Coming to university is an important part of our graduate’s lives, and can give you so much more than just a degree.
The Watt Club caught up with Will Jordan, an IT graduate who has recently been leading an intriguing double life…
Who are you and where do you come from?
My name’s Will Jordan. I’m a Knowledge Editor for Sky Digital, and a part time author from Dunfermline, Fife.
What inspired you to do your course and study at HW?
When I was thinking about what I could do when I left school, I was split between two paths. The creative part of me really enjoyed writing, and the geek in me loved working with technology. I figured writing was a pretty tough market to break into, so in the end the geek won out and I applied to study Information Technology.
Heriot-Watt had a good reputation for tech-based courses, and I was really impressed by the campus when I came to visit so it seemed like a natural choice.
What was your time here like?
It was great! Being some ways outside the city, Heriot-Watt was a slightly different experience from some uni’s, but I enjoyed it. Like high school, you come away with a lot of good memories and experiences. I remember going for a quiet pint at the union to loosen up before a big presentation, bumping into a bunch of mates and showing up an hour later drunk – most fun I’ve ever had on stage!
What have you done since graduating – what are the highlights?
After a bunch of part-time jobs, I started working in web design for Sky Digital in 2006 and I’ve been doing that ever since. I got married in 2009, and we had our first child in 2010. In between, we were able to fit in a bunch of trips to America and Europe.
But despite all this, I never forgot about writing. It kind of fell by the wayside while I was at uni, but I took a year out after graduating to just relax and do my own thing. That gap year allowed me to really get into something that had just been a hobby before, and by 2008 I began to think seriously about trying to get published.
It was a bit of a rocky road at times, but in 2011 my agent finally landed me a 3 book publishing deal with Random House. I can’t begin to describe the relief I felt when I finally got that call! My first novel Redemption came out last summer, and the sequel Sacrifice was just released back in May. They’ve both had great reviews, and Redemption was even shortlisted for Waterstones’ Crime Book of the Year.
What are your books about?
They’re thrillers set against the backdrop of the War on Terror. The first novel introduces Ryan Drake, a ‘Shepherd’ working for the CIA to rescue lost or captured agents. But he bites off more than he can chew when he’s sent into a maximum security Russian prison to find and bring home a female agent known only by her code name Maras. When things take an unexpected turn, he’s forced to go on the run with her. With time running out and his former comrades hunting him down, he must uncover the mystery of who his unlikely companion is and why so many people want her dead.
What does the future hold?
Well, Sacrifice hits the supermarkets at the end of August, and Redemption will be released in Germany in September, so I’ve got a busy couple of months ahead! Longer term, I’m hoping to leave my job and move full-time into writing. Working in web design has been great, but ultimately you have to do what you really feel passionate about.
What advice do you have for future graduates hoping to follow in your footsteps?
For anyone hoping to get into writing, first and foremost, persevere! You’ll probably be knocked back a lot (by agents and publishers), so learn to take it on the chin. But also listen to their feedback if they give you any. If you really enjoy something, stick with it!