Featured Author

Featured Author: D.I. Jolly

Wednesday Spotlight

Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tinpot Publishing
Publication Date: July 4, 2016
Pages: 397
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Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was born and raised in Durban South Africa. Youngest of five children (of a mine yours and ours family) I wanted to be a writer since I was Seven. Well technically anyway I wanted to be the fictional character Gabriel Knight, who was a writer. But it stuck.

Writing being a job that doesn’t really pay and one that can be done from anywhere in the world, I’ve also lived in six different countries and done more jobs than I care to think about most of the time. Currently though I live in Berlin, Germany and really like my job.

What inspired you to write?

Well as I said the desire to write was there from a young age but for direct inspiration, my first novel started out as a longwinded joke e-mail conversation. I’d kept promising to send an update on my adventures and when I finally had the time to settle down and write something out come this slightly surreal attempt at humour, detective story. Which I really like, so kept going. After not very long I realised that I had over 40 000 words so decided to push on and turn it into a full length novel. And honestly, finishing something like that and realising that you actually do have it in you is a massive confidence boost and great source of inspiration. From then on I knew that I was capable of doing it and loved doing it so I just kept on. Now I’m writing my fourth novel.

What inspired your novel?

I’d been thinking about werewolves for a while, I’d always like them and felt like they got a largely unfair deal in modern stories. Cinema particularly, love them as the monster. But I like wolves, and they’re incredibly caring and family driven creatures so the idea of a human and a wolf becoming one and being a murderous monster never really made sense to me. Then one day while waiting for my sister I started running through some ideas in my head of a boy and his sister and how they’d interact if one was a werewolf, and it was more the family secret than a horror movie. After seeing my sister I then had a nice long three hour drive where I was able to listen to loud music and take the story back to where I thought it would begin and start moving forward from there. When I arrived I had the story in my head and just needed to write it. Which took two years.

What is the genre?

Mostly Human is far more an Urban Fantasy than anything else.

What draws you to this genre?

I ended up here more on the nature of the story I wanted to write than setting out to write something in this genre.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

I generally start with a beginning and a clear aim of where I want my characters to get to, then work out how they get there. So I knew I wanted to start my characters out as children, and to end up with a fair amount of freedom and good life style. So I started to think about how I could accomplish that, and then what they’d need to do and who they’d need to be at a younger age to make the achievements and outcomes make sense.

What inspired your protagonist?

I think most people who know me say that Alex is the me I wish I was, but I only slightly disagree. Lycanthropy aside, I always thought of Alex as the son I’d like to have. All through writing him I always thought more about how I’d feel his actions from the outside rather than what I’d do in the same situation. But that might just be the by-product of writing younger characters.

 What inspired your antagonist?

There isn’t one really, or not as a person. Most of what drives the plot and opposes the protagonist is the situation and himself, as he pushes back against the cards he’s been dealt.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

I’ve always worried that my writing is very obvious, so I struggle to build tension for a reveal and endlessly re-write sections like that so as to not give things away too soon.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

As bad as this might sound I really liked writing the sadder parts of the book. No spoilers but there is a part in the middle which is a very key point in driving the plot but I really set it in make it as close to reaching a cold hand into your chest to rest against you heart as I possible could.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

I’m a part time writer, I’d love to be a full time writer and in my normal life I actually work in marketing for a publishing company.

What are you currently reading?

Ready Player-One – Ernest Cline
Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
Esper Files – Egan Brass

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

I’ve probably read more Jim Butcher than any other author and I really like his work. But I was always inspired by people like Robert Rankin, who taught me I could write about literally anything, and Anne Rice because her writing is beautiful. But a favourite? I don’t know…. Jane Jensen?

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

In no particular order: (Subject to change )

The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
The Suburban Book of the Dead – Robert Rankin
Changes – Jim Butcher
Good Omens – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

What are your future projects, if any?

I’m currently working on Mostly Human 2 and since the launch of Mostly Human I formed a writing club who meets once a week and read out short stories and poems that we’ve written over the week based on the chosen topic. With an aim to collect all the stories and poems into an anthology and publish that.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

Facebook is the best way to do it. I have a slight presence on Twitter but things might take longer there. If anyone wants to come onto my Facebook page and say hello and have a chat I’m more than happy to say hello. Might take a while if I’m at work though.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 

Practice, and constructive criticism. Never listen to anyone who tells you your work is rubbish without being able to explain it. That being said don’t listen to anyone who tells you they love it without explanation either. Find friends who are willing to tell you the good the bad and the ugly. Then when you calm down and apologise for punching them, go back over your work with their words in mind and really look at it.

Paintings are a single coat of paint and books aren’t written in the first draft. But you will get better with practice.


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