John Twelve Hawks
John Twelve Hawks (pseudonym, also known as J12H or JXIIH to his fans) is the author of the 2005 dystopian novel The Traveler and its sequels, The Dark River and The Golden City, collectively comprising the Fourth Realm Trilogy. The trilogy has been translated into 25 languages and has sold more than 1.5 million books. "John Twelve Hawks" is a pseudonym and his real identity is unknown.
Both John Twelve Hawks and his American publisher state that he has never met his editor and that he communicates using the Internet and an untraceable satellite phone, usually employing a voice scrambler. Biographical information about his background is based on five sources:
- a 2005 article in USA Today
- a 2005 interview by Rob Bedford in SFF World
- a 2006 interview published in Germany in Der Spiegel
- a portion of a 2007 Daily Telegraph article about popular writers
- a 2008 Q&A interview on the Weblog of Joseph Mallozzi, a writer and producer of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate:Atlantis.
Origin of his name
During an online conversation John Twelve Hawks had with his fans on his new website he explained the origin of his name:
The real story is this …
I was walking through a forest …
Encountered a hawk nesting area …
And 12 hawks circled around my head for about ten minutes ….
So close that the tip of their wings brushed the side of my head. That was why I picked the name. REAL hawks. Not symbolic ones.
Twelve Hawks' initial biography on the Random House website was only one line: "John Twelve Hawks lives off the grid." At some point in 2007, that line disappeared and was replaced with "John Twelve Hawks is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Traveler."
John Twelve Hawks is his "adopted" name, but in the Spiegel interview he states he is not an American Indian. In the Spiegel interview he talks about visiting East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the USA Today article, his response to a question about religion began with, "When I was in my twenties..." and when an editor asked him whether the "realm of hell" could be compared to current conditions in Iraq, Hawks replied "it's more like Beirut in the '70s". In the Spiegel interview and in the Daily Telegraph article, Hawks states that he drives a 15-year-old car and that he does not own a television. These personal facts and a description of JTH's unique lifestyle were confirmed in the 2008 Joseph Mallozzi Weblog interview.
The SFF World interview indicates that Twelve Hawks lived in a commune and learned about literature by stealing books from a restricted university library and then returning the books the next day. In the same interview, he states he wrote The Traveler after passing through some sort of personal crisis. In the interview in SFF World Twelve Hawks claims that he has "no plans to go public" regarding his identity.
According to Twelve Hawks' agent, "He lives in New York, Los Angeles and London", and The Traveler sets its story in all three of these locations.
On August 20, 2014, John Twelve Hawks released a free non-fiction book called Against Authority: Freedom and the Rise of the Surveillance States. The book is dedicated to the novelist,Thomas Pynchon.
Against Authority begins with a personal description of the neurological experiments performed on Hawks when he was a child and states that all of us have the ability to reject the “right” of those in power to control our lives.
The book explains how the Total Information Awareness program developed by John Poindexter at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) after the September 11 attacks led to the expansion of the National Security Agency and the revelations of Edward Snowden. Hawks criticizes the assumption of “mass surveillance” strategies against terrorism and shows how “trickle down surveillance” has spread to small towns and developing countries.
JTH believes that surveillance technology has given those in power a crucial tool for social control. He describes how the culture of surveillance is used to track citizens for commercial reasons and gives examples of how people are now routinely watched at work. In the conclusion, He advocates a strategy of “parallel lives” that allows people to exist in the digital world while protecting their private actions and thoughts.
The foreign rights for a new novel by John Twelve Hawks were sold at the 2013 Frankfurt Book Fair. The new book is entitled "Spark" and will be published in the USA and UK in October, 2014. "Spark" was described by Publisher's Weekly as a "thriller/literary novel which is set in the near-future." The novel questions "the meaning of freedom and self-determination in a world without either." 
Twelve Hawks' sole published work is the Fourth Realm Trilogy:
- "Warner Bros Acquires 'Fourth Realm' Trilogy". March 23, 2012.
- "Those remaining literary recluses in full". The Guardian (London). 1 February 2010.
- John Twelve Hawks (2009-05-24). "Live chat with John Twelve Hawks". wespeakforfreedom.com. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- David Thomas (2007-04-01). "Like Dan Brown, but better". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- Joseph Mallozzi (2008-10-30). "Interview With John Twelve Hawks". josephmallozzi.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2008-10-30.
- Rob Bedford (2005-12-04). "Interview With John Twelve Hawks". SFFWORLD.COM. Retrieved 2006-08-12.
- Carol Memmot (2005-06-27). "Cryptic 'Traveler' has book world buzzing". USA Today. Retrieved 2006-08-12.
- http://johntwelvehawks.com/. Missing or empty
- Rachel Deahl and Clare Swanson Sep 20, 2013 (2013-09-20). "What the American Agencies Will Be Selling". www.publishersweekly.com. Retrieved 2013-09-20.
- Mike Fleming Jr. (2013-10-14). "DreamWorks Buys John Twelve Hawks Sci-Fi Thriller ‘Spark’". http://www.deadline.com/hollywood/. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
- John Twelve Hawks Facebook page
- Official Website of John Twelve Hawks
- SF Encyclopedia entry
- Interview at SFFWorld.com
- USA Today: Cryptic 'Traveler' has book world buzzing
- John Twelve Hawks at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database