My genre is thriller/crime/organized crime. But I don't want to be pigeon-holed as a certain type of writer. If I decide to do something in a different genre, I will. In fact, the novel I'm currently working on might be classified more as a drama.
My main series, Mercy Row, is about an Irish crime family from North Philadelphia. I chose this backdrop because I grew up in the Kensington section of Philly, an area that is infamous for spawning some well-known local gangsters. As a kid in the 1950s, I met some interesting characters in my father's pool room. No doubt some were part of Irish gangs. What appeals to me about this subject is that it allows me to talk about my hometown and provides a great platform for action. I love action-oriented books and movies.
What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
I have written many, many proposals and business-related materials over my 50-year career in marketing. I had always wanted to write fiction but just never found time between running my businesses and handling my other obligations. I know now that I should have found time, but that's the past, and I live in the present. At age 68, after I slowed down at work a bit, I forced myself to write Mercy Row. My challenge is that I often have to roll a writing idea around my brain for a fairly long time before I feel I am ready to commit it to the keyboard. I don't create elaborate outlines. Instead, I jot down general thoughts in a notebook.
When and where do you do your writing?
I have a home office and do all of my writing there. I tend to be a morning person, so a lot gets done between 6 am and 10 am. After that, I have to tend to clients and family, so it becomes harder for me to write. When I'm writing a novel or short story, I tend to think about it often and at any time. Sometimes I will play a scene in my head while waiting to go to sleep. If I remember it the next day, it may be worth putting in the novel. Another issue I have involves doing research. I start using the Internet to get facts and sometimes become engrossed in one historical story or another. This cuts into my writing time.
What have you learned about promoting your books?
This is such a good question. As I mentioned, I have been in marketing for 50 years. I have helped to sell many different products and services. I am well versed in traditional and new media, including social media, search advertising, and email marketing. I have helped my clients to make millions. So far, I cannot say I have figured out book marketing. I do social media, have a blog and website, do emails, do online book tours, do PR releases, and even do book launch parties. I am sure to have all of my books available in print, eBook, and Audio formats. I have done book giveaways for both digital and print. Maybe I have sold a thousand or more books and have given away another thousand.
What I have learned is that, if you are writing to make lots of money, you should write business copy, not fiction. If, however, you love the creative process, if you love telling stories, if you have something to say and want to tap into your reader’s emotions, and if you want to leave something on this earth after you leave it, then by all means be a fiction writer.
What are you most proud of as a writer?
One thing I'm proud of is that I finally kicked myself in my 68-year-old ass and finished a novel. Since then, I have finished two more and a short story. What I'm most proud of is that, I hope I have shown my children and granddaughter that it is never too late to follow a dream. Maybe my writing will someday influence my granddaughter (or other grandchildren I might have) to write a book, a screenplay, a song, or a play or do something that brings her joy. Every book I write, I put one in an envelope and seal it. I give it to Ava (my granddaughter) and tell her that she can only read them when she's 18. My books are not for children. She is only 11 now. Maybe I will be here when she opens those envelopes and maybe I won't. Either way, I will have left a legacy.
If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be, and what would you talk about?
Of course, I have many authors that I would love to meet, but I am going with Ian Fleming for this dinner. It was his books that really got me hooked on reading. You cannot be a writer if you don't read and read a lot. It's so important to read, hear, or see stories. I love movies, TV stories, books, and audio books. And that all started with James Bond.
I was 20 years old and stationed in Saigon South Vietnam. Up till then I had not done a lot of reading. Sure, I did what was required in school, but that was all. The neighborhood in which I grew up didn't place a lot of value on reading. I picked up a James Bond book and was quickly hooked. By the time I finished that second Vietnam tour, I had finished reading all of the James Bond series and even Fleming's other books on travel.
What I would love to talk to him about is the creative process. How did he generate those amazing stories? I can envision our first meeting. He walks up to me and says Fleming, Ian Fleming.
Hallman was born in 1944 and raised in the Kensington section of North Philadelphia. Hallman's father was Harry Hallman, Sr., a champion pool player who also owned a poolroom called Circle Billiards, located at Allegheny Avenue and Lee Street in Philadelphia. The younger Hallman spent many hours after school at his father's poolroom and watching his father play in other poolrooms in Philadelphia and New Jersey. The people he met, some belonging to the real K&A Gang, influenced his writing of the Mercy Row series.
After a year of being an apprentice plumber he served four years in the U.S. Air Force, including two tours in South Vietnam as a photographer. His first tour was at Ton Son Nhat Airbase where he processed film shot by U2 Aircraft over North Vietnam and China. He returned to the same place for his second tour, but processed film shot by U.S. fighter recon aircraft. He is married to Duoc Hallman, whom he met in Vietnam, and has two children, Bill and Nancy, and one grandchild, Ava.
Hallman is a serial entrepreneur who has created several marketing services and digital media companies and continues to work as a marketing consultant.
Email Hallman at email@example.com. Keep informed at www.mercyrow.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mercyrownovel.
On Amazon: http://amzn.to/1nmuigR