Richard Joyce has long been interested in the British Military. What started as a hobby, collecting signed military books, inspired him to fully research and write his first book set in Afghanistan when an anti-terror operation goes wrong. Now, Richard has self-published a sequel, Operation Last Assault, and is now busy trying to find a publisher for Operation Poppy Pride.
He has supported military charities for a number of years, and wrote these two books to raise funds for Shoeboxes for Our Heroes, Ex Forces Families with PTSD, Help for Heroes, The PWRR Benevolent (Through @AEWOH2047), Help a Squaddie, Maria Hanson Foundation, Newquay RNLI, Mayor of Staines Charity Ball, Help Izzy Walk, Libraries, fund raising events, and many who are less financially fortunate.
He lives in the UK with his wife and children. “Love the beach and beer!” He is already writing further books.
What made you decide to start writing?
This was an accumulation of several things combined: listening and reading true accounts of war, the pride I have in the British Military, previously raising money for military charities, and always believing that there was something else I should be doing.
What was the first book that inspired you?
Many years ago, I purchased The Soldiers’ Story by Jack Ramsay, the first book I had bought since leaving school. I couldn’t put it down. Later, I followed the Gulf War on TV, and in 1993, I picked up a brilliant book called Bravo Two Zero by Andy McNab. Again, I was hooked. Work, marriage, husband job-list, etc. then limited my reading. However, in 2002, whilst on baby-feeding duty, I started to read Touching the Void by Joe Simpson. What an amazing story! And, looking at the opening pages, I discovered that it had been signed by the author.
This was the point at which I began to wear an anorak. I searched online for an author-signed copy of Bravo Two Zero, and found one. I put it on the shelf with the other signed book, but the collection looked sad. So I searched for a signed copy of The Soldiers’ Story, and bought that. And so it continued. After nagging a few publishers and authors, such as Patrick Bishop, and Damien Lewis, the books came flooding in. Then I had to find books by all these authors which I had missed. My hobby was becoming expensive.
Today, I have approximately 140 signed books, and am always on the lookout for more.
When did you start to write Operation Blue Halo?
April 2013. After finishing Zero Six Bravo by my favourite author, Damien Lewis, the very next morning I decided to write a book to raise funds for a military charity. I sat on the beach in Newquay and started writing notes; Johnny Vince was born.
Have you ever been to Afghanistan?
No, nor any war zone. I’m not in the military and never have been; maybe a missed vocation, having turned down the option as a teenager.
Which charity is this and why did you choose it?
I have previously raised money for Help the Heroes, and others, but this time, after a messy start with a different charity, I have decided on Shoe Boxes for Our Heroes as a main, but give to many. Operation Poppy Pride will be for a new charity.
How did you research the military background?
I won’t pretend I know a lot about the military. However, being a bit of a perfectionist, I wanted the details to be as accurate as possible, and since publication, I have made a few mistakes, but its a learning curve. I know there will be some critics who pick holes in parts of the book, but I have had to balance fact and fiction. I have spent silly amounts of time on particular details: vehicle and weapon capacities, travel distance times, places, buildings, weather, etc.
Who is the main character?
The main character is Johnny Vince, a Newquay lad whose ambition from an early age is to join the Special Forces. He hates bullies, and doesn’t suffer fools at all, never mind gladly, but at the same time he cares for friends and family, and is well respected within the troop. He enjoys banter, but can be obnoxious. He questions his own ideas, but can act on instinct, sometimes with lethal results. The complex nature of his personality is reflected throughout the book.
So, what’s in the pipeline?
I love to write! I’ve always wanted to write novels and now I’m doing it! The brilliant reviews are humbling. I have now published a sequel, Operation Last Assault, which is available in hardback and eBook from all Amazon sites, and Smashwords.
The third in the series will be called ‘Operation Poppy Pride.’ This story has a twist to it, involving difficult challenges for me as an author. If I get it right, then it’s going to be a good one. I’m not sure how many more novels there will be. With my mind buzzing all the time, I have a few ideas, though! The best way to find out what is to come is to follow me on Twitter, Facebook , and LinkedIn