Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
So I have written 7 books so far. The first two were Philosophical novels about a Boy who is mentored by Death and travels through time and history learning about life. These were privately published. Death was a mix of Death from Terry Pratchett’s brilliant books and Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. I used one Chapter which was set in Space in my book of short stories, Equations Of Being.
So at the beginning of 2014, I was hospitalised for a month. I was writing a lot of poetry at the time. I had done several poetry books, so that’s 9 books in total, forgot about those. I wrote a poem in Accident & Emergency about what was happening to me and that was how my friends found out what where I was. I like emailing my stuff out for feedback.
Anyway I’m stuck in hospital, can’t work, can barely leave the ward. My one advantage is I have been taught to be positive.
I have great friends who visit me everyday. They talked me out of my first plan to be a professional backgammon player in Monte Carlo and Geneva. Writing this, I’m a little sad about that. I thought it was a corker.
So I think it would be a crack to make a graphic novel and go to Comicon. One of my good friends who had stood by me was a brilliant artist. He was too busy to do the artwork. So I look online for a Sci Fi convention and find Swecon, Sweden’s National Convention and book in as an author.
Well, I left hospital in February and the convention was in July. I wrote my book of short stories. My friend did a great cover for me, but couldn’t come to Sweden.
Another friend,the author and illustrator, Faramond Frie, offered to come with me and help. Good job, ’cause I would never have coped flying to Stockholm and getting a train across Sweden with two suitcases full of books.
It changed both our lives, and like all pebbles thrown in ponds, has sent its ripples out in to the ‘Verse.
Our adventures sparked off Revenge Of The Hrym and the books that were to follow.
Unfortunately we don’t have time for more.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is Beano Grigio. It’s the third book in The Friendship Series.
I mentioned in a previous interview it was based on a joke. The band I am in were trying to come up with a name, and I came up with Beano Grigio. I thought it was brilliant. No one else did. Too good to waste I made it the title of my next book.
Lucky really because it’s my best book so far.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Unusual writing habits? What like sitting in a bowl of custard with a windmill on my hat?
I can write anywhere, but I write best in the mornings, often after waking. I need time, and to be relaxed. Years ago I could only write with a pen. Unfortunately the writing process is so urgent with the flow of creativity, and comes out so fast, I had trouble reading my writing. That is a little troublesome, especially as sometimes individual words can be quite specific and important.
Now I write straight into Notes on my smart phone. This is great, because I read it through, spotting errors. Then I send it to a few friends by email, both because that is satisfying, and also it’s good to get feedback.
I will read it through a couple more times, because I enjoy it, which is good, but I also pick up a few more commas, and maybe tiny alterations and email myself the edit.
Later I transfer it into Word, which picks up all kinds of errors, and finally into the final publishing software, ready for my proof readers.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
This is a real toughy. All of them to some degree. I am in my late fifties and have been reading all my life. The great Anthony Burgess didn’t distinguish between ‘Literature’ and other genres in what makes a great novel. I have read much Science Fiction, but mostly written last century. I think great novels are timeless. Great Sci Fi can be superseded by time and technology, but the ideas, and the characters carry on. “Slan,” by AE Van Vogt is as brilliant today as when it was written. But a space ship travelling at 300mph. Things have moved on.
A good novel, like good music is priceless, wherever it comes from.
Sci Fi, Asimov, Clarke, Simak, Van Vogt, Card
Fantasy, Tolkien, Donaldson, Peake, Silverberg, Moorcock
Aldous Huxley is a genius.
Lit, Burgess, Fowles, L Durrell, Hesse, Camus, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Greene
Action, Deighton, Clavell, Brown,
Humour, Sharp, Adams, Moorcock, Elton
Old, Dickens, Voltaire, Balzac, Goethe
That’s enough of lists. Modern stuff. I liked The Girl With All The Gifts by MR Carey. I missed him at this years Swecon, as I was only there for a few hours. Pity.
I think Philip Pullman is brilliant and George RR Martin. I loved Game Of Thrones. Ayra Stark is an awesome character.
What are you working on now?
Three concurrent projects.
I am writing the second book in the Polly Granger Series, sequel to The Lift. Set five years after Polly meets up with Walter and Andre.
As yet untitled, the fourth book in the Friendship Series is well underway, and finally treading water is Vigilante. This was originally two connected short stories in my book Equations Of Being. I always felt it could grow into a novel, and it’s about 20 chapters in. A superhero noir.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
When I first started I thought personal contact with readers at Sci Fi conventions was the way. It’s great to chat about the characters, and how the books develop. Readers gave me their email addresses, and I used to send out new chapters to them as I wrote them.
Now I communicate directly with readers through my Reader Group which I promote through the books themselves. As a thank you for joining my Reader Group, I send out a free copy of my book, The Lift.
Really keen readers join my Launch Team. Two weeks before a book’s launch, I send them a free advance copy, so they get to be the first readers in the world to read it. They help with any typos that may have been missed, and if I’m lucky give me a nice review. Reviews help bring my stories to a wider audience.
Website. Funnily enough I have been very impressed with Awesome Gang. From an Author’s perspective, I find them very supportive with good communication.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Yes copyright your book, and don’t blog every chapter. The second caused me massive headaches with Amazon. The first fixed it.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
That’s a pretty broad question. My Dad told me it’s better to be half an hour early than five minutes late. I guess we can apply that to all situations, even preparing a book for publishing.
What are you reading now?
Dan Brown’s new book, Origin. Very good.
What’s next for you as a writer?
More writing, more travel, which often inspires writing, both in content, and opportunity. Audio books.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
The ones I have read again and again.
Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire, Coleen McCullogh’s Masters Of Rome, I missed her out, absolutely brilliant, and Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.
Author Websites and Profiles
Jhedron Luckspar Website
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