Name: Jeffrey Kosh
Where are you from: I was born in Rome (Italy), but lived extensively abroad (USA, UK, Thailand)
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
As I said, I was born in Rome in now-too-far 1968. I studied art before moving to England first, Arizona then, and Florida later. I did all kind of jobs, from hotel receptionist to waiter, from construction worker (a very bad one) to delivery boy. Then, I got married and came back to Italy, where I managed a funeral parlor with my spouse. Again, we traveled extensively, until, six years ago, we decided to go living in Thailand. There, I published my first novel (Feeding the Urge) and became a part-time actor for an Asian casting agency (I worked only in one movie, but I’m still listed on their roll-call). Then, I split up with my wife, and decided to move to England, where I live with my new partner. In the UK I opened my graphic arts business, and that’s what brings bread to the table, more than my writing. In fact, I keep on writing only because I need to put on paper the stories that haunt me. I consider myself a storyteller, more than a writer.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Jeff: My latest news are about my newly born. No, it’s not a real baby, but to me all my stories are my kids. It is titled ‘The Haunter of the Moor’, and it has a real special place in my heart. It is a Gothic ghost story set in Victorian Ireland, that started as a short, but quickly became a full novel. Optimus Maximus Publishing is releasing it in paperback and eBook formats. (I strongly suggest to buy the hard copy, for it contains graphics that are not available in the electronic version).
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Jeff: I actually started very young, but never found the necessary courage to submit. I found it when I was in Thailand. I was jobless (for foreigners are not allowed to work there unless they open their own business) and spent most of my time writing and studying. I had a fellow writer read my stuff and she gave me the encouragement to go on and publish.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Jeff: Never. I’m a storyteller. Everybody writes, in a way or the other. There are those that write manuals, technical books, essays, DIY, games; those are writers, too. Yet, a storyteller is different. They have to convey a story in a way to keep the reader glued to it, have the reader feel for the characters, have them smell, touch, and listen everything inside a tale.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Jeff: My rage. Honestly. I was in a dark time of my life and I was seeing everything painted in shades of black. There was all that scandal about pedophiles; they were everywhere, inside unsuspecting places, and I could feel – and hear – the public outrage (mostly caused by the media) and I wondered how would people feel about a character who really went out and killed that kind of monsters in a gruesome way. Wasn’t he a monster, too?
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Jeff: Yes. All my stories are deeply researched. I need to know all the details and trappings of the setting. If I set my story at the times of pirates I need to know they way they spoke, what they used to eat and drink, how life was on the high seas, whose colonies belonged to at that time, historical facts mixed with legends, and so on. It’s a stressful job, trust me. Someone said that my style is ‘arrogant and presumptuous’. I took it as a compliment.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Jeff: It began as ‘The Barguest’, but once it became a bigger work I changed it to ‘The Horror in the Moor’. However, once I finished it, I decided that ‘The Haunter of the Moor’ fitted it best.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Jeff: No. It’s just a story. A story that could have happened back then. Or maybe not.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Jeff: The historical background, the places (except for the village of Ballymoor), the folk tales, the murder ballad, and the language of the times are all real. As for the ghosts … well, I don’t really know.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Jeff: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House have influenced me the most. The writing style of Michael Slade, full of historical details and trivia, has surely led me to base everything I say in a story on facts. As for mentors, I was lucky, I actually had two: Billie Sue Mosiman and Franklin E. Wales.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Jeff: There are many, honestly. Shaun Jeffrey wrote one of the best thrillers I have ever read. Heath Stallcup impressed me with his ‘Whispers’. Donald White has a wonderful collection of short stories that entertained me for their ‘Tales from the Crypt’ style. Jaime Johnesee is a game changer with her ‘Bob the Zombie’ series (I hope she goes on with that, because we really need something different from the garden variety zombies). There are many more, but I can’t name all of them. Oh, and a special mention goes to Lorraine Versini. I know she’s my partner, but I really believe she can write better than me. She has a little jewel in the FRIGHT MARES collection, titled ‘HERE I LIE’ that is a clear example of what she can accomplish if she finds the time to write.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Jeff: Someone I miss a lot. Kat Yares. She was the first one to encourage me, she was a real friend that could sense when I was about to give up (not just on writing). She died last year, and left a hole in my life. She was an excellent writer and her books are still available.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Jeff: No. I write because I feel it. But I’m an artist: I create stories when I feel the need for creation, like my graphic art. My real job is to crerate images for stories told by other people, be they writers or directors – I make movie posters, logos, and book covers – but nowadays it is very hard to make a living out of writing.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Jeff: Absolutely not.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Jeff: I have always been a reader, and still am. Of course, sometimes you can’t find the story you want to read or watch, so it comes natural to write it yourself. I used to write adventures for role playing games (for personal use, they were never published) then, I decided I was ready to share my tales with the world.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Jeff: The Haunter of the Moor is a traditional ghost story written as a series of documents that, together, give shape to a tale that has a clearer meaning only to the reader, not to the characters that are part of it. You have a backstory, set a century earlier, that has you see the story in the point of view of an obssessed man. Then, there’s the personal journal of Patrick Conroy, an Irish-American student that is trying to isolate himself from the lures of the big city to focus on his studies and ends up in a series of terrible events. It is followed by the Confessions of Father Wales, a local priest that becomes Patrick’s ally in his fight against the darkness that is haunting Ballymoor. And last, there’s the front page of a newspaper that wraps it to an end.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Jeff: Yes, staying focused, checking everything. I need to know if a particular expression was used at the times the story is set in. Even after I wrote the last line, I spent (actually, we spent; for Lorraine helped me a lot with that) checking and re-checking all the words, differences in American and Brit spelling (Patrick writes in American, while Wales does that in British English), slang of the times, consistencies in the story (if Patrick loses his gun in the moor, he can’t have it to defend himself later), and the hardest one: Siobhan Blair’s funny Irish brogue.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Jeff: I prefer to write stories set in places I lived or visited. The only exception is Dead Men Tell No Tales; I have never been in the Caribbean islands.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Jeff: Well, being a professional graphic artist it is natural that I push my own art to the publisher. The only book featuring a story of mine that doesn’t have a cover done by me is Grinning Skull Press’s FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Jeff: The second part: The Confession of Father Wales. It had to be written in Britsh English and I was always afraid of slipping in some ‘Americanism’.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Jeff: I always learn a lot from my books. Being obsessive about my own research I end up learning a lot of stuff. I ignored there was such a thing as ‘muder ballads’, and I was completely unaware about a group called ‘The Hellfire Club’. Reading – and writing – are good ways to expand your knowledge.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
Jeff: Interesting question, for I am a cinema geek. But while I would surely pick the right actor for the lead in a story written by someone else, I have no idea who would be the ideal guy for Patrick Conroy. However, Antonio Banderas would make for a perfect Captain Drake in my Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Jeff: Yes. Just be yourself. Don’t compare yourself to other writers, don’t read books on how to write, don’t brag when you succeed, don’t despair when you fail. While good advice is always welcome there are no set rules in writing. Everyone has their own way at it.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Jeff: Yes, no matter what you do, do it in a professional way, put passion in your stuff, don’t do it just for the money. Money can be a motivator, but it rarely is a good advisor. And it surely can’t write.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Jeff: Donald White’s OTHERPLACE.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Jeff: JAWS 2. Really. I used to read only comic books, then my aunt suggested I started reading ‘real books’ by looking for novels based on the stuff I liked. At that time I was crazy about the Jaws movies. But I couldn’t find the original one. So, I ended up reading the sequel first, and the first one next.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Jeff: I’m a weird guy. While in good company, I like to joke and be jovial. In private, with myself, I am a very dour and moody individual.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Jeff: Many. But I really wanted to meet Kat Yares in person. Our frindship was all online, due to distances. She was in Arkansas, and I in England.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Jeff: That’s my classic. Though, I don’t want a tomb, a physical place for my remains, I always say that I’d like this to be written about me: Here lies Jeffrey Kosh; for billions of years he didn’t exist, and he will not exist for the next billions. In the short time he existed he just didn’t want to be an asshole. To anyone.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Jeff: My job is my hobby. When I don’t have commissions I still create. I put my art out as pre-mades. The call to create a new image, telling a story, is something I can’t resist. Sometimes, I just get out of bed to create something that popped up in my mind. I told you, I’m weird.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Jeff: Movies. I don’t watch series anymore. My attention span is becoming limited. I’m getting old.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Jeff: Fried chicken/Black/Soundtrack composers. I have an absolute adoration for those that can have you ‘see’ a story with your ears. John Williams, Danny Elfman, Angelo Badalamenti (remember Twin Peaks?), Bill Conti, Ennio Morricone, Alan Silvestri, and many more. Then, I enjoy Country, Blues, Rock, and Oldies. The only kind of stuff I don’t dig is Rap.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Jeff: I’m not a writer, I’m a graphic artist. And a storyteller. Well, I’m doing exactly what I like. It took some time for me to finally work in the field I love, but I’m there. And I’m growing.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Jeff: I have two websites. One for the artist, and one for the storyteller.
www. Jeffreykosh.wix.com.jeffreykoshgraphics .
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