Friday, 4 June 2010

Getting to know Bob Hamer

Bob Hamer is first and foremost a man of God but the list that follows after that is almost as inspiring ~ husband, dad, grandad, former Marine, retired FBI Agent, law school graduate and get the picture!

Bringing all that experience to his writing, you can expect quite a ride from his first novel, Enemies Among Us.

Have fun spending time with Bob:~

If you could have chosen your own name, what would it be?

I’ve never really liked “Bob” and thought of going by Rob during a life transition…before college, after the Marines, before the FBI. Now it’s too late. I’m stuck with “Bob.” My wife likes it and as long as she’s happy I’m happy.

Did you have a special toy that went everywhere with you when you were young? Please describe.

My baseball glove was a constant companion.

If you were stranded on a desert island what one object would you want with you? (Besides your Bible)


What's your favourite ice cream flavour?

Easy answer…As my wife jokes, it’s not just humanity, I’m also lactose intolerant. I don’t eat ice cream.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A professional baseball player.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I am basically a dull guy with pretty simple tastes. I enjoy staying home and really don’t like to travel so the only place I like to go is to visit our children and grandchildren.

Favourite book?

I read the Bible everyday so I guess that’s my favorite. I like action-thrillers and biographies about heroes willing to risk it all.

Favourite movie?

Probably Braveheart but I never miss a re-run of The Godfather. I really enjoy Daniel Craig as the new James Bond so let’s add Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, Russell Crowe in 3:10 to Yuma, okay and let’s throw in The Dark Knight.

Bones, The Unit, 24 or Chuck?!

Out of these Chuck with a very close second to 24 but my favorite show right now is Castle

Baseball, basketball or gridiron? (I’d put cricket in there but don’t like my chances!)

I guess baseball. 9/11 changed me. I used to watch sports all the time. I seldom do anymore.

Where's the most interesting place you have been (that you can tell us!)?

Of the places I can talk about :), the Marine Corps Heritage Museum at Quantico, Virginia

Great Barrier Reef, Uluru (Ayers Rock) or Sydney Harbour Bridge?

Sounds like a long way to travel to reach any of them

What's your most fervent prayer?

Our children and grandchildren will walk with Jesus.

What is your favourite Bible verse (or "one" of your favorites) and what does it mean to you?

In the really tough assignments I would often reflect on Deut 31:8. “The Lord himself will go before you and be with you. He will neither leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged.”

Where did you go on your first date with your wife?

Dunkin’ Donuts…she paid!

You are a husband and a father, a former member of the Marine Corps, a decorated retired FBI Agent and you graduated from law school. What do you believe is your greatest achievement in life so far?

Two great kids, a son who is a Marine and a daughter who is married to a minister. Both married wisely and have strong, loving, and growing families.

Ask each of your children one thing they admire about you and share it with us, please!

Frankly, this was the last question I answered. I was truly pleased when I called: My son said, “Family was always a priority.” My daughter said, “No matter how important his job was as perceived by the outside world and it was important, we always came first.”

My readers asked the questions in italics ~ enjoy!

How does your writing impact on your faith?

I think it forces me to reflect upon what I believe so I can somehow convey those beliefs in a simple way which is incorporated in my stories.

How do you describe your walk with Jesus?

I need to learn to walk. Too many times I try to run ahead and not wait for Him; that can ruin a pretty nice stroll.

Pet peeves in Christian fiction?

Not gritty enough, afraid to reflect the real world. If we are tasked to bring a cup of cold water to the thirsty it’s tough to fulfil that command if we are afraid to look where those who thirst reside.

What Christian fiction do you read?

I’ve read all of Ollie North’s and Randy Alcorn’s novels.

What matters most to you in this life?

The smallest combat unit in the Marine Corps is a fire team. It consists of a fire team leader and three other Marines. God gave me a fire team…a wife and two children. Now each of my children has a fire team. I hope and pray they will be good stewards of that precious gift of family.

What is your process in developing characters for your novels?

I’ve never really thought about. My characters reflect composites of the many people I’ve interacted with throughout my 26 year career in the FBI. I’ve seen the best and worst of mankind and hope my characters reflect my experiences.

How do you feel about overt "plan of salvation" novels, vs. those that are faith-based but leave it to the reader to understand the message?

Less is more.

What's your number one best way to carve time to write out of your busy schedule?

Objection your Honor, assuming facts not in evidence. I’m really not that busy now that I’m retired from the FBI. I try to write each morning after I work out. I set a minimum goal of 1,000 words if I’m writing a novel. Screenplays or articles are different but with novels it’s around 1,000 words unless I really get ambitious. I don’t like to write. I like to re-write. I love to get the story down and then go back and edit, re-edit, write, and re-write. I will sometimes agonize over a simple sentence trying to find just that right word, only to find the next day it really doesn’t convey my intent.

What was the most difficult scene for you to write in terms of research, character development, etc?

In ENEMIES AMONG US the most difficult in terms of technical expertise was the hospital scene where the nurse kills the terrorist. My friend Daniel Combs, a Navy combat doctor, (you’ll notice I made him a character)was deployed to Iraq at the time and in an email exchange helped me with a viable means of murder. I hope the Navy will forgive him.

As far as everyday people go, who has influenced you or helped you the most in your Christian walk?

Like Caitlin in my novels, my wife is my tether.

What's your favorite kind of pizza?

I love anchovies which is great because when I order a pizza with anchovies no one ever wants to steal a piece.

Enemies Among Us

Please describe each of your main characters with one word

Matt Hogan-tough

Caitlin Hogan-compassionate

Dwayne Washington-competent

Jason Barnes-decisive

Pamela Clinton-incompetent


Boris Gregorian-sinister (and even more sinister in the sequel)

How did you choose their names?

Quite frankly with the Middle Eastern names I tried to find simple names which the reader and I could pronounce. As to Matt Hogan, I think Matt is a strong name and Hogan was the last name of my best friend in high school.

You bring great authenticity to your novel no doubt from your experiences as an FBI agent. How much of Matt Hogan’s journey reflected your own, if any?

Matt is younger, stronger, better looking, and has a lot more hair than I do BUT most of his adventures are grounded in my undercover experiences. God and I have struggled but my questioning and searching took place in college, not while in the FBI.

The Special Agents we see on TV are usually perfect, never flinching under pressure. I was interested that Matt made a number of slip ups while undercover that could have led to him being discovered. How often do “small holes” in an agent’s story lead to a blown cover?

I blew a case early in my career, the only one I ever really messed up because in a phone call to the target I wasn’t focused and used my real last name rather than my undercover last name. He caught the slip. I failed to recover. He smelled the mistake and refused to deal with me again. As Matt tells himself…FOCUS! Fortunately, I was on the phone and not sitting across from him with a weapon in his lap…I might not be here answering your questions.

Matt shares quite a bit of his work with his wife, Caitlin. They have quite a normal relationship. How hard is it on family life when working undercover?

My family came before my work. I wanted them to be part of my life and shared with them as much as I could. I wouldn’t necessarily say, “I’m having lunch with Joey Bag-of-donuts today at the Pizza Extravaganza,” but I would say I may have to work late tonight because I have an undercover meet. Often my wife and kids knew when I was undercover…unshaven, dirty, and smelly…it was sometimes hard to hide the fact I was on a mission. Obviously I couldn’t make every family event but I tried very hard. One of the few baseball games I missed when my son was growing up was the day I shot two people in a drug deal which went badly. The shooting team kept me for twelve hours sorting through what happened.

The FBI has been both glamorized and demonized in the movies and media. What would you like to share about your experience working with the FBI?

The many men and women in law enforcement and the military risk their lives daily so others can sleep under the blanket of freedom. We don’t always get it right but our lives are always at risk.

Care to share what is in your writing pipeline?

I have a sequel to ENEMIES AMONG US. The working title is TARGETS DOWN and I think that’s the title we will keep…

When the wife of an FBI agent is found critically wounded and two people are found dead on a mountain pass, FBI agent Matt Hogan is tasked with identifying those responsible. The undercover assignment takes him into the shadow world of Russian organized crime, neo-Nazis, and the sex-slave industry. His cover is almost blown twice, once by accident and once by incompetence within the ranks of the FBI. Violence appears to be his only solution. As he confronts evil he relies not only on the strength of his wife’s faith but his own quest to find God. He finds terror and terrorism on the journey.

I have several screenplays floating around Hollywood. One is the adaptation of Oliver North’s first novel MISSION COMPROMISED.

Kevin Farley and I also have a project about a retired FBI undercover agent who misses the adrenaline rush of working undercover…have NO idea how we came up with that idea!

Bob ~ it has been a treat to have you share at Relz Reviewz. Thank you for taking the time :) Can't wait for Matt's journey to continue in Targets Down.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Bob's website

Check out the Fidelis website

Buy Bob's book at Amazon or Koorong

Be sure to enter my giveaway of Enemies Among Us by entering here


Nicole said...

Cool guy. Down-to-earth. Connected to heaven. He can count on me as a reader. I'll squeeze his work in somehow. Great interview, both of you.

Ronie Kendig said...

Great interview, y'all! Enemies Among Us is an excellent read. It's really nice knowing the author behind the story has BTDT!

Jenny said...

Very much enjoyed the interview...thanks for sharing. I've got to get to this one soon. :)

nolene said...

Thanks Rel, that was very interesting and I will certainly look out for this book!

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