Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Eleven Questions with Dwight Hamilton

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Eleven Questions with Dwight Hamilton

Dwight Hamilton, a former member of Canadian military intelligence, began writing at the Toronto Sun and Financial Post Magazine. He has been a staff editor at two of Canada’s largest professional journals. His most recent book, Terror Threat, was published in November 2007 by Dundurn Press.

OB:

Tell us about your latest book, Terror Threat: International and homegrown terrorists and their threat to Canada.

DH:

It’s a pretty comprehensive look at both domestic and international terrorism, both past and present. The amount of terrorism that has occurred on our own soil will surprise most Canadians. Also examined are historical patterns and trends that we feel governments and the public should take very seriously but are not.

OB:

Is this the first time you’ve co-authored a book?

DH:

No. My first book (Inside Canadian Intelligence, Exposing the new realities of espionage and international terrorism) involved submissions from Kostas Rimsa and fellow terrorism guru John Thompson. In addition, a reporter for the Globe and Mail provided a brief “outsider’s perspective” on some serious issues.

OB:

What led you to work with Mr. Rimsa?

DH:

Before I began working in the media, I was a member of military intelligence and was lucky enough to work directly with him for a few years. Kostas is a bit older than me and in those days he taught a program on international terrorism that was then considered very leading-edge.

OB:

What was the most challenging aspect of co-authoring a book ?

DH:

Getting accepted by a publisher. Most Canadian houses doubted that I could pull it off or that a book written by a “committee” would amount to much, let alone be a bestseller. As well, if your co-authors/contributors fail to deliver, you are on the hook. If you fail to deliver, you may never work again. The risks to a professional writer/editor are grave.

OB:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote your book?

DH:

It’s aimed at the general Canadian citizen and that was the reason for my unique editorial approach to the material that makes it easy to read. Otherwise, you are asking regular people to swallow a post-graduate dissertation that would make even Buckley’s Mixture seem sweet.

OB:

How did you research your book?

DH:

Jeepers…that’s classified. There’s just so much weird open-source material that only people in our previous occupation are exposed to. That’s why it appears so new. The biggest challenges were to ensure factual accuracy and that the Official Secrets Act was not violated.

OB:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

DH:

Get a good cat. Robertson Davies said so once

OB:

Is there one book you think everyone should read?

DH:

The Gathering Storm by Winston S. Churchill. At the time he wrote: “It is my earnest hope that pondering upon the past may give guidance in days to come, enable a new generation to repair some of the errors of former years and thus govern, in accordance with the needs and glory of man, the awful unfolding scene of the future.”

OB:

What are you reading right now?

DH:

Generation of Swine by Hunter S. Thompson.

OB:

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?

DH:

When I began in photojournalism, Peter Worthington told me that one must “keep up the pressure” to succeed. He was right. Two decades have passed since then.

OB:

What is your next project?

DH:

If I am not on staff at some media outlet, I will likely be teaming up again with Kostas for a third book on the further challenges facing Canada’s security. I am also in touch now with a fledging writer who has had considerable experience with the homeless on Canadian streets. Yet another war.

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