Hall of Information Interviews: Paul Jameson

The venture of discovery continues and so does the celebration of unique voices with another Hall of Information Interview.  

Paul Jameson has generously taken the time away from penning his immersive, sometimes dark and truly unique tales to answer 10 questions. This has been an honor and a journey to learn the story behind the story teller whose works I urge all of you to consider next in your reading endeavors. Some may remember earlier this year I read and reviewed his fantasy folklore-horror book and so that is where we shall begin…

NightJar_Cover_Banner_Twitter_ZOOM

Q1. I want to start by talking about your novel ‘Nightjar’ which stands out as quite a unique read. The blend of descriptive style and language you used to build a ‘feudal future’ world makes for an experience that felt like turning the pages of a classic while being new at the same time. For a modern book and a modern author like yourself, how did you find the voice and inspiration to tell a story like ‘Nightjar’?

 

“This is a really good question, one I’ve had to think about;
I think the voice found me…”

“I’d experimented with a number of pieces, short stories and historical pieces over the years, never quite finding my voice. Then I wrote a short story called ‘Magpie’. I think I discovered how to show rather than tell in that piece. Anyway, I was really pleased with it. I liked the voice, and it was a world I could expand on. I fully intended to work on and edit ’76 and the Odd 93’, but started on a new short story instead just to test the voice…”

“And so Nightjar was born.”

“Everything was in place around where I live. On the Greensand Ridge, a Roman Road runs as a footpath between Everton and Sandy, there is an Iron Age hillfort, and a glacial landscape that had once been shallow sea. I looked back in time to define a feudal future, had a physical and geographic anchor in the landscape, and saw two boys run down a hill.”

“Then I heard Nightjar play his flute.
I simply followed.
It really was a case of the characters wrote the story. And it turned into a novel.”

*Weird Fact*

“I chose Nightjar as a character as the bird is at once a strange and ugly thing, fascinating to look at. Anyway, upon publishing the novel – two months later – a pair of nightjars nested on the Greensand Ridge locally after a fifty-year absence. That made me shiver.”

 

This is both fascinating and relatable, it sounds like everything aligned and came together while you also found that voice. Having the path reveal itself like it did for you is the moment of clarity where writers know they’ve got something.

Q2. There is a slight sinister and dark edge to ‘Nightjar’, can readers expect that in your other works?  And please tell us more about them.

 

“All my stories – short and long – tend to have a dark and sinister side to them. This, I think, stems from a physically and emotionally abusive childhood, so I tend never to trust the good in things; being ever wary of the dark and nasty that hides behind a veneer of nice. But also, I’ve learned as an adult that nothing is quite so simple as ‘good’ and ‘bad’, so I enjoy creating characters with a foot in both camps.”

“Conflicted – so to speak.”

“Even my other novel – ‘76 and the Odd 93’ – a contemporary, modern psychological piece I’m nervous of because it is so dark. A cathartic exercise I needed to write to exorcise childhood demons. It took me 25 years to write and publish, features a split timeline, strawberry ice cream, a glass eye and the making of a serial killer. It’s something I hope puts the reader in a conflicted place, seeing evil grow out of innocence.” 

 

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“My other available pieces are all short stories. All dark, bordering on horror and the weird. Early experiments before writing Nightjar.”

 

Magpie by [Paul Jameson]Dark Tales by [Paul Jameson]

Q3. You’ve mentioned on twitter a few times about being in your shed. Is this your main writing place? Please describe for us what that space looks like?

“I live in social housing with my wife, two adult children, three dogs, five cats and a hedgehog, so the shed is my safe space. My wife and her mum’s idea, and I love it. Bilbo (black cat) and I retreat to it, and it’s the only place I write.”

“It’s bijous.”

“Blue.”

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“With pictures on the walls, a decoupaged roof of the twentieth century – up until the ‘60s – a clock that doesn’t work and lots of weird knick-knacks. Books on shelves, Zippo lighters – I love Zippo lighters – my computers, music, a telly, electric fire for winter and fan for summer, hourglasses, lots of candles and a telescope. Hourglasses are always handy, and you never know when you might need a telescope. My daughter thinks it’s weird, so I reckon I’m doing the ‘dad-thing’ right.”

Shed02

Fantastic and the definition of a perfect writers escape.

Q4. Of course Roald Dahl comes to mind here and he is mentioned in your Amazon profile bio, what does Roald Dahl and his works mean to Paul Jameson?

“As a child I loved his work. I think it connected with me because of the type of childhood I enjoyed – or endured – as many of his characters faced similar adversity and challenges. And yet even with all the horrible stuff going on, Roald Dahl understood a child never lets go of a belief in magic and hope.”

“There is always magic.
And there is always hope.”   

Offensiveness' and children's books: censoring 'slut' from a Roald ...

I can only agree. His works make up some of my first reading memories back in the 90’s – there were a few film adaptations that weren’t too bad either.

Q5. Moving away from books and writing; what interests do you have outside of being an author?

“My family and other animals are very important to me. I love folklore and history, telly and films, books – though I struggle with reading since my brain went weird – and I love exploring woodland and ancient places; although I rarely do that these days, being a recluse and all. An old habit I need to reignite.”   

Q6. Tea, coffee, beer or wine?

“Tea in the morning, coffee in the eve;
And Guinness if I can get it.”

“Although – to be honest – I rarely drink alcohol these days;
Not for a lack of wanting, more that being a recluse I prefer to stay in and write.”

Stout Decline: Guinness Slides in Popularity, Status

Q7. Can you name three television shows or films that have inspired you?

“Tales of the Unexpected
Twilight Zone
Westworld (film)”

“They’re if I’m looking at what inspired the weird in the child that became the adult. Lots of other films too, like the Wickerman, and television programmes like the Magic Roundabout, Pipkins and Roobarb. But I think reading inspired me the most. Authors like Du Maurier and Iain Banks, Tolkien, Martin Amis, classics mixed in with historical fiction and SFF.”

“So many inputs.”

“I also love television shows coming out of HBO, like Game of Thrones and the Sopranos, my favourite being the Westworld series, and I often have them on in the background whilst writing.”

Westworld TV Show Air Dates & Track Episodes - Next Episode

Great recommendations, Westworld accompanied by a Guiness makes for an awesome evening… 

Q8. Let’s talk social media; the place where I mainly procrastinate… You have quite an impressive Twitter following of 16,000+, what’s your strategy when it comes to social media? And do you think it plays an important part in modern book marketing?

“I never really had a ‘strategy’ other than to follow and follow back other writers and artists, and to help them if I can, or if they ask. I also don’t entertain anyone with RW, bigoted, or racist beliefs. I didn’t understand Twitter as a platform at first. Then I discovered it was a great place to share my main interests:”

“Folklore and History
Faerie Tales and Magic
Writing
Current affairs”

“And connect with like-minded people.”

“Marketing falls below all of that, but I recognise it is something I have to do. I don’t like doing it – I’m not sure anyone does – but Twitter is the only place I market, and then I try to keep it low-key. It does have to go hand in hand with being a self-published author with no budget, but I see it as a marathon, not a sprint, and personally value good reviews far more than high sales. One day the sales will come.”

Sound advice and proven with such an impressive following.

Q9. Are you currently working on any writing projects? And what can we expect to see in the near future?

“I am.
And I’m struggling.”

“I have this huge WIP (140,000 words) – set in the same world as Nightjar – but I’m worried I’ve strayed too far out of this world and into the Otherworld. I like the concept, but I think it may have become too complex and too much like fantasy. That said, there are also characters and story arcs in it that I love – as would anyone who enjoyed Nightjar; characters really on the edge of things.”

“I also have two historical novels I wrote when I was very ill a few years ago (2014) – first drafts – and I’ve never read them back. Or edited them. Maybe I should. At the end of the day though, it’s the Muse and characters as decide when something’s right. Me, I’m just a helpless scribe…”

Well some of the best things are born through struggle and if your current project is anything like Nightjar then I imagine it will be pretty damn good!

Q10. Finally, a question that I plan on asking all interviewees.

If there is one sentence of advice you would give someone with dreams of becoming a writer, what would you say?

 

“Start;
And then finish.”

*And that shows, like all authors, that I need to listen to my own advice *

 

 

Let me take this opportunity to thank you sharing such a great insight into the world behind your words and beyond.

We can all agree that Paul Jameson is an author and a creative with a unique voice.

You can find him on Twitter and that’s not all folks, because for a limited time you can grab his short story ‘Magpie’ for FREE ! 

‘Inspired by real places and echoes of the past, the present and the future…’ 

Magpie by [Paul Jameson]

Readers old and new, I appreciate you taking the time to read this Hall of Information Interview, hopefully see you in the next one!

Hall of Information Interviews: Despoina Kemeridou

And so a new venture of discovery begins. With the aim to celebrate unique voices in writing and eventually the wider creative world, let me welcome you all to the first ever Hall of Information Interview. 

We’ve got 9 questions with multi-genre author Despoina Kemeridou who hails from Greece and is days away from releasing her second book. A huge amount of people have already pre-ordered it and we’ll get into that as well as plenty of other writer related stuff.

Those who have been tuning in for a while will know we reviewed her first title a little over a year ago and that’s where we shall start… 

Q1. First and foremost, let’s talk about fairy tales. Your first book ‘Fated to Meet You’ sits quite well within that genre while also having a modern edge. Is there a classic fairy tale that sticks out as your favorite?

“My all-time favorite fairytale has to be Rapunzel by the Brothers Grimm. I love all the different versions of this beautiful story (Disney, Barbie, manga and book retellings etc.). The original story is supposed to be much darker than other versions, but I still enjoy it and am glad it has a happy ending.”

 

Indeed Rapunzel is a truly wonderful story about hope and family.

Q2. Social media plays quite a big role in modern book marketing; your Twitter following is over 19,000 which is rather incredible. What’s even more impressive is the short time you took to achieve that. For anyone looking to grow their following, what is your twitter success strategy?

“I would recommend having an active social media presence. Commenting on other’s posts, tweeting daily, and answering to people who comment on your posts. Hosting a #ShamelessSelfPromoSaturday is also an amazing idea to discover new reads, and authors. Also, a good bio and a pinned tweet on Twitter are really important to have in your profile, since they are what a potential follower/reader will see first.”

Solid advice and proven by such an impressive following!

Q3. Where did writing stories begin for Despoina Kemeridou?

“I started writing when I was thirteen. I loved reading since I was a small child, and that spiked my imagination a lot. I remember daydreaming about different stories, and at one point I decided to sit down and write. I used to write by hand back then, even though my handwriting was terrible. One of the first books I’ve read was Jane Eyre and The Magician’s Nephew. I don’t believe there’s a particular book or author that influenced my writing – maybe unconsciously, but I’m not sure.”

Q4. On Twitter you recently shared quite an interesting yet wonderful story about the village where your Grandparents live, please do tell us more (Princess…) and how much of an influence is family to you and your writing?

“I was having second thoughts about sharing that story, mostly because I was a bit embarrassed, but in the end, I’m glad I did. So, my Grandparents live in a village that’s located in the woods, called Chorouda. Anyone can find it by searching on Google Maps, and take a look at what kind of village it is. It’s pretty small, and lately there are only three permanent residents. There used to be more, but since they are mostly elderly people, most of them stopped coming, or visit once in a while. I love that village for the beautiful and breath-taking views it offers. There are many trails one can follow, if they’re looking for a small adventure in the woods! I have lots of photos from that place on my photography account on Instagram.”

We’re glad you shared this story too, some of the best stories are the real ones!

Q5. For just a few moments, let’s move away from writing. What interests do you have outside of being an author?

“I love drawing, even though I’m not really good at it. I usually draw characters in manga style. When I have some spare time, I like going out and taking photos with my camera. Is reading too mainstream to mention? Yeah, I love reading, too. It’s a part of me.”

Art By Despoina Kemeridou

Instagram @dkemeridou

Looks pretty good to me!

Q6. Tea, coffee, beer or wine?

“Wine. God, I love a glass of wine when I’m writing! However, in winter I prefer a hot cup of tea.”

The science behind those painful wine headaches | The Splendid Table

Excellent choice!

Q7. You have a new book which drops in a matter of days. A paranormal romance short story; what can you tell us about it?

“Indeed. My upcoming book is titled “Mark of a Demon”. I was mostly inspired by a manga I’ve read a thousand times since I was a teenager called “Hanatsukihime””.

mark of a demon

Available for Pre Order now!

 “Torn between the world of the living and the dead, Heather tries to live a normal life. With a demon to protect her, and weird creatures lurking all around her, that seems almost impossible. What is the meaning behind the mark on her chest, and what secret is her aunt keeping from her?”

It sounds awesome and we will be adding it to the TBR list! The cover looks exceptional and so see speaking of covers…

Q8. Both of your books have great covers. Even though some say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, they do. How important is an effective and eye-catching book cover to you? And who designs yours?

“I don’t want to sound harsh, but I do judge books by their covers. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t usually read the blurb. If I see a book with an eye-catching cover, I’m most likely to buy it without checking it’s contents. It’s mostly the reason I always pay much attention to my covers. In my newest one, the mark in the middle is drawn by me. I wanted it to be unique.”

“Both my covers were designed by my boyfriend, Evan Dimu. He is also in charge of formatting my books in both ebook and paperback format. I don’t know what I’d do without his help and support.”

 

 

 

 

I’m with you on that one. Covers are such an important part of the book marketing process.

Q9. And finally if there is one sentence of advice you would give to someone with dreams of becoming a writer, what would you say?

“Don’t give up, and never listen to anyone who tries to interfere with your dream of becoming what you want.”

Despoina Kemeridou; an author with a unique voice we would like to thank you for taking the time to answer our questions in this first ever Hall of Information interview!

‘Mark of a Demon’ is available now! 

Check out my review here…

For more information and an exclusive excerpt check out Despoina’s Instagram here. 

And of course I highly recommend you follow her on Twitter if you don’t already. You can also find her on Facebook. 

Readers old and new, I appreciate you taking the time to read this Hall of Information Interview, hopefully see you in the next one!

 

Author self interview: Lee Hall

Today see’s the beginning of a new series of posts called ‘Ask the author’. I will be interviewing myself about all things books, writing and being an indie author…

 

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Lee Hall 

How long have you been writing for? 

Since around the age of twelve I started putting together stories on an old window’s 98 computer. Seeing as I’m in my mid to late twenties that’s quite a while…

So it sounds like you’ve known for some time this is what you have always wanted to do. How successful have you been as an indie author? 

Well success as an author or success at anything in life is in the eye of the beholder. In terms of statistics I have sold around 100 copies of my books combined. In terms of money, I haven’t made anything near what people perceive. But then again I am not in this for the money. To have a few people take a selfie of my book and leave a few reviews is enough for me to grant a project successful.

What are you in writing for? 

To immerse people into worlds as I have been as a reader. There is no greater theater than the human mind. Books really do rule and they help the human imagination grow.

You currently have two books published, could you describe the both of them in three words? 

Open Evening – Teenage Terror Chase

Darke Blood – Vampires Witches Identity

What are you currently working on? 

I have been drafting two projects so far this year. The first was just a bit of fun and can be best described as a vanity project, whenever I am in between books I delve into it but I’m not telling you what it is just yet.

The second project I am currently drafting is the sequel to Open Evening! I am 80% through draft one of Cemetery House with a view to publish in 2018! For those who follow me via email I will be looking to send out sample stuff to followers!

Both Open Evening and Darke Blood can both be considered as horror or at least thriller in genre. Is there any other genre’s you would consider writing in the future? 

Hell yeah! I am currently putting together initial plans (in my mind) for a comic book style super hero comedy. This would be a novella or at least a shorter novel, so watch this space!

db and oe

Darke Blood and Open Evening by Lee Hall 

 

What advice would you give an aspiring author in terms of marketing a book? 

Start talking about your book now! Tweet, Facebook status and blog the hell out of it. Of course don’t shove it down people’s throats, be cool and subtle. The greatest way to sell a book is via networking and word of mouth. Get people talking online and sharing stuff, a good support network of friends will help to kick things off. You can read more on marketing in my resources section here

 

And that’s the first part of my self interview, thank you for reading and of course if you have a burning question get in contact and I will feature it along with an answer next time!