A native of New York City, William Patrick Hackett took an unusual path to that of a novelist.
He attended St. Ann’s Academy high school before graduating from the City College of New York prior to a career in advertising as a copywriter, creative director, and CEO. Since then he’s published three books, The Satanic Gospel, A Dark Time, and his latest, LETHAL LOVE, a contemporary thriller from Solstice Publishing.
Certainly not the usual path most novelists take, but hey, if it works…
“I made the transition by working as a freelancer for income while I started writing novels and screenplays,” Hackett says. “I also became a cautious investor in equities.”
As for any formal training, he admits there really hasn’t been any.
“Initially, I did a lot of medical writing that gave me somewhat of a clinical style I’m still trying to shake loose. Other than being an English lit major at CCNY (City College of New York), I have just been involved in all kinds of communications—mostly non-literary,” he says.
He’s learned instead by reading and studying such masters as William Trevor, Saul Bellow, and Don DeLillo.
“Don DeLillo had an advertising background, by the way,” he says. “All three authors have very different voices and backgrounds, but all are masters of the metaphor. I read them over and over.”
Hackett explains that in his writing he strives to combine literary fiction with exciting plots that build and twist as they move menacingly forward to shocking climaxes.
LETHAL LOVE follows the story of television reporter Harry Vargas, who is caught up in the assassination of a Cuban ambassador. Harry is accused of knowing an assassination was planned and is charged with “depraved indifference.” Suspended from his job at the TV station, he sets out on his own to find out why the ambassador was killed and why he was selected to witness it.
His search takes him to Cuba, where he discovers a plot to kill Castro and the illicit affairs of the married ambassador. As if that isn’t enough to contend with, Harry falls for a beautiful and troubled Cuban woman, desperate to get out of Havana and dangerous to be with.
“Cuba evokes so many mixed emotions in the minds of Americans and it is a great source of intriguing plots,” Hackett says. “My next book is about a Cuban spy in the U.S.”
Writing about a foreign country like Cuba and its controversial history and politics may seem daunting for a relatively new novelist, but Hackett had a slight advantage going in.
“My father-in-law was Cuban and I’ve always followed Cuban history and politics, and there is always the internet for what you don’t know,” he says. “Most of all, I had a Cuban-American editor who recently traveled to Cuba on a writing assignment.”
As for Harry’s origins, Hackett drew upon several sources.
“Harry is patterned after a young man I knew as a boy named Harry Fernandez, as well as a composite of individual journalists I’ve known and received input from,” he says.
Hackett writes from an outline “in my head,” which he revises constantly as the story progresses. “Writing is really a discovery of the possible—though not necessarily the real.”
So, where does Hackett want his new career to take him?
“Putting together an exciting and coherent tale is plenty success for me. The success is in the process. I know it’s very selfish,” he says. “I hope others find my books entertaining and maybe a little enlightening, but it doesn’t matter that much to me.”
William Patrick Hackett was born in NYC and attended St. Ann’s Academy high school before graduating from the City College of New York. Before devoting full time to writing novels, Bill worked in advertising as a copywriter, creative director and CEO. He has previously written two other novels, The Satanic Gospel and A Dark Time, both published by Solstice Publishing. His third book, LETHAL LOVE, will be published shortly while a fourth is in the oven.
With his wife Barbara, Bill lives on the North Carolina shore.