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Interview: John Milton Langdon, Author of Against All Odds

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A Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, John Milton Langdon, obtained a Master’s Degree in Maritime Civil Engineering.  Mr. Langdon became a professional writer after retiring from a fulfilling, active and rewarding engineering career.

Mr. Langdon’s career has enabled him to work a wide range of areas, including Britain, from 1972 until 2008.   In addition, he further dealt with project development in Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Nigeria.

John Milton Langdon resides in the Austrian town of Klagenfurt, an area rich in history dating back to medival times.  He has a vast array of interests, including travel, the British canals, music and literature.  Hiking in the mountains surrounding his home, however, is his favored and preferred leisure activity.

Readers can learn more about John Milton Langdon and his latest book, Against All Odds by visiting his website.

Please tell us a bit about your book and what you hope readers take away from reading it.

Based loosely on fact, author John Milton Langdon describes the early years of a young man born into humble circumstances during the reign of Queen Victoria. He shows how a combination of intelligence and perseverance, aided by a little good fortune, can help any child overcome the disadvantages of lowly birth status in an era when status is all important. In against all odds, the first volume of a four part series, read how Jason Smiley Stewart is transformed from callow village youth into a ship’s officer.

I hope my readers will gain an insight into the difficult and dangerous lives lead by our great, great grandparents, and the problems they overcame at the beginning of the age of electronic communication.

Who are your favorite characters in the story?

The most important fictional character in the book is Jason Smiley Stewart – without him there would be no story. Captain James Stewart is also important, but so is Mary Thomas; the first love of Jason’s life.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your book?

No. For me each line is a part of the whole; it as important as the lines preceding and succeeding it.

If your current release were to be turned into a movie, who would you love to see play what characters and why?

Based on the other films in which he has starred, a good choice for Jason Smiley Stewart would be Orlando Bloom. For the part of Captain Stewart, Ioan Gruffudd (who played Captain Hornblower in the books written by CS Forester) or Russell Crowe (who played Captain Jack Aubrey in the books written by Patrick O’Brien), would be ideal. The part of Mary Thomas could be played by Kirstan Dunst or Scarlett Johannson as they are both versatile actresses.

What are your favorite aspects of writing?

Waking up at between four and five in the morning with the next lines of the story fresh in my mind, and getting the computer running before the lines have been forgotten. Then having an early morning cup of tea as I start the day’s writing.

Your least favorite aspects of writing?

Having to deal with day to day domestic problems like cooking, cleaning, shopping and laundry, when my imagination is working at full speed and the computer is looking lonely.

Who are some of your favorite authors/books?

CS Forester: All the ‘Hornblower’ books.

Patrick O’Brien: All the ‘Jack Aubrey’ books.
J K Rawling: All the ‘Harry Potter’ books.
Diana Gaboldon: Cross Stitch, etc.
Donna Leon: The stories about Venice and Brunetti.
Nevil Shute: No Highway, A Town Like Alice, etc.
Jean M. Auel: The Clan of the Cave Bear, etc.

What are you reading right now?

Nothing. I am too busy writing another book, a script for a radio play, learning German and wood carving amongst other activities.

If you could have a dinner party and invite five authors — dead or alive — who would they be and what would you serve them?

CS Forester, Patrick O’Brien, Nevil Shute, Donna Leon and JK Rowling.

Sherry would be offered as an aperitif.

As a starter Pan Haggerty, which is an old recipe from north east England.
The main course would be a crockpot recipe, Fruity Pork Chops, served with salad, crisp bread rolls and a selection of red and white wines from Italy and Austria. (I live in Austria close to the border with Italy.)

For dessert I would provide Baked Apples with vanilla ice cream.

Port would be offered as a digestive.

What is a book that you wish you could say that you had written and why?

So many books come to mind it is difficult to choose one, but No Highway by Nevil Shute is my ultimate choice. I read it as a young man when I was passionate about all things aeronautical, very interested in engineering and it has a delightful love story. It has remained in my mind for a lifetime.

What is the greatest piece of advice (for writing and/or just living) that you have heard?

For living: behave towards others as you would wish them to behave towards yourself. Live to the standards of honesty and integrity that your parents instilled in you as you grew up.

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About April Pohren

  • http://www.KeshawnDurant.com Keshawn Durant

    This is great, April. Thanks for sharing!