Meet The Rogues — Bill Hargenrader
Author Bill Hargenrader
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi there! My name is Bill Hargenrader, and I love writing stories that thrill and inspire often with a dark or humorous twist. I write in the Sci-Fi genre with elements of thrillers and epic quests weaved throughout. I essentially write what I like to read… and I’m always excited to discover readers that love my writing too.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was 8 years old, something happened that changed my life forever. One of my 5 brothers set fire to our house. No one got hurt, but I got the blame, and I was sent to a mental institution for 3 years.
Eventually, I gained my freedom and proved my innocence, but along the way, I turned to writing as a means of an escape mentally, spiritually, emotionally. I often wrote about heroes overcoming powerful villains and incredible odds, and have continued writing ever since. And that’s one of the main reasons I’ve written the Mars Journey series because it shows how we can tackle some of the biggest challenges facing humanity while dealing with humanity’s biggest enemy… ourselves.
Have events or people in your life ever inspired scenes or characters in any of your books?
All the time. Nero, the book I have written for the Rogue Skies Boxed Set follows the origins of Brent Carlson, the hero of the Mars Journey series, as a troubled teen genius who creates an imaginary friend named Nero to help him makes sense of what’s real. Without giving too much away, his journey takes him through a Mental Institution. His experience and reasons for going are different than mine, but I’ve let my experience inform the scenes.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
The title for the book is based on Nero the character who is a mental creation of the main character Brent Carlson. Nero plays a critical role in Brent’s development.
Tell us about your main character.
In the Mars Journey series, Brent Carlson is a brilliant but disgraced former astronaut who must recruit and train reality TV show contestants to take a one-way trip to Mars before disaster strikes Earth. Nero is an origin story for Brent as a young teen whose genius intellect is mistaken for a learning disability. He’s picked on at home and school, and so he creates an imaginary friend named Nero to help him cope… But things don’t go as planned when Nero encourages Brent to take on more and more violent courses of action.
How did you pick your character names?
Brent was a name that just came naturally to me when I began writing the series. His last name Carlson, however, pays homage to “Carl” Sagan, the pioneering astronomer.
Nero’s name is something I borrowed from real life. In reviewing my past time surviving through my stay in the Mental Institution, I gave 2 names to the personas that I would play: Hero and Nero. Nero means black in Italian, and it represents Brent’s dark side.
What makes your villain so scary/powerful?
What makes Nero so powerful is that he is part of Brent. He might be Brent’s dark side, but Nero’s confident and assertive personality are all desirable traits that Brent wants to embody. I think it’s also scary in the fact that we all have parts our personality that are a little dark… and this story shows you what would happen if that part of you came to life.
What makes your book different from others in its genre?
Though this book is in the Sci-Fi genre, I treat it as a thrilling story first, with science and technology shining through when it makes sense to do so regarding psychology, cryptography, chaos theory and versus being a hard Sci-Fi story.
Who designed your book cover?
I designed my book cover that shows a gray iris, referencing “grayouts” that Brent experiences where he is conscious but unable to exert his will as his body is controlled by Nero. It shows a Mars in the reflection of the pupil, a portent of what’s to come in his future.
Do you have a day job, or are you a full-time writer? What is your day job? Has it helped your writing?
I have a day job as an innovation and cybersecurity professional for a Fortune 500 consulting firm and got my start in IT after signing up for the Army after 9/11. I use those experiences to bring realism to my scenes and characters. I’m always traveling, learning and growing though, so ideas can come from anywhere, work or play.
What kind of books do you read in your free time?
My ratio of non-fiction to fiction books is about 2 to 1… I read a lot of books on the craft and business of writing as well as science and the personal development space. My wife, Daniele, and I have co-authored a book called Love, Forgive, Never Give up! It’s based on us both overcoming tragedy and showing others how to turn tragedy into triumph, so I’m constantly reading up on the latest in the science of motivation and how to help others with their life goals. In the realm of fiction, I currently have Neil Gaiman and Arthur C Clarke books on deck.
Do you have a favorite book quote?
I’m a huge Dark Tower series fan by Stephen King, so one of my favorite book quotes is: “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Most times I get this question, it’s from someone who doesn’t know if they can be a writer. My advice is to just start writing. Any time, anywhere. Even if it’s just for 1 minute. I send myself emails on my phone for my ideas, scenes, dialogue. It adds up over time. A next step would be to schedule time for it every day for 15 minutes and work your way up to an hour over the course of a month. And the third part of my advice is to write for yourself first. You can increase your skills over time, but you know enough already to get started now. You have enough experience to let what comes naturally through you, so just get started to see if you like it and you can worry about the rest when the time comes.
Website and Newsletter: http://BillHAuthor.com
Sometimes the deadliest enemies are imaginary ones.
This story follows the origins of the hero of the Mars Journey series, Brent Carlson, as a troubled teen genius who creates an imaginary friend named Nero to help him makes sense of what’s real. But Brent must fight back with science and psychology when Nero turns violent and tries to take control of Brent’s life forever.
Nero is just 1 of 25 stories awaiting you inside Rogue Skies!