Name Ian S Varty
Where are you from? Bishop Auckland, County Durham, UK
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I was born in the North East of England, before moving overseas with my parents, my father was a member of the British Army.
After leaving school at 16, I followed my father into the military. I spent my first three months at the Royal Engineers, Junior Apprentices College at Chepstow. In a short period of time I realised this was not the right career path. It was at this point I transferred to the Royal Armoured Corps, and was badged to the same Regiment as my father.
During my 22 years’ service, of what could be described as a ‘colourful career’, I spent most of it overseas. Like everything in life you never appreciate things until they are gone.
After leaving the Forces in March 2003, I began work in the Information Technology Industry. I served my first 2 years at a Secondary School in Durham, as an IT Technician.
I have always been one for striving to better myself, I think this was my military upbringing. With no opportunities for advancement, I left the Education system and moved into the Healthcare arena.
For the next 8 years I worked for a Foundation Trust within the NHS in the North East of England. For the first few years it was all exciting and new. It wasn’t long before I realised, due to funding of the NHS, things were beginning to become strained. Resources were short, and staff both medical and administrative, were under intense pressure.
With the death of my father in April 2010, I began to question why are we here? He had been a big influence on my life, and I wanted to recount the memories I had of him.
This led me into the world of publishing, as a vehicle to not only honour my father, but to try and show some of the hardships that faces the modern soldier. The bond of friendship and brotherhood that binds these modern day knights, cannot be underestimated. It was this very point that was my beginning to my journey into authorship.
The story of ‘From Denim to Khaki’ started as a one off book. I quickly found out that it would lend itself to a Trilogy. It is fiction, but based on facts that I have experienced, or indeed others who I have served with. It details the life of a young man, from joining the army straight from school at 16. It follows his career from the ‘Cold War’ of the 1980’s, up until the Afghanistan conflict.
I am married to Andrea and have two children Siobhan aged 23 and Liam 18.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I released my second book in the Trilogy “Fare Thee Well” in April this year
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began in January 2015, and wanted to tell a true account of the life of a soldier, from beginning to end.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After I published my first book “Denim to Khaki in December 2015
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The death of my father in April 2010. He was a big influence on my life and we both served together in the same Regiment.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Not really I just draw on personal experiences
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It highlights the changes that are made to a young person, from civilian life to a military one.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. The hardships that the modern day soldiers face, is only possible with the support of their friends and families.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I would say 95% of the book is realistic. It is based on personal experiences of myself and those I have served with.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Books published by Andy McNab and Chris Ryan made me want to tell a more realistic story of the normal everyday soldier. I had the privilege of serving under some highly motivational individuals. I think their mentoring rubbed off on me, and made me a better person.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I like a varied scope of authors, and don’t have a particular favourite at the moment. I did like Stephen King, James Herbert etc in my younger days.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Knowing that my father was looking down on me, wanting me to tell the story.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
No at the moment I don’t. I will reappraise this after my last book in the Trilogy is published.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t think so, I thought long and hard about what I was going to include, and am quite happy with it.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My father always was good at telling stories and think he passed on that gift to me.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Richard Hunter continues his career in the British Army, after having successfully completed his first ‘Operational Tour’ of Northern Ireland he is on a high. On his return, he is put through the rigors of a Junior Non Commissioned Officers Leadership Cadre. The lessons he learns and the friendships he makes only strengthens his feeling of comradeship. Who said that throwing yourself out of a perfectly serviceable aircraft, was an enjoyable experience! His time in Guided Weapons Troop, learning the mystic arts of directing a 27 kg missile, costing around £7500 onto its target, was something that would last in his memory forever. This would be a brief interlude into his becoming a fully rounded Armoured Soldier, as after a short time he would move to Reconnaissance Troop. Here he would be a member of an elite group of individuals, who were the ‘eyes and ears’ of the Regiment. His rather foolish decision to volunteer for a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (“Lurps”), enhanced his skills. It would teach him the very real dangers of being captured behind enemy lines. On gaining promotion he would leave Recce and continue his journey in a “Sabre Squadron” Commanding a 60 tonne Chieftain, this was the pinnacle of every tank soldier, and one that Richard had worked hard to attain. The prairies of the British Army Training Unit (BATUS) Canada, were to be his proving ground. He would have to endure extreme weather, from searing hot heat in the summer, to unbelievable cold in the winter. Having contracted frostbite on a particular cold one, his left foot would remind him of the experience for the rest of his life. As the saying goes “all good things must come to an end”, and with the restructuring of the British Army, some Armoured Regiments were joined together. On hearing who they would be amalgamating with, Richard called to mind their motto. It was “Fare Thee Well”, a very apt one for their situation. So he said goodbye to his former Regiment, and continued his journey, and who knew where that would lead?
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Trying to keep original names of characters separate from the real people.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I have travelled all over the world but prior to writing the book. These travels gave me inspiration for a lot of the stories included in them.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Trying to hide the characters from those people who may have known them.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Yes that it requires a serious amount of dedication.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead.
Daniel Day Lewis
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Follow your dreams
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
If you have ever thought about writing a book, plan what you want to say, and see it through.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
“American Sniper” by Chris Kyle
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Having fun with friends, and the poverty and strife in the world makes me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Stephen Fry, I think he is the most intelligent interesting man alive.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
“Let me die in my footsteps” it was a song by Bob Dylan and I hope I have lived up to the words
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Cycling and keeping fit, and socializing with friends
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Crime thrillers and history and nature programs
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music.
I love eating fish, every kind imaginable, and Indian and Chinese.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? https://dragoon799.wordpress.com/