Author Interview - Andre Jones
Jones was born in Wollongong on the New South Wales South Coast. He has a Dutch
heritage and apparently – lost in time – there’s a vague link to Dutch Royalty
on his father’s side. And while ‘Jones’ isn’t a Dutch name by any stretch of
the imagination, it isn’t a pen name either. He is sure his parents did their
best, and while he does have fond memories of his childhood, there are others
he would rather not dwell on. In hindsight, it was mostly unpleasant and no
doubt got him into reading to escape. So he can be thankful for that.
Andre Jones has worn many hats, as they say, from Police Officer to Council Labourer, to serving in the Royal Australian Navy for almost 20 years and being involved in ‘operational areas’ (war-zones). When he left he did some gardening and handyman work because he likes working with my hands. He finally retired – though he sometimes feels like he is doing more now than before.
Andre Jones has been married for 36 years to a lovely Scottish lass, has one daughter, and currently one old British Short Hair cat - Alex, and one over the top Jack Russel Terrier - Gordon.
Genre: Initially epic fantasy, I also love sci-fi and urban fantasy, which is reflected in my books so far. As if I haven’t enough on my plate, lately I’ve been considering steampunk/thrillers ... and crime ... and getting into some mild horror. (I know there is cosy romance and cosy mystery ... can there be a cosy horror?)
Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The series started when I fell down the rabbit hole on Youtube, looking at fringe/weird/ pseudo-science with a splash of conspiracy theory and Gaia myth. What struck me about all this was people follow these subjects – some with vehemence.
Is any of it true? Who knows – the court is still out, hence why it isn’t ‘main-stream’ or peer-reviewed science – but, it definitely stirs the (my) imagination.
Q2: What’s your favourite and least favourite part of publishing?
Book covers are fun, working with the designer to come up with ideas that hopefully work and get those readers to click the link.
Definitely marketing is the least favourite. These days with the internet, anyone with a computer can ‘get published’, marketing is far too finicky and superficial. I firmly believe that a great book/author can fall by the wayside and a mediocre book/author will be highly successful simply because of the ability to sell oneself.
(or maybe I’m not trying hard enough ...)
Another least favourite part is the expense to get it done professionally. Yes, I know it can – and has been – done cheaply ... and quite successfully in some cases, but for me, a professional editor and designer is and will always be my preference.
And newsletters, another least favourite. I suck at it. Any ‘newsletter’ is generally used to do the obligatory BookFunnel promo.
Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?
into account I am 61 this year, some of the names may not register with your
readers, but I’ll give it a go. Enid Blyton, Anne McCaffery, Robert Heinlein,
Ray Bradbury, Phillip K Dick, Poul Anderson, Katherine Kerr, Isaac Asimov, JRR Tolkien,
Stephen Donaldson ... to name a few!
I can’t say any one in particular as has influenced me as they all had a part in forming my imaginings during my youth.
About 10 years ago I started going to Book/Writer conventions and got to know several Australian authors; Glenda Noramly (Larke), Russell Kirkpatrick, Fiona McIntosh, and Karen Miller. Having met them in the flesh, even chatting to them on a one-to-one basis, I guess it inspired me to give my writing more seriousness.
I should make a special mention of a trilogy ‘The Fionavar Tapestry’ by Guy Gavriel Kay. I don’t know how the man does it, but I get very misty-eyed in book 2 – Every. Damn. Time. Definitely not to be read on public transport. I aspire to invoke as much emotion into my readers.
Q4: What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book?
Haphazard at best. As mentioned, I’m a retired Australian Navy veteran, and have plenty of time in my hands ... I guess every day is like a weekend, and I can easily put things off for ‘tomorrow’. And I do. I will write for hours-on-end some days, then plod along on others ... mind you, I do have a young Jack Russell Terrier that takes up much of my time too!
However, this isn’t for everyone. I’m lucky in that, being an independent author, I have no rigid timeline ... other than appeasing my avid readers.
Q5: What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?
doubt it will be a different experience for everyone, but the advice will
always be the same: ‘Don’t give up’.
Your first, maybe second or even third book will probably be crap – definitely the first drafts will be. I doubt anyone has written anything great the first time; just keep going. There is no greater teacher than experience, and you can’t edit what you haven’t written.
Join a reading or critique group. Sure, you have to read their stuff too, but over time any genuine and practical advice can only make you a better writer.
Q6: What do the words “writer’s block” mean to you?
Not much. I don’t believe in it. Sure, there are times when I feel the muses have left the building and no longer communicating, but in those instances I feel it’s because I’ve missed something in my writing leading me to an area I was expecting (my characters tend to do that!) ... I tend to go back and re-read/edit to see where I ‘left the path’. Soon enough I’m back on it.
However, if that doesn’t work, I tend to write something else, even if it’s notes for my ‘next’ WIP (I have many!) Sometimes too much concentration on a specific thing is counterproductive; those times it’s best to move away completely. It’ll come to you. Just keep writing.
Q7: What part of the book was the most fun to write?
I should say all of it, but the action scenes felt easier to write. I enjoy world building and taking the reader deeper into my worlds, but this can sometimes be a data-dump, so while I write it out initially, the editing tends to turn it into nibbles as opposed to mouthfuls of info and then spread it around a bit more.
I dare say as my writing ability expands, I might find other aspects are enjoyable; confidence grows with experience.
Q8: How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?
Obviously they would be the astute adventurous type who don’t mind a bit of cross-genre, don’t take things too seriously (I mean, I’m not writing literary fiction), but I don’t mind having a crack at things I find amusing or ridiculous in our society, or even having a laugh at some tropes we use.
For better or worse, I do find I’m writing more books with a female protagonist/hero, see how that flies.
Q9: What are you working on now?
I’m working on several books at the moment: GNOSTIC book four of my urban fantasy Death Wave Chronicles. The series is a mash of pseudo-science, weird-science, fringe-science with a splash of mythology and legends.
I’m also co-authoring a military sci-fi with Pete Aldin; and working on my running ‘memoirs’ (where over 215 days (on separate occasions) I ran 10,000+kms solo around and across Australia for various charities).
Q10: What are you currently reading?
not reading as much as I should ... however, in my To Be Read pile is:
Scrapper (Peter J Aldin), The
Stars Remain (Peter J Aldin), and Awaken (GR Thomas).
Excerpt from RELIC - book 1 of the Death Wave Chronicles.
“I bring a message on behalf of Earth. You may call it Mother Nature, and you may call it Gaia — which is not entirely correct but will suffice for now due to your lack of comprehension of the natural forces which surround us all.
“The world has succumbed to a
Mankind’s ingenuity, believed to separate it from ‘animals’, enabled it to inhabit every niche of land, thereby spreading infection across the globe.
“Mankind has also developed a lust
for wealth and power to the extent that the pollution and desecration are now
global, threatening the very fabric of the world.
Just as a microbe cannot fathom the
complex world in which it lives, Mankind is also incapable of fathoming the
complexity of the world. Every living thing on the earth has a role and is
connected — or was.
Mankind alone has lost its connections, believing itself separate from everything else.
“A messenger will arrive —
Mankind’s one chance to survive.
Those who have lost their connection, who cannot bring themselves to attune, to live in harmony with the earth and the forces around them, will perish.
“Resonating with all that is, she
is Nature incarnate. It would be foolish to thwart her, for Gaia’s wrath is
never subtle, always fatal. Treat her well.
Mankind’s continued existence
relies on its ability to learn respect for the world.
Adapt or die.”
Vitor Magalhães Xaschoal