Widely travelled (S/E Asia, US, Sri Lanka, North Africa, Mauritius and Europe) Jay interweaves his experiences into his fiction writing.
He is currently working on the second Frank Bowen conspiracy thriller and a post-apocalyptic series.
What inspires you to write?
Reading the Godfather originally inspired me to write. The world Puzo created and the fact that it spanned decades, focusing on the history and members of the Corleone family, fired me to create those kinds of worlds. I also get inspired from everyday situations and the people I meet.
Being out of your everyday environment is a huge help. Just being in a city like Venice or New York brings stories to mind. When I recently went on a retreat in southern Spain I couldn’t stop writing; the environment brought inspiration in floods.
I began writing False Flag, which was a completely different plot at the time, when I was in South-east Asia many years ago. A lot of the scenes set in Thailand and Sumatra were places I visited and some of the characters were loosely based on people I met.
Tell us about your writing process.
The process is definitely outlining and I’m adapting as I progress. I have numerous notepads with ideas, scenes and ideas scrawled down and I use a combination of handwriting, using a laptop and phone. Using a notepad is where I’m happiest; it seems to flow better and this is where my initial ideas form.
I’m currently working with another writer and the process is changing. We’re still working it out but essentially a whiteboard is used for main overview of plot and characters, as well as big sheets of paper for each characters timeline. The relevant scenes that are to be included are then outlined into chapters and then the actual writing begins. There are also separate character sheets for the main characters and some secondary characters. I try and stay flexible so if, whilst writing, something else pops up in my head I like to go with it; it usually leads to a better finished story.
The there are the research notes, separately filed by subject into relevant book folders, so it’s all very organized.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Not so much talking but I use photos of actors/actresses, in a particular role, on the character sheets just to give a visual on the character to myself. This is also very useful in the current collaboration I’m in. I’m also an illustrator so will sometimes sketch out settings or characters; again just for my own reference.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write everyday without fail, even if it’s a few paragraphs and make it a habit. I work full-time but luckily there is a library nearby, so I head there at lunchtime and just write in my notepad or research and mull over plot points. I usually tap in scenes in my phone if I’m waiting somewhere or in some kind of dead time situation.
The important thing is to realize it’s your first thoughts that you’re writing down in those situations. No one is going to see it so don’t worry about it coming out crap. You can improve it later when you’re at your laptop. I read Ian Fleming wrote his first drafts locked in a hotel room and would not read back at any stage, except for the last few paragraphs to pick up where he left off.
Nanowrimo is good for getting involved in meet-ups with other writers and I’m trying to do more of that all year round. Having someone else around, who is writing can be a big help.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I have always been interested in publishing. I created and published zines when I was 14 years old, so when the opportunity to publish via print on demand and eBooks came along I jumped in, without question. You can control your own destiny and build a platform on your own terms with self-publishing but its hard work. Going with a publisher, if all you want to do is writing, is great if you can get a deal. The question to ask is will they work hard to market you. If so, publishers can get you in places which are difficult to get to when self-publishing. There are a lot of pros and cons to both options.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It will probably continue to evolve as it is; with newer generations using mobile devices and ereaders. I’m sure real paperback books will be defiant and make a comeback. It’s happening with vinyl, so who knows?
What do you use?: Co-writer, Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: thrillers, post-acopalytic, crime
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print