It’s time for the next subject for my 2018 author interview series. Author interviews are posted every Friday throughout the year.
I am honored to continue this series with author Will Macmillan Jones
You can catch up with all of my past author interviews (nearly 200) on my Author Directory page.
If you’re an author interested in being interviewed in this series, I still have limited spots available for 2018. You can email me at email@example.com
Now, please enjoy this interview with Will Macmillan Jones:
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Well, that has to be a balance, doesn’t it? The first thing is that the author has a story to tell, and a desire to tell that story. That’s first, always. But in my view some authors then forget that they have a duty to entertain the reader as well and that aspect of their writing can sometimes get neglected. When you manage to achieve a harmony between the two, then when you get a great book.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Keep going, and don’t stop when the rejections keep coming. I did just that, and now regret that wasted time so much. It’s one reason that I’m a bit driven to create a decent body of work while I still can, before age creeps up on me – I’ve some wasted years of not writing to eradicate.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Robert Rankin’s The Da-da-de-da-da Code. When I’m not writing, I am driving my best friend mad by failing to achieve the potential he swears I have on the guitar. I’ve always loved music, especially the blues, and this book is shot through with musical gags and allusions. Plus, it is insanely funny, and being a classic Rankin story, just insane as well.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I try not to read the reviews: but I’m not always very good at that… but I’d rather read a bad review than a good review. A good review will make you feel happy for a fleeting moment, true. But a bad review – that tells you firmly that there are areas of your work in which you can strive to improve, and if it a particularly well written bad review, will even point them out for you. Who wouldn’t want that? I recently had some so-so reviews over one book from some 14-year-olds, and there are some points in there that I have noted for the next book in that series.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Probably the music jokes. Song lyrics and titles or band names hide in my ‘fabulously funny fantasy’ books. However, the Folk Horror and Gothic Horror novels don’t have any hidden Easter eggs (as the film buffs call them). If I was to be a bit pretentious, which isn’t really me, you’d probably find a few clues about who I really am buried in the books somewhere. One character in the Comic Fantasy series The Banned Underground is really me in disguise, but I’ve absolutely no intention of letting on which one!
Do you Google yourself?
Not anymore. I did when I first started writing, but now it all seems a bit pointless, to be honest. I have better uses for my time, like the next hundred thousand words waiting to be written.
What is your favorite childhood book?
I’ll cheat and have two. The first is one called The Flying Bike by Donald Smee, (Hamish Hamilton, 1961) about a boy from a struggling family who buys a second-hand bicycle and finds that it can fly. I loved that book with a passion when I was five. It is still in plain view from my desk on my bookshelves now… and by eight I’d gone on to The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner, and my addiction to Fantasy had been born. Garner is a fabulous children’s author, now largely overlooked for more modern works, and that’s a shame.
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
I’ll be entirely honest here and admit that I have no idea. You see, there are two aspects to being a writer. The first is the technical aspect of the craft: knowing how to structure a sentence grammatically, how to create it dramatically, how to spell accurately – these are the nuts and bots which we should all learn at school. I know that I did. I even have a qualification in Creative Writing, earned when I was eighteen, to prove it. But after that, as Stephen King (who has a sold a few books in his time) points out, your second million words written will be better than your first – and the third million will be better still. So I suppose that if I had to do something different, it would be to follow King’s advice and write something everyday.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
How long is a piece of string? I’ve had novels take two years and more, others I’ve had in first draft in a four or five weeks when the ideas have burned white hot across my brain and I’ve been unable to stop typing. Of course, we are only talking first draft stage here. Then there’s always a rewrite, then beta readers and more changes, then off to at least one round of editing, sometimes more. That part of the process takes months, maybe even a year. And that’s after the story itself has emerged from the shadows.
Connect With Will:
www.thebannedunderground.com for the comic fantasy
www.willmacmillanjones.com for everything