The Authors: Brad Borkan and David Hirzel
We live 8 time zones apart, yet we share a similar passion: writing books that inspire modern people.
[Brad] David and I both attended an Antarctic conference in the western part of Scotland in 2015. We had never met before, and while the Antarctic community is relatively small (I’d estimate about 3,000 people) we actually didn’t even know each other existed. David lives in California and I am in London, so wouldn’t have met at UK based events such as meetings of the James Caird Society or at lectures at the Royal Geographical Society or the Scott Polar Research Institute.
[Brad] The process is a minimum of 2 years. The first three months are spent focusing on the table of contents, and deciding precisely on what is in the book and what doesn’t fit. During this time we are doing a significant amount of background research. We then divide up the chapters based on each of our interest areas and knowledge. The book comes together in about a year, and then we go through an intensive editing process. Throughout the process, we are working with professional editors. When the manuscript is in a suitable state, we seek input from historians and other authors and experts to ensure accuracy.
[Brad] As a starting point, I have always admired Collins and Lapierre. They wrote: Is Paris Burning, O Jerusalem, and Freedom at Midnight. I believe their partnership produced the best historical non-fiction ever written. Having read their books convinced me that I would need to be in a writing partnership to achieve the quality of books I was seeking to produce.
Malcolm Gladwell is another inspiring author. His books, like Tipping Point and Blink are intelligent, thought provoking and fun to read. Other authors I admire include Michael Smith, who has written excellent biographies of Shackleton and Tom Crean. It is worth mentioning the early Antarctic explorers themselves: Roald Amundsen, Ernest Shackleton, Robert Scott, and Douglas Mawson, who have written fascinating accounts of their expeditions.
[Brad] Our books are a hybrid – a mix between history, travel, personal development and leadership. For the Voice Arts Awards, we submitted When Your Life Depends on It in the History category. The Chanticleer International Book Awards recently introduced a new category called Instructional and Insightful Non-Fiction, so we submitted in that category.
[Brad] We’d be pleased to do this. Please contact us through the website, and we can discuss how we can provide this. Also the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust and the Museum in South Georgia both sell signed copies of When Your Life Depends on It that we have donated to them, to help them raise money for their excellent work.
Please note that since David and I live 8 time zones apart, there are exceptionally few books that have been signed by both of us.
[Brad] The conference location was chosen by the organizers because Captain Scott’s grandson, Falcon Scott, lives there. It was from that conference that we established a desire in co-authoring the When Your Life Depends on It book that told the stories of the life-and-death decisions made by the early Antarctic explorers, based on an idea I had the year before.
[Brad] We work the old fashioned way. We start by crafting the Table of Contents in Excel because it is easy to shape the chapter sequence, title, theme, key people and stories to be told, time scales for the chapter content (e.g. 1901-1904) and the decision lessons that will be stressed in the chapter. We can also list the ‘owner’ of the chapter (either David or I) and maintain our version control.
During the writing process we use Word, and send chapter drafts back and forth via email. While there can be issues with version control, we have developed file naming structures that help. While we could use Google Docs, we have found that Word suits our style best. David writes on a PC, and I use a Macbook.
[Brad] We intend to collaborate on additional books, but also have the freedom to write our own books. As soon as Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results launches, we will start the process of finding another book topic.
[Brad] We each select a few charitable organizations to support each year. Most recently Brad teamed up with Karen Carpenter, a business coach based in England, to do a webinar to raise money for the Air Ambulance Service in the Midlands. Please contact us through the website so we can discuss with you speaking opportunities.