Surf Coast Times article

Hart chalks novel up to experience

July 2, 2020 BY Klaus Nannestad

Few are as well-qualified to write an action-adventure novel as Jed Hart.

He served in the Malayan conflict as a naval officer and in the Vietnam War as a pilot before founding Hart Aviation. Not only has he lived an extraordinary life, but Hart is also a gifted storyteller.

These skills are both put to use in his debut novel Without Warning.

Mr Hart said experience had been an invaluable asset in writing the novel.

“It has been something I have wanted to do for a while. I wrote when I was in my 30s, and I was quite a reasonable writer then. I had a London agent. But I couldn’t plot worth a damn; I killed off the hero three chapters before the end in the novels I wrote then.

“I gave up writing then because I felt I didn’t have enough life experience. Life then takes over and I just didn’t have time for writing – running businesses and working in executive positions – but when that stopped I got back to the writing and found I had a wealth of experience and things I wanted to write about.”

His novel is just one way Hart has put his past in the service to use.

He recently co-authored the book Wings of Gold, which told the book told the story of the “Pensacola Experiment”, where Australian pilots and observers trained with the United States Navy aboard aircraft carriers in the mid to late Sixties.

Queenscliff RSL members will also likely be most familiar with Hart for the presentations he has given on Vietnam Veterans Day and Anzac Day.

Hart said writing the novel also helped him process his experiences.

“It is a work of fiction, so the characters are fictional, but some of the experiences are real-life experiences. The prologue, for example, is the hero Jake Hunt having a recurring dream, and that dream is a dream that I had, so it comes pretty close to home.

“It was a cathartic process writing about those experiences. In full-on war when people are trying to kill you and you can actually see them, see their faces as they’re bending over their weapons while their shooting, and you can’t always shoot back if you’re in a paddy field in a helicopter dropping of troops, those sort of experiences really go deep. I delve into some of them in this book, and more will appear in later books.”

But the novel also focuses on how people reconcile these types of experiences when they return to more conventional living.

“The underlying theme is the difficulties men and women have adjusting back the civilian world. They never really adjust back.

“Take the experience of Vietnam: we took a Qantas flight and flew into Saigon, and suddenly all the rules changed. You come from a very civilised Australia, where law and order are paramount and everything worked properly, and suddenly your day job was to kill people.

“So, to make that mental adjustment, you can’t be the same person. To cope with it psychologically, you have to adopt a new set of rules and live by those rules each day and play by the same rules as the rest of your team, otherwise people get hurt.”

The story’s protagonist Jack Hunt has to constantly grapple with these two worlds.

Hart said it was a struggle many servicemen and servicewomen experienced.

“That sort of adjustment is a one-way street. People that come back sort of have split personalities, as they have operated by rules people in civilian society never have, and hopefully never will.

“The civilian persona has to be readopted and you have to ringfence that military person and hope that they never have to be used again. But they’re there; they’re in the background.”

Hart used a lot of his own experiences to inform the character of Jack Hunt. But as he wrote, Hunt began to take on a form of his own.

“You write on what you know, but he’s a more extreme version. He’s a lot better-looking and a lot smarter than I am, so I’ve extrapolated a little, which has been a lot of fun.

“I came to like the character, and he kept heading off in his own direction, so I couldn’t control him.”

A book launch had initially been planned at 360Q in Queenscliff.

The coronavirus meant this did not materialise, but with Hart working on sequels, it is unlikely to be his last chance to unveil a novel.

A day in the Delta

Image may contain: 2 people

I ran across this photo in my digital files; a photo taken of a picture in an album, as you can see. I don’t know the name of this American soldier, though we flew together from time to time. I was just short of my twenty first birthday, but my gunner was younger.

Zooming to Yea

I’m presenting to the Yea Rotary Club via zoom tomorrow evening. I have the perfect room to do it from, but that is in Melbourne and I am in Byron Bay. No matter. The presentation has jokes. How will I know if anyone laughs? I’ll assume it. It’s an interesting adjustment, and I see courses on such presentations proliferating. Great idea. I’ll do one. Too late for you guys in Yea though. Sorry…

2 reviews for The Jake Hunt Series: Without Warning by Jed Hart

Russell William Hogg (verified owner) June 1, 2020

Jed Hart has written a spellbinding account of life in the modern fast lane. This book intertwines so many intricate plots of old war heros, terrorism, religious fanaticism, big international business, and love and loyalty, that once started it is hard to put down. The book is very readable and believable and carries an amazing amount of exciting operational detail within all the subplots. I was very impressed with the book, and look forward to reading the next two in Jake Hunt series.

Rated 5 out of 5

Sharyn McDonald (verified owner) June 8, 2020

Jed Hart’s Without Warning is a thriller that moves at a cracking pace, taking the reader from London to Brunei with mounting tension as it culminates in a terrorist attack. Jake Hunt and Nicole Roswell are strong credible characters with depth and substance. The plot has many twists and turns which makes this novel hard to put down. Jed’s Vietnam War experience and his years flying helicopters around the world has provided a sound background for this novel. For one not so technically minded I thought I might lost in the detail. Not so and I found Without Warning an great read. I have really enjoyed the first in the Jake Hunt series and look forward to further adventures for Jake and Nicole in Catch 33.

Rated 5 out of 5