Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Jon Reeves – I am 46 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from a small town in the middle of England called Rushden. In the 60’s, 70’and 80’s, it was centre of the boot and shoe industry in England with factories on most street corners. But they’ve all been converted into flats now and not much else has happened there since.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
My only real education was, and is, what I see and do every day. School was a place for me to get bullied by other kids and teachers alike, which I reacted to by doing my best to break as many of the schools laws as I could each day. My wife is from Zimbabwe and is the best human being I have ever met. I spend a lot of my time looking after my elderly parents who are a bit annoying to be honest, but I love them none-the-less. I live for music.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Currently in the process of publishing the sequel to my novel ‘My Name Is Tom’. Its set around 5 years after Tom finishes and is mostly set in Australia.Also about three quarters of the way through writing the third book in the trilogy.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing stories for as long as I can remember – mainly for my own and my friends’ amusement. Then I realised that other than music, writing gives me a huge amountof satisfaction in my life, so I decided to take it more seriously.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Right after I first realised that I wasn’t going to be a musician. So, a few days ago. But tomorrow, I may well write a song that makes me reconsider. And then the next day, I’ll be a writer again. I basically just like being creative.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My book is very autobiographical, so my own life and the lives of those who have always surrounded me inspired me more than anything. Music is a constant theme through my life and more often than not I will talk about it for several hours before I realise that no one is listening. I listen to albums more than singles, as I see them as a story of where that band were when they wrote it.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Not really sure. It just came to me. I suppose I wanted something that described the book, but as there are many subjects covered, the only consistent was the main character, Tom. And that’s his name. I wish I could be more specific, but I can’t.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My writing style is indicative of the way me and my friends have always talked to each other. We all like to think we are extremely funny, but often people are laughing at us and not with us. But either way, as long as they’re laughing, it’s all good.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
A lot of it is based on my own experiences. Sometimes loosely based on events, sometimes as well as I can remember them (you’ll know what I mean by that if you read the book), and some of it is completely fictional. Maybe, at times, Tom is the person that I wished I was back then, and sometimes the person that I wished I wasn’t.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
My new book begins in England, then moves onto Thailand and finally, Australia.So, the accuracy of the story relies on my own travels around those places, but My Name Is Tom is not reliant on any travelling, other than within a few miles of where I grew up.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The picture on my front cover of My Name Is Tom was taken by a friend of mine as I perused the records in a shop called ‘Generation Records’ in New York. The publishers came up with the rest of it.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, to take comfort in your own thoughts and love your music. More than anything I want people to laugh and hopefully go out and search out the music mentioned in my novels.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I love Irvine Welsh as a novelist. I tend to read more factual books than anything else, usually about crime. But more than any novels, I love a good film script. In particular those of Danny Boyle, Shane Meadows, Martin Scorsese and Joel and Ethan Cohen.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My closest friend, best man at my wedding, and taker of the picture on the front cover of My Name Is Tom – which he is constantly threatening to sue me over,affectionately known as Clarkey, although his real name is Scott – has always been my biggest supporter and is always the first to read anything that I write.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do,but I also have a well-developed career away from writing. As my writing is largely based on my own experiences (so far), I’m not sure that I would want to be sat behind a laptop for the rest of my life. I certainly didn’t dream of doing what I do now for a living when I was growing up, but it pays the bills and keeps me off the streets.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I’m very proud of it.Although a couple of the characters have caused some of my friends to ask some uncomfortable questions as they suspect that they are the inspiration behind them. But I still wouldn’t change it. They’re big boys and girls – they can take it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learnt how much of a buzz I get from writing. I’ve always enjoyed it, but when writing this novel and the follow up (and currently writing the follow up to that), it was almost like a religious feeling that I got, and am getting, from it.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
The book tells the story of Tom from birth, through his teen years and up till he’s around 25, so I suppose Robert De Niro is out of the question. I like Thomas Turgoose from This Is England, but even he is getting a bit old to play Tom now. So I’m not really sure – maybe he could be animated.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
My favourite part of writing is once the main story is finished – usually around 20,000 or so words less than the finished article -I like to read it many times and develop the story and the characters as much as is required, and sometimes more than is required, but all in the name of comedy.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Listen to the Beatles more. But if you already are doing that, listen to Joy Division more and if you’re already doing that, listen to New Order more – I won’t go on, but you get the general idea.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Currently reading the second Alan Partridge book by Steve Coogan. Personally I think he is the best comedy character to have ever existed.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Yep, Herbie Goes Bananas, although I can’t remember anything about it. I then didn’t read for a while and the next book was The Shining, so quite a contrast there.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Most things have the potential to evoke either emotion in me. Sometimes I laugh inappropriately, but never offensively. Pretty much everything has the potential to make me cry. I haven’t been able to listen to David Bowie without crying since he died – doesn’t stop me, though
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Several. Although, as I rule, I always think that if I met someone I admire, it might not go as well as I would like it too, as they would more than likely not live up to the picture postcard image I have of them. But if I decided to take that gamble, those people would be – Ghandi, John Lennon, George Harrison, Robert De Niro, Ian Curtis, Nelson Mandela, Morrissey, Paul Weller, Robert Shaw and Judge Judy. To be honest, I would rather not meet any of them.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Playing, listening, discovering, talking about, dictating to people about, being a know it all about, music. And Cricket.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love mainly British comedy like Alan Partridge, Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, and Father Ted. I also love the films of The Cohen Brothers, Danny Boyle, Martin Scorsese and Shane Meadows. In particular Fargo, Goodfellas, Trainspotting and This Is England. The most influential film of my life is Quadrophenia.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I like most food, the spicier the better. My favourite colour is misty buff. Music? I’m glad you asked – in chronological order of influence on my life. The Beatles, The Sex Pistols, Joy Division, The Cure, New Order, The Smiths, A Tribe Called Quest, Radiohead,Interpol.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would be a spy. Or a dentist.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Here lies Jon Reeves – Born July 1971, died March 2452 of a broken record collection.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My website is www.jonreevesnovels.com
‘My Name Is Tom’ on Facebook