Writing World: Herbert F. Hopkins

Writing World: Herbert F. Hopkins

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Former teacher turned acclaimed writer, Herbert F. Hopkins finishes his St. John’s trilogy

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Newfoundland and Labrador born author, Herbert F. Hopkins, will be celebrating the release of his third novel New Found Land on February the 4th. The launch party will take place at iconic The Ship Pub, located in downtown St. John’s, where Hopkins will do a short reading followed by a book signing.

New Found Land is a book following Luke Delaney, whom is the main character throughout Hopkins’ trilogy. Following a car accident in 2005, Luke Delaney develops an addiction to prescription narcotics and after a decade is looking for a way out. The story follows Delaney, as well as two other major characters, through his journey of finding knowledge and power.

From Teacher to Writer

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The Newfoundland Herald had the incredible opportunity to speak with Hopkins about his life, his experience, and his book.

“I was an industrial arts teacher in science in the public school system for 30 years and I retired from that. I had no background in the literary arts at all, always interested in it, and did a lot of reading, but never imagined for one second that I would possibly be a writer at some point in time,” Hopkins explained.

“After this book of poetry that took me a year to do, I just sat down one day and frankly said to myself I think I’ll write a novel. Not having the first clue on how to even approach it, I bought this book at chapters, How To Write Your Novel, and I remember clearly it said ‘write the last page first’. That was enough of that, so I just closed that up,” he finished with a laugh.  

From beginning to end, writing a novel is a lengthy and time consuming process. It takes an incredible amount of dedication and commitment, not to mention an understanding of the entire process being beneficial.

“I remember getting to page 17 and thinking just how difficult this was,” Hopkins confessed.

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“Not knowing at the time the whole process of the editorial end of things, the publishing end of things. It was brutal, but I loved every minute of it. I call it hard joy. There’s a lot of joy that comes with it, but there’s a heck of a lot of hard work, any writer would tell you that.”

The moment you pick up New Found Land, you can’t help but appreciate the phenomenal cover art. They tell you not to judge a book by it’s cover, but we all know we do it. This is one book that is sure to grab your attention, and keep you intrigued, directly from the front cover.

“My good friend, Boyd Chubbs, has always done the artwork, he actually did illustrations for my first novel, as well as the cover piece. He’s done all three covers,” Hopkins shared.

Elements of Reality 

“This particular cover just takes your breath away. It has great depth as well, in terms of a metaphorical kind of depth. An iceberg was representative to me in so many ways. Not only because these are Newfoundland stories, and of course the iceberg is iconic in that sense, but more to the point that the iceberg represents a fraction above and a fraction below. What that means to me specifically is that what we know is very little compared to the knowledge that we can know, and the knowledge that unfolds as we live from day to day.

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“That’s what this story is about essentially. It’s a story about belief and how much we think we know about belief. The strength of belief, and how it can actually have healing powers.”

Hopkins’ characters throughout his books are all fictional. However, as a writer, you take little pieces from people you meet and observe, and form them together to create one character. Another very important aspect to writing a book is to study. You must study and have knowledge of human behaviour, human relationships, and every little detail in between.

“When I was down to the courts, and I was studying the legal system, I would be looking and watching lawyers very closely and giving some of my characters the characteristics of the real life lawyers that I would see and I would talk to. So, there’s elements of reality in the characters for sure.”

Rumour has it there’s been some production interest in Hopkins’ books. There’s no doubt that New Found Land, and the previous two parts of the trilogy, have high film value.

With a strong leading protagonist and an array of issues being tackled throughout the entire trilogy, it would sure keep the audience hooked from beginning to end. “My stories are all St. John’s based stories. And one thing I know is that Newfoundlanders love Newfoundland stuff. This story is an international issue. I mean, this idea of addiction is a profound issue, and one that stretches across continents. I wanted to cross that over with the idea of belief, and that’s where this story came from.”

For more information on author Herbert F. Hopkins and the launch, visit his website at www.wordsandwood.ca 

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