a fantastic resource for The Commander.
FQ: You’ve written a few novels in The Last Enemy series. What was the motivation behind your decision to write The Commander as a prequel?
HENDRICKSON: There are so many unique individuals that I brought up in the original three books that I felt that I needed to give more of the back story on some of them. When I began the series, it was originally going to be two books, The Good Fight, and The Last Enemy. Those were written one after the other. But as I finished them, I quickly saw that Marnia Gonzalez’s character deserved a lot more attention then I could give her in those books so that is how The Cartel Crusher emerged. I decided to include her story in the original series because the timeline fit perfectly. But as I thought more about it, I saw that Jim and Jacob Edwards characters also needed more, and that’s when their back stories became prequels. I do have one more book coming out in about a year that will deal with Captain Tommy Williams aka The Living Legend. In it I will reveal how he earned that title and why he does not like it when people use it.
FQ: Do you view your writing as a spiritual practice?
HENDRICKSON: I believe God is so wonderful that He is willing to help and inspire me in my writing. I love writing and it is a very satisfying thing for me to do, but I don’t propound that it some kind of spiritual mission. I do try to add certain morally biblical principles to the stories that I hope will inspire and help people but being preachy is not my goal at all.
FQ: Was most of this story in your mind before writing the other books in the series, or did the story evolve from writing those books?
HENDRICKSON: It definitely evolved as I wrote.
FQ: Your son, Lieutenant Carl Hendrickson, is mentioned in the dedication of this book, and you write that you see him as the main character, Jacob Edwards. Are any of your other characters based on real people?
HENDRICKSON: Some of my characters in The Last Enemy series are loosely based on members of my immediate family. Danielle is based on my younger Daughter Donna, and Marnia is based on my older daughter Rebeccah.
FQ: I read that some famous authors have writing rituals like author Dan Brown, who supposedly hangs upside down using anti-gravity boots to help him relax. Do you have any specific rituals when you are writing?
HENDRICKSON: I like to pick music for each book that feels like the story I am writing and listen to it often throughout the writing of it.
FQ: I like the atmospheric look on the cover of your book with the sea mist in the foreground, and what looks like a Coast Guard helicopter zooming in for a rescue. How do you decide what will be on the cover, and is this an actual photo of an oil rig?
HENDRICKSON: That I get professional help with. My book cover designer is excellent. I used to hire a artist to paint a picture of something that I thought would represent the story. That had mixed results. Since getting professional help my books have got a lot more favorable response to the covers.
FQ: Can readers look forward to more books in The Last Enemy series, or is your writing future filled with other stories?
HENDRICKSON: Yes, I do have a few more in the works. But I am also expanding out into different directions.