#017: Humphrey Hawksley – Going deep with research, translating journalism to novels, and the changing nature of traditional publishing.
Play • 58 min

Humphrey Hawksley is an author, commentator and broadcaster, who has reported on key trends, events and conflicts from all over the world.

His work as a BBC foreign correspondent has taken him to crises on every continent. He was expelled from Sri Lanka, opened the BBC’s television bureau in China, was arrested in Serbia and initiated a global campaign against enslaved children in the chocolate industry. A campaign which continues today.

Humphrey is the author of the acclaimed ‘Future History’ series  that explores world conflict.  He has published four international thrillerstogether with the non-fiction Democracy Kills: What’s so good about the Vote – a tie-in to his TV documentary on the pitfalls of the  modern-day path to democracy from dictatorship.

His work has appeared in the The Guardian, The Times, Financial Times, International Herald TribuneYale Global and other publications and now he appears as a guest on the Great Writers Share podcast.

In this episode we go deep into:

  • Memories from 30 years as a foreign correspondent
  • Humphrey’s journey from journalism to author life
  • The first encounter with an agent, and Humphrey’s first book deal
  • Making the decision to do whatever it took to get a book out
  • Establishing the story you want to tell
  • Humphrey’s ever-evolving method of researching for books
  • Knowing every element of your story before you tell it
  • Reader expectations and what you’re aiming to deliver
  • Where the ideas for Humphrey’s ‘Man on Ice’ came from
  • Humphrey’s experience of traditional publishing and its changes over the past several decades
  • How focus groups choose the primary books for trad pub, and how the marketing share is dealt
  • Content marketing for your books

Humphrey Hawkslet answers questions from Patrons:

  • Mark M: How much research did you have to do for the Future History series? And do you have any tips on how you would do it differently (with benefit of hindsight)?
  • Jon Cronshaw: What challenges did you find in writing fiction compared to reportage? What makes a good dragon?

Find out more about Humphrey:



Special thanks to:

Intro vocals: Persephone Rose

Show theme: Karl Hughes

Become a Patron of the show! Get exclusive bonus content, find your tribe, and get early access to all episodes.

Thank you to my patrons:

David Hines

Harley Christensen

Jon Cronshaw

Jenn Mitchell

Innes Richens

Ian J Middleton

PT Hylton

Michael Anderle

Jerry Evanoff

Mark McClure


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