John F. Hanley

  • The Last Boat - launched!

    The ebook version is now available through Amazon, Troubador and other outlets.

    See The Last Boat's order page for more details. It's already attracted a FIVE STAR review from a reader and author who loved Against The Tide.

    The paperback version should be available soon.

    I spent a day at TJ International in Padstow, Cornwall on Wednesday 17th July being utterly amazed at the scale of the production process. The investment in machinery and skilled staff is immense and many of the UKs top selling books are produced here. The Last Boat should be rolling off their presses in time for its official publication date on 1st August.

    Each of those piles in the photographs is a paperback book waiting to be married to its cover. The books are produced from plates which contain up to 64 pages on a single sheet!

    The process is highly automated and very noisy and the pages whiz through at bewildering speed.

    I'm standing next to a pile which could be the pages for The Last Boat though that is still in the production queue though a sample of the cover was printed while I waited by printer John who is holding it up with my wife, Liz.



  • Nearly there

    The Last Boat is on the final stage of its journey from keyboard to printing press. Coincidently, I am taking part in a publishing day at TJ International printers on the 17th July when it is possible that it might be rolling off their presses! I'll be sure to take some pictures.

    My publisher arranges the printing and I hadn't realised until a reviewer pointed it out that Against The Tide was produced in Cornwall. Who'd have thought that one of the largest printers in the UK operates from beautiful Padstow!

    The images from The Last Boat's cover are on the opening page of this website and, if I've clicked on the correct buttons, they might appear here as well. You might very well spot the transition from two female divers to two German dive bombers who aren't really interested in the judges scores!

    Signed copies will be available from me via the Order page of this website and I'll be announcing a special promotion deal once I have some copies in hand. I'm still hoping for the middle of July though the official publication date is 1st August.

    Those of you who might have stopped by on this page will realise that I'm a rubbish blogger but I will try to write some more about the production and marketing process from my experience in launching and promoting Against The Tide in the coming weeks.



  • Adjudicating Jersey's Spring Literary Festival

    Yes, I was surprised to be asked but now I'm a published author and not just an aspiring writer, I suppose the odds had swung in my favour. That and thirty-eight years of teaching English and Drama probably gave me some credibility. However, it is a great honour to be part of such a prestigious event which has been at the centre of island life since 1908.

    Full details can be found at:

    Most of my work is already complete as I have assessed all the written entries and made my recommendations for awards in each of the seven categories.

    The major award in the literary section is the Jack Higgins trophy which is donated by the world renowned author Harry Patterson who has been an island resident for many years.

    So I am looking forward to meeting the competitors at the exhibition to be held at RJA&HS Exhibition Hall in Trinity on Wednesday 13th March.

    I'm not a very good blogger though as, despite my new year's resolution, this is my first effort in nearly a month. Well, I have been busy preparing my second novel, The Last Boat, for publication this summer.

    It is now in production with my publishers, Troubador and I'm planning a launch in Jersey on 28th June to coincide with the 73rd anniversary of the German bombing and occupation of the island in 1940.

    Though the novel is not primarily about this event, it does feature in the climax of a story which starts eleven days earlier with the greatest marine disaster in British history when the Luftwaffe bomb and sink the converted troopship HMT Lancastria off St Nazaire. No one knows exactly how many lives were lost in those few minutes and estimates vary between 3,500 and 6,500 but it was such a shock that Winston Churchill suppressed the news and the report into the tragedy was sealed for 100 years!

    As we progress towards publication I'll try to post a few details about the process on these pages.



  • I wish I could hear that!

    I'd welcome some feedback on my latest crazy idea!


    To support purchasers before, during and after their reading of Against The Tide, I've included considerable Background Detail on this website.

    As this is a period piece, almost every aspect of the novel is covered from locations to materials used.

    Now, as an experiment, I've introduced the music which plays a key role in several scenes.

    As soon as the page is selected the piece will play though there are buttons to pause and stop it. The text relating to the episode is also displayed.

    At present my Home Page opens with a 1938 recording of 'Stardust' which, though not played in the novel, is the piece Jack and Rachel dance to in their heads after they sneak into the swimming club.

    If you have the time to spare I'd love you to click on the music links on the Background Detail page and and let me know what you think.

    If you've already read the book I'd love to know how you feel about those scenes once you've heard the music.


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  • The Importance of Research

    Never underestimate this!

    I write about the pre-war period and am fairly confident that there are few readers left who can remember much about that time.

    However, I received an email yesterday from someone who must be in their late 80s who had just read Against The Tide and recalled witnessing one of the episodes I describe.

    Fortunately, I got it right! So all those hours and hours of time spent in archives and libraries paid off for one reader at least.

    I've just finished John Grisham's latest novel, The Racketeer. In his author's note he claims that he has become lazy and didn't undertake any research for this tale - just made it up as he went along! It's intricately plotted and moves at a pace but does lack the depth of previous books.

    So after fame and fortune, let's aim for some smug complacency!

    I had hoped to post about music in my writing but am still working with my website designer to get some examples on this site under Background Detail. Once these are up and running I'll explain a bit more.




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