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 Jim Ody, and I’m the wrong side of Forty.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from Swindon, in Wiltshire. I was born and raised on a farm deep in the countryside.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I work as a Business Analyst (essentially a problem solver). I’m from a long line of farmers, and the first for a handful of generations not to follow in my ancestor’s footsteps. The world has changed, and the farming industry has all but died. My father is a wise man, and I was encouraged from an early age by him, to do something different.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
With me the news is constant. I released my latest book in March. I also have a YA novel being released in August, followed by a dark crime book in January. Along with that, I have another novel written which is looking for a suitable home to release it, and I’ve just started co-writing a novel with a wonderful author.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always written stories. I like to write and entertain. At school, I’d write my answers into stories, however it was the invention of email that I realised I had a quick outlet to entertain! I quickly became known around the office for my creative and amusing emails. I soon got into writing for websites, specifically reviewing bands for a music website. I did that for ten years, where I was often quoted in Press Releases, saw a number of great free gigs, and interviewed some wonderful bands. I had no desire to get into journalism, and soon the pull and attraction of focusing on writing novels was too much for me to ignore! I’ve not looked back in anger since.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Only upon release of my first book.Even then because I self-published it, I don’t think I seriously considered myself a writer until my first publisher picked up my first two books to re-release. The knowledge of someone within the industry enjoying your work enough to finance it, is an incredibly flattering thing.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I just love reading. My attitude has always been that if I enjoy something then I want to have a go at it. I often question whether or not I can do something myself. I’ve played instruments, and written and recorded songs. I play football. I’ve drawn pictures, and done martial arts. I take to most things quite naturally, but being an author is the thing I think I actual have a gift for.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Sometimes, I spend a little time coming up with titles, and others just fall out of my mind. One of the most interesting ones is from my most recent book, ‘…Just South of Heaven’. It just came to me one day and stuck. The book was originally written in first draft over twenty years ago, so the title has remained throughout that time. The book is about finding a pocket watch that in the cellar of a club called Heaven, but for me it also means the happy-go-lucky attitude of the protagonist Caper.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I have a gritty and poetic style with an underlining dark humour. I never set out to have a unique style, but I think I am a hybrid of classic and contemporary. I love to mix in challenging words with street slang. Also, whilst I never set out to do it, my books more often than not have a twist to the story. I love to have a face-value fun to my stories, but with an intellectual back-story intertwined throughout. A little something for everyone, if you will.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I like to write about people, and how their actions are the product of the experiences in their lives. So a lot of the feelings and actions I have either experienced, or know of people who have experienced them. The storylines are for the most part made up. However, in my book, ‘A Cold Retreat’ I appear (unnamed) as a character, and everything about what I do and say actually happened. I have never disclosed which character it is and am still waiting for someone to correctly guess!
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
No, so far I have based my books on places I’ve been, so draw on those experiences. I think it’s important to make places recognisable to people who live, or have visited that place.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My publisher has talented designers who create the covers, however I will mock up my ideas, and have heavy input into them. My publisher will go back and forth between me and the designers until I am happy. It’s great as I really feel a part of the process. You don’t always get that with some publishers.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My novels are full of subtle messages. Often, and specifically in my novel ‘The Place That Never Existed’, I make a number of hints as to what the twist might be. There are a number of characters that make cameo appearances in a number of my books.
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?
There are too many great new writers for me to mention! I have many favourite authors, but I specifically like Dean Koontz and Caroline Kepnes. Mr Koontz, because I love the way he crosses many genres; and Ms Kepnes because of her brash and gritty narrative.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I have been incredibly lucky. When my first, self-published and poorly edited, version of ‘Lost Connections’ first came out, it grabbed the attention of a number of people. Shelagh Corker attacked it with much ferocity, however because I thanked her, she re-edited it for me. She has edited virtually everything I’ve written since then!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would love it to be. I am a realist, and understand that unless you can unleash a best seller from nowhere, or have a movie adaptation, then the chances are slim. That said, with hard work and a number of good quality releases, then it’s still possible. If you believe, you achieve…
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, …Just South Of Heaven is the first book in a comedy/crime series. It’s not meant to be as clever as the other books, but rather more a form of entertainment. How can you take a book seriously that has a kidnapping of a pet fish, a woman with a milkman fetish, a hitman with narcolepsy and three Elvis impersonators in it? It’s not something Shakespeare would’ve dared do…
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learnt that my sense of humour is even more bizarre than I first thought. I also realised that these types of books for me, are the easiest, and most fun to write.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I’m a huge Christian Slater fan, so I’d have him playing the role of Caper, I think that would be fun.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Read loads, write loads, be bold, be different but be yourself.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Just a huge thank you. Without readers, I’d just be a strange lonely author writing for himself!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am currently reading Simon Farrant’s first book ‘The Crucifix’.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, I was a huge reader as a child. I devoured everything from Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and Willard Price.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
In contrast, I laugh at most things and virtually never cry. The last time I cried was probably when my football team lost an important match many years ago. The harsh reality of supporting a team with no desire or sporting abilities.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I’d love to meet James Patterson. Whatever your thoughts on him, he is an incredible talent. He is able to write and come up with fast-paced thrillers, and is a great businessman. Understanding that people wanted shorter chapters, and less descriptions, but fast paced and original. He started a trend and we’ve seen virtually all thrillers blueprint it as best they can.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I play football, the drums and love reading and watching movies.I have three kids who keep me busy, angry and proud too.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love documentaries, and nostalgic, rom-coms, horror movies, especially ifr it has a twist. Plus I love watching football and boxing.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I love Fish & Chips or Chinese but hate anything remotely spicy. You can include salt, pepper and garlic in a list of things I won’t put in my mouth. I won’t entertain curry. There is nothing I like about it whatsoever.
Colour-wise I favour marine colours like blue and green, and bluey-green, and greeny-blue…When it comes to music I have an eclectic taste. I love some 70s rock, I love some 80s pop, but am a fan of nostalgic hair-metal, I love hip-hop, and pop-punk. So Alice Cooper, to Bon Jovi, Beastie Boys to Blink 182.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I’d love to direct movies, or be a photographer. It would have to be something creative. I love to build a world that others can get lost in. I’m very visual.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Dwelling in a sea of regret, I would think. Maybe take the kids to the beach where they’re happy, that would be enough for me. Or if I couldn’t find them, then perhaps I’d drink myself stupid in a strip club… but probably the kids thing…
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
A creative genius who was a little bit odd.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Lost Connections: http://mybook.to/LostConnections
The Place That Never Existed: http://mybook.to/PlaceNeverExistedjo
A Cold Retreat – http://mybook.to/AColdRetreat
Beneath The Whispers: http://smarturl.it/BeneathTheWhispers
…Just South of Heaven: http://mybook.to/JustSouthCI
My other links are:
Jim Ody’s Spooky Circus Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1372500609494122/
Amazon Author Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jim-Ody/e/B019A6AMSY/