Online Interview With Lisa Haselton

The below Interview was published on March 1, 2023. Lisa does interviews on a first in First published basis. If you are interested here’s the link: the request form for an interview is on the right side of the page.

Interview with thriller author Vaughn C. Hardacker

cover for Ripped OffMy special guest helping me kick off a new month is mystery author Vaughn C. Hardacker. We’re chatting about his new crime thriller, Ripped Off.

Vaughn C. Hardacker is a veteran of the US Marines, and he served in Vietnam. He holds degrees from Northern Maine Community College, the University of Maine, and Southern New Hampshire University. Hardacker is a member of the New England chapter of the Mystery Writers of America (MWA), the International Thriller Writers (ITW), and the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance.

He is an avid reader of mysteries and crime/thrillers and the author of Sniper (finalist in the 2015 Maine Literary Awards Crime Fiction Category) and The Fisherman (finalist in the 2016 Maine Literary Awards Crime Fiction Category), and The Black Orchid. His thriller, Wendigo, was a finalist in the 2018 Maine Literary Awards. His seventh novel, Ripped Off, was released by Encircle Publications on January 25, 2023.

He blogs with the Maine Crime Writers and his personal blog and resides in Stockholm, Maine. Visit his website.

Welcome, Vaughn. Please tell us about your current release.
Upon leaving court after his fourth divorce, retired hitman Ian Connah learns that his financial manager has disappeared with his retirement funds. While he is determined to get his money back, Connah’s dilemma is that, to finance his quest, he must return to the trade.

Connah becomes a bodyguard for two former girlfriends (each a rival for his affection) who detest each other. When a million-dollar bounty is put on them, a team of three professional killers takes the contract. Connah takes the women to a remote lodge in Maine’s north woods to protect them from a killer afflicted with OCD, a ruthless former Irish Republican Army assassin, and a sadistic Mexican cartel hitman.

The search for Harry Sandberg will lead Connah from Maine to Boston, Boston to the Caribbean Islands, and to the Amazon Rainforest of Brazil. He will face crooked lawyers, South American drug lords, and the largest and most violent of Brazil’s criminal syndicates.

What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to tell a story that allowed me to stay in the thriller genre. All my previous novels were written from the POV of a typical protagonist, and I wanted to do an anti-hero. I also wanted to interject more humor than my others.


Excerpt from Ripped Off:
Connah turned into his drive on Lake Osprey and saw his bank manager, Herbert Harvey, standing on his deck, staring at the lake. He walked to the deck and knew from the look on Harvey’s face that this was not a social call. Harvey was the only person, along with Harry Sandberg and Glenn Ouellette, Connah’s personal accountant, who knew about Connah’s turbulent past and how much money he had in his portfolio. “You don’t look happy, Herb.”

“If you think I’m unhappy, wait until I tell you what I learned this morning.”

“Why do I suddenly get the feeling that what has so far been a very crappy day is about to blow up into a full-fledged shit-storm?” Connah walked past Harvey and leaned forward, resting his forearms on the deck railing. He studied the unusually calm lake surface and said, “Okay, lay it on me.”

“You’re broke. Not quite to the point of insolvency, but broke just the same.”

Connah slowly turned his head, and his eyes narrowed. “Broke?”


“What about the investments that Sandberg made for me?”

“There never were any investments.”

“I had three million dollars, not to mention that stock in that solar panel company he told me was going great guns.”

“Over the past five years, Sandberg and Ouellette sold all your shares in Sun Power, Incorporated, and bit-by-bit withdrew what money you had in my bank.”

“How in hell could they do that without my knowing it?”

“You may recall that, against my advice, by the way, you signed a Power of Attorney giving them full authority to make any and all financial transactions for you. My people knew that you’d done so and thought nothing of it. To cut to the chase, by the time you send out this month’s alimony checks, you’ll need a co-signer to buy a pack of gum.”


What exciting project are you working on next?
Actually, I’m working on several novels. I’ve always worked on multiple projects. I have a sequel to Ripped Off (title undetermined) and a sequel to my novel, Wendigo (finalist for the 2018 Maine Literary Award), entitled Loup Garou. I’ve also got two thrillers and two westerns in process.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first started writing short stories in junior high school (I thank God on a daily basis that they are long gone). However, in the late 1980s, while battling PTSD, I was advised to write about the experiences that bothered me the most. Those writings ended up being ELEPHANT VALLEY. A novel about my experience as a helicopter door gunner in Vietnam. THE WAR WITHIN, in which I dealt with my teen years and how they affected me as an adult. WAR won second place in the June 1989 International Literary Awards contest. It was then that I knew I could be a writer. Little did I know that It would be twenty-plus years before I’d publish my first novel. I often tell people that I learned to write by the time I was in second grade — it took me a lifetime to learn HOW to write,

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your workday like? If not, what do you do other than write, and how do you find time to write?
I’m retired and write from home. Finding time to write has never been my problem. My constant battle against procrastination, now that’s another story. Like most writers, I’ve been asked, “What’s your writing style?” My reply is: “I don’t recommend my style to anyone — I can only describe it as prolonged periods of procrastination followed by frenetic periods of writing.” It takes me a while to decide what I want to write; however, once I know the basic plot, I write all day long (and sometimes late into the night).

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I think I described that in the above section. However, I will say that I can become addicted to research. The internet can be my best friend or my worst enemy. I often set out to research a topic and see something else that interests me and go down the rabbit hole.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I grew up in far northern Maine, Caribou. I was born there and then, at the age of 1, moved to New Jersey. When I was seven, we moved back to Caribou. I can honestly say all I wanted to be when I grew up was as far from Caribou as possible. Guess where I now live… yup, Stockholm, Maine, a little town northwest of Caribou.

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Thanks for being here today, Vaughn.

About Vaughn C. Hardacker

Vaughn C. Hardacker has published seven novels and numerous short stories. He is a member of the New England Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, and the International Thriller writers. Three times he has been a finalist in the Maine Literary Awards Crime Fiction category, SNIPER in 2015, THE FISHERMAN in 2016, and WENDIGO for the 2018 award. The second installment of his Ed Traynor series, MY BROTHER'S KEEPER, was released in July 2019 and is available through all major booksellers. A signed copy can be ordered directly from Vaughn ( RIPPED OFF is his most recently published crime/thriller, it was released on January 25, 2023 by Encircle Publications. He is a veteran of the U. S. Marines and served in Vietnam. He holds degrees from Northern Maine Technical College, the University of Maine and Southern New Hampshire University. He lives in Stockholm, Maine.
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