I would like to introduce Author Hardy Jones the winner of the winner of the B.R.A.G Medallion.
Please tell us about your book, “The Voice of the Dolphins.”
The Voice of the Dolphins is the story of more than thirty years of filming and research among dolphins around the world. In 1978 filmmaker Hardy Jones was swept into the universe of dolphins. In his work as a filmmaker he came to know many of these magnificent animals as individuals. “I know when I’m with them that I’m relating to creatures as intelligent, social, and imbued with emotion as I am.” Hardy’s life became even more closely entwined with dolphins when he learned that he and the dolphins share a genetic trait that imperils both his life and the survival of dolphins worldwide. Starting with the film that came from his first life-changing encounter with spotted dolphins in the Bahamas, he’s made over 70 documentaries for PBS, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and foreign broadcasters. “Filming became my entrée into the world of dolphins but not my ultimate purpose there. My true aim was to get inside the minds of these enormously intelligent and friendly animals.” His book tells many stories of interactions with dolphins that could not be captued on film. In coming years Hardy would apply what he had learned with dolphins to killer whales in the Arctic fjords of Norway, and sperm whales off the Galapagos and the Caribbean Island of Dominica. “I became a pioneer in a parallel universe inhabited by highly intelligent, friendly, curious aliens. I came to love them and felt an intense need to protect them.” The Voice of the Dolphins covers more than three decades Hardy has fought to end the slaughter of dolphins by Japanese fishermen and tells the inspiring story of how he was instrumental in converting a dolphin hunter to a dolphin watch tour leader. In the late 1980s Hardy became aware of a threat to dolphins even more insidious that the blades of dolphin hunters – rising levels of chemical toxins in the oceans that were impacting marine life and human beings. Over succeeding decades these contaminants have reached crisis level. In 2003 Hardy was diagnosed with an incurable form of blood cancer that is linked to chemical toxins. “I’ve struggled with the side effects of medications, but my first lab tests after beginning treatment brought stunning results. My burden of monoclonal cells had been reduced by ninety-eight percent.” The diagnosis spurred Hardy to seek the sources of the pollutants in his own body and to document their impact on marine life and human beings. Hardy continues treatment and maintains an active life traveling the world to campaign for dolphins, the oceans and the welfare of humanity.
Were there any challenges in the research for this book?
The book is based on life experience. Challenges to research were hurricanes, boats sinking, lung searing heat in the Galapagos, frigid temperatures in Norway. Where there was research in the classical sense of the word, finding epidemiological connections between contaminants and disease in dolphins and humans is tricky work.
What is the most surprising thing you learned in creating your book?
My greatest surprises in the field revolved around the astonishing level of curiosity and friendliness expressed by dolphins and whales for me and my fellow divers. My greatest surprise in marketing my book was how useless it was to advertise in the New York Times Book Review.
How long did it take you to write, “The Voice of the Dophins?”
If you exclude the false starts – I made several stabs at writing it in the 1980s and 90s – it took just over a year to write the book.
Who or what inspired you to become an author?
I wanted to go into detail that is not possible in film. There are surprisingly few words in a film narration and the major focus is on picture. In my my book I was able to express in detail events and emotions that could not be portrayed in film. And writing a book – especially when you do it independently – you get to say exactly what you want without someone overriding you.
What is your next book project?
I’m looking at writing a short book in electronic form on the experience of covering the mass mortality of dolphins in Peru and the mystery behind this tragic die-off.
What is your favorite quote?
“Gentlemen in England now abed shall think themselves acursed they were not here..” Henry V
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Be clear that you are as much a marketer as a writer.
Thank you so much!
Hardy Jones has spent more than thirty years investigating and working to save dolphins. He began unique research on dolphins in the Bahamas in 1978 that has led to internationally broadcast films and many awards. In 1979 he broke the story of the slaughter of dolphins at Iki Island, Japan which led to international outrage and helped shut down the killing of dolphins in several villages in Japan. Since then Hardy has worked at Futo and Taiji to stop the last vestiges of slaughter on Japan’s main island. Hardy has covered the increasing levels of toxic chemicals in the oceans and their connection to disease in dolphins and human beings. He has most recently been investigating the mass mortality of dolphins along the coast of Peru. Hardy is a former journalist with CBS News. He attended Tulane University and studied law at Columbia University under a CBS Foundation Fellowship.
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Hardy Jones who is the author of, The Voice of the Dolphins one of our medallion honorees at http://www.bragmedallion.com. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. MedallionTM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such asThe Voice of the Dolphins merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.
Thank you to Hardy Jones for this wonderful interview and to IndieBRAG.