Author Interview – Jack Strange


Author-Interview-Button

Jack Strange

 

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It energizes me the same way climbing a small mountain might energize you.

You’re exhausted by the effort but feel good about what you’ve done, so you have enough left in the tank to climb down – and do it over again the next day!

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

The mid-point of any novel. I always begin novels in a fever of excitement but half-way through I get bogged down and have to work really hard to keep going to the end. I suspect a lot of authors feel the same way.

Man Vice

  1. What’s the best thing you’ve written?

That would have to be my latest novel Manchester Vice.

I’m very proud of the positive reviews it’s had, including a great video review in “Words on Words” (The Eclectic Storm radio).

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Robert Bose and Axel Howerton of Coffin Hop Press have become good friends of mine. Rob edited my novel Manchester Vice and in the process taught me a lot about tightening up a narrative; Axel told me he liked my novel and because he’s a literature graduate that boosted my confidence no end!

I have a writer friend called Martin Mulligan who has a great way with words – he’s helped me get my sentences flowing better, just by being a good influence.

Confessions of an English Psychopath

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I’d like to build a body of work, but the books aren’t interconnected. There are probably common themes, though. My future critics and reviewers may one day work out what those themes are!

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Oh, such a good question! Probably the money I spent on the novel It Happened in Boston? By Russell H Greenan. That was the book most responsible for my decision to write novels myself. It was – is – a great read.

THATCHENSTEIN

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

My parents telling me off when I was little; my Dad in particular knew how to scare the hell out of me!

Later I began reading books by the likes of Harlan Ellison and began to get a feel for language from them.

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

It Happened in Boston? By Russell H Greenan. It’s well-written, well-plotted, has a compelling central character and a cast of wonderful secondary characters.

Zomcats

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

As a cat-lover it’d have to be a cat. That said, there’s a cat in my novel Manchester Vice which is drugged by its owner. I got a rap on the knuckles from a couple of reviewers for that part of the story!

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I always have a few on the go.

Right now I have a finished novella that’s looking for a publisher: I also have a novel that’s about two-thirds written; and two or three half-finished manuscripts I’ll be bringing to completion some time in the future.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

I’ll know it when I see it!

But seriously, I want the full enchilada: a substantial body of work, great reviews, and great sales figures.

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I seldom do much research because my books are about personal relations so it’s a matter of drawing on experience, twisting it around, and using my imagination to transform it into something new, and, hopefully, entertaining.

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

I can’t put a figure on it. All I can say is as many as I can, other commitments permitting.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

With difficulty!

Names are important to me and I try hard to get them right. The old adage about a rose smelling just as sweet by any other name doesn’t seem to apply in fiction. People get a handle on a character through his name – at least in my view – so the name has to be right.

Chef Zombie

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

I wrote an attempted rape scene in one book.

I didn’t want it to be pornographic, or gratuitous, and I didn’t want to make the woman on the receiving and appear to be a victim.

Most difficult of all, I wanted women to be able to read it and feel comfortable with it, not see it as some kind of sexploitation scene.

For those reasons, that was the most difficult scene I’ve ever had to write.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I started out by reading sci-fi and horror when I was young. This pretty much doomed me to become a genre-writer with an emphasis on speculative fiction.

I write more than one genre (so far I’ve tried my hand at comedy horror and crime) but all my books could be classed as pulp fiction – or pulp with literary pretensions.

I like to grab the reader’s attention from the opening sentence and keep him or her hooked with cliff-hanger chapter endings and twisting plots right up to the final sentence.

As for how I balance them – pass. It’s instinctive, I guess – just like it was for the pulp writers of old.

  1. How long have you been writing?

As a serious fiction author – about 5 years now.

  1. What inspires you?  

Anything and everything, particularly people and anecdotes friends tell me. I often think, when somebody tells me a story about themselves, that with the right development it could become a written piece.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

I have to be ruthless, mainly with myself, and stop myself from goofing off doing other stuff. That’s my only secret. I think it’s every writer’s secret.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m very excited about the novel I’m two-thirds through, which I jokingly refer to as my bestseller. That’s because I’ve researched what kinds of book sell well, and I’m aiming to write one which falls squarely into a bestselling category.

That category is Domestic Noir – ie, a thriller in a domestic setting.

Everything else is taking a back seat at present.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

More domestic noir if the current project sells; and a sequel to my psychopath novel.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

https://jackdmclean.blogspot.com/

Thank you Mandy, I will. It’s been great talking to you!

Bio:

Jack is an English author, who loves genre fiction, particularly thrillers and horror, although he can find just about any genre fun, as long as the story grabs him and doesn’t let his attention go. Jack is not so big on literary fiction but has read the occasional classic.

Jack’s own writing tends to be dark and funny – or so he is told.

His interests are:
Reading (unsurprisingly), Writing (naturally), My own books (sorry!), 
Self-promotion (ok, I admit it, I can be a bit of a bore sometimes).
Walking, Strength training with body weight, Strength training with barbells, Fitness,
Judo, Boxing.  Jack’s home town is Huddersfield, which is in West Yorkshire, England.

 

 

 

 

Writing Prompt Wednesday


keys

The inspiration for this week’s writing prompt is ‘keys’. Let your imagination take over. What is your story?

I wrote this short story as my mind gazed at the keys above.

Her hand trembled, hesitant to pick up a key. If it were the wrong one, she would be held hostage for another month. Her hand hovered over the tabletop covered in keys. Ever shape and size, old and new, which one would release her?

“Hurry up and take one. I don’t have all day.”

She turned to see him glaring at her the knife in his right hand and the end of the chain in the other. With a silent pray she took one key and gave it to him. He bent down to insert it into the padlock. She willed it to fit with all her might.

There was a click. The padlock sprung open. I’m free? Please let me be free. Is it a trick?

“Well, there’s a surprise, you found the right one.”

He pulled at the chain making her stumble and kneel at his feet. She held her breath waiting for some sort of punishment but he un-linked the chain from the padlock and pulled it away from her ankles.

“Go on then, run.”

Her dazed mind held her still for a moment. He pushed her towards the door. The sunlight was bright, the air fresh. She looked up to see acres of forest before her.

“Find your way and no telling or I’ll bring you back.”

She ran, stumbling over tree roots and rocks. Freedom. She was on her way home. The bullet struck the back of her head. No more fear, no more pain. He dragged the body to the pit and kicked it into the depths.

He would drive eastward tomorrow and pick up another hitchhiker.

I know my mind can be dark but your story will be completely different.

Genres of Literature – Slipstream


slipstream

Slipstream can be defined as a kind of fantastic or non-realistic fiction that crosses conventional genre boundaries between science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction. The term was coined by Bruce Sterling, a cyberpunk author: “… this is a kind of writing which simply makes you feel very strange; the way that living in the twentieth century makes you feel, if you are a person of a certain sensibility.”

Slipstream fiction is “the fiction of strangeness” in which cognitive dissonance is at the heart of the story inducing a sense of ‘otherness’ in the audience, like a glimpse into a distorting mirror and imparts a sense that reality might not be quite as certain as we think. 

Slipstream narratives do not always employ elements of science fiction or fantasy, as they are not crucial to the plot, but provide setting and background. The common unifying factor is a degree of the surreal, the not-entirely-real, or the markedly anti-real.

It is certainly a little known genre to the mainstream reader but does have a loyal following. If you are interested in reading this genre here is a list: http://www.flashlightworthybooks.com/Best-Slipstream-Books/525

 

Author Interview Jim Christina


Author-Interview-Button

Jim Christina

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?  

It can, depends on what and where and when I am writing.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Crown Royal, a good Martini or constant interruptions…

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

No

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Too many to mention, but, we all feed into each other. Read each other’s work and give constructive criticism when and where needed.

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Excellent question. Whereas I try to make each book readable on it’s own, I do incorporate characters and elements from prior novels in each book unless it is truly a stand alone story.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Editors

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

11th grade, Drama class…we did an impromptu ad-lib skit

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

‘Still Waters’

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Horse

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

None anymore

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

Folks reading and enjoying my stories. Getting rich from writing is a pipe-dream, one of which I have never fed into.

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Long hours of research if it is warranted for the story. So, I guess that would depend. I have researched for months, and I have researched for only a couple hours.

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

12-15

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

Yet another good question. I find names popular or prominent in the old west, and then remember that almost everyone on the outlaw trail had a nick-name. Hit and miss, I reckon.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

The death of Bobby Malloy in ‘The Rights of Men’.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

Expertise in the field. Know what you write and write what you know.

  1. How long have you been writing?

10 years

  1. What inspires you?  

Just about everything.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

Along with running a small publishing company and preparing for a weekly radio show, it’s my job.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

The building of an artificial leg that works like a normal leg in 1876.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

Vacation

  1. Share a link to your author website.

www.jimchristina.net

www.tuscanybaybooks.com

www.blackdogpublishing.co

 

Writing Prompt Wednesday


This week’s prompt is ‘revenge’. Write a poem or short story of getting back at someone. I wrote this story some time ago but still like it. The story began with a picture of a beach veranda, I have no idea why it went in this direction but that’s the joy of writing.

beach

Britney

Warmth was carried through the windows by the salty sea air as I pulled the voile aside to look at the gentle waves break on the golden sand. The cream painted deck was just wide enough for a chair and a small table and as I set down my book and glass of wine I raised my face up toward the sun. I can feel the stress releasing from my neck and shoulders, no more 10 hour days, no more frantic rush to be first in the morning and working later than everyone else. I’d thought my hard work and commitment would ensure a promotion but buxom, blonde bimbo, Britney, waltzed in on Friday sporting a smug Cheshire cat smile and announced her new position; CEO’s personal secretary. I knew she hadn’t got the job for her secretary skills! My rage exploded as my scream vibrated around the open plan office, I knew I had to get out of there. Grabbing my bag I stomped my way to the elevator and slammed my hand on the button. I could faintly hear giggles and whispering behind me but my heart beat was much louder, the roar in my ears blocking out their petty comments.

As I made my way home my rage seethed, I’d get my own back on Britney, she couldn’t have ‘my’ job. At home Smudge twisted around my legs mewing for his dinner, I picked him up for a cuddle and relished in his softness. After feeding Smudge, I sat at my computer looking for ideas to get my own back on Britney. Ah yes as expected Britney had posted her good news on her MSN account and was inviting everyone to ‘Crime’ the newest club in town for a celebration. Now what could I do to ensure Britney didn’t come into work on Monday or Tuesday or the whole week? A plan came to mind, so after making several phone calls, I got dressed up in my most daring outfit and drove to ‘Crime’.

The music was so loud it was almost unbearable but everyone in the club seemed to be having a great time, dancing and shouting to be heard. This really wasn’t my sort of place at all but needs must. As I pushed my way through the crowd I spotted Britney and her pals at a table on the raised platform above the dance floor. I knew in this outfit & wig no one in her group would recognize me so I moved closer to try and hear the conversation. It wasn’t as hard as I expected as they were shouting across the table and Britney was telling her captive audience of her seduction of Greg Lessner. I clinched my fists in anger but knew I would need to stay calm if my plan was going to succeed. My cell beeped at that moment, a message from my ‘surprise’ for Britney. Callum had returned my call and was ready to meet Britney as I had arranged, he looked like the ‘perfect’ man, all muscles and dark brooding looks as well as expensive clothes and a designer watch, all of which Britney would notice, the little social climber. Britney would not be able to resist a dance, a few drinks & an evening of love! I’d paid for the fancy hotel suite and asked the concierge to place champagne in the room, Britney would be beside herself, fancying her luck at catching a rich handsome man, her dream come true.

I pointed out Britney to Callum and as he approached Britney’s table I held my breath but as soon as she saw him she turned on the bimbo act, all fluttering eyelashes and heaving of barely covered chest; disgusting. I watched Callum & Britney ‘fused’ together, gyrating on the dance floor to the rhythmic beat. It didn’t take long for Britney to dump her friends in favor of her new found lover and after a while I saw them exit into the darkness. Following behind at a safe distance I drove behind their taxi and parked across the street as they walked into the fancy hotel lobby. Opening my lap top I linked up with the camera’s I had set up in their suite and waited for them to arrive. Greg Lessner had fallen for Britney’s interest in him and believed her love was real – what an idiot-she had tricked him like a little kid watching a magician. Once he saw ‘his’ Britney with Callum he was sure to sack her and I would make sure I was indispensable as his assistant by the time Britney’s week of passion was over. I hadn’t had enough money for a longer ‘date’ with the male escort but it would be time enough. Now I could relax all Sunday at the beach knowing I had my perfect job waiting for me on Monday.

I would love to read your response – leave it in the comments.