Today’s spotlight serves a double purpose. Not only do I get to introduce you to fellow Crazy Ink author Jim Ody, but I also get to announce the release of his newest book, …Just South of Heaven: A Caper and Dice Mystery.
An Interview with the Author
- Has writing always been a passion of yours?
Most definitely. I’ve written stories for as long as I can remember. One of my first books, written when I was eight, was one about a haunted house. It included all the classic monsters and had secret passages, and booby-traps. Interestingly, my first novel, Lost Connections (whilst not having any monsters in it), is based around a large house with hidden corridors, puzzles and traps!
- At what age did you begin to write seriously?
I would say at around the age of twenty. I had progressed from song-writing, and wrote a novel called Dark Retribution. Then, I began to write the next book …Just South of Heaven. I shelved it on three floppy disks until a year ago when I re-wrote it, and finally released it in March 2019.
- What is your favorite genre to write and does that differ from the genre you like to read?
I like to write either observatory comedy, or twisted psychological thrillers. I either want to make you laugh, or make you think! These are the genres I enjoy reading too.
(Interviewer interrupts: When I’m not reading fantasy, psychological thrillers are my next favorite!)
- Where does your inspiration to write come from?
Inspiration is all around us. Sometimes I can sit with a blank page and a story will just write itself, other times it’s born of an idea that blossoms and grows. I like to twist readers perspective and give them something they’re not expecting.
- How does the generation you belong to impact your writing style, or does it?
I think everything around me impacts how I write. My stereotypical humor for comedy comes from what is currently topical. My ideas will be influenced by what has, and hasn’t already been written, or indeed what is, or isn’t considered commercial. I don’t like to follow the trends, but I’ll understand a market, and tailor my style accordingly. There is a fine line between being unique, and not being commercial, as an author I have to find the middle-ground.
6.What does your writing schedule look like in a typical week?
Monday – Friday, I will typically write for two hours of an evening. Saturday is often my day off, and Sunday is open to writing in the day or at night. Within this there’s additional time added for marketing, which I try and do every day. I think it’s important to remain busy.
- Are you a pantser or a plotter?
I’m a total pantser. I get bored easily, so at times when I’ve tried to plot out a story or book, I’ve grown tired of it prematurely, and been distracted by an idea for a new book. And then I still change things. I like to remain creatively loose. I have a vague idea, and I let it evolve on its own. I like twists in my writing, but I never pressure myself into coming up with them. I’m safe in the knowledge that at some point within the writing process, my mind will kick out something that will really excite me, and completely change the perspective of the book for the better.
- Can you name an event in your life that has made the biggest impact on where you are today?
For me there have been many. That point when I self-published my first book, for instance. That was when I stepped out into the literary world as an author. I was desperate to be accepted; vulnerably and green. Then it was when I was signed to my first publisher, I felt the acceptance and this gave me the confidence to push on the next level. And these aren’t the only occasions. Receiving great reviews; or messages from readers telling you how much they love your books; or being name-dropped by established authors; being thanked in the back of great books by fellow authors; right up to being asked advice from brand new authors – each of these moments hold a special place for me, and make me thankful of what I’ve achieved, and what I could still achieve. Luck is an illusion, and often an excuse we use when we fail.
- What are you working on right now?
Too much! I have two short-stories I’ve signed up for in two anthologies. I’ve just sent out a YA novella to my BETA readers before I send it to my publisher for an August release. I am then starting on my first collaboration which is really exciting! I also want to start on the follow up to …Just South of Heaven which is called Missing Miss Legless. Plus a lot more too!
- What do you find are the most effective means of promotion?
Being mentioned in book groups, word of mouth and reviews. All of the things out of my control! Personally, I’ve found paying for advertising, and marketing to barely make even on sales verses money spent. I do have a Promo Group, and when they hit groups with my book links it works so much better than when I do it myself. People are very cynical of an author promoting their own stuff, and there can be a fine line between dedicated self-promotion and desperation.
- What advice do you have for someone just beginning his or her journey into writing?
You should read as many books within the genre you wish to write in order to understand what people like. You also need to write as much as possible and find your own voice. If you want to make money then study the market. What is it that people are buying, and why? I write psychological/thrillers, and one of the best-selling sub-genres is police procedural, however I made a conscious decision to stay away from it as I felt I couldn’t offer anything new. What I can offer, are stories within stories, twists and turns and plots that come full-circle.
- What piece of fiction has made the biggest impact in your writing career and why?
To narrow this down to one, would be like asking me which of my children is my favorite, or which song do I like best! I’ve been influenced on many books, and films. The art of story-telling isn’t always one that can be taught. I’ve learnt a lot from Enid Blyton books from when I was young. They introduced me to the art of simplistic mystery. Richard Laymon, and Stephen King taught me how you could mix up horror with humor. Joe R Lansdale, helped me to add sentimentality to a story, and yet still be considered dark fiction. I think it’s incredibly important to understand what you like before you draw on what works best for you. If you don’t love your writing, then how can you expect others to love it too?
- What final thoughts would you leave potential readers with?
- What is your favorite story you’ve written/read? Tell us about it.
This is another one that is hard to pin-point down. I don’t mean this as egotistical, but merely as I write what I like, and I edit, and re-edit until I am satisfied. Therefore, I like virtually all of my work the same, even though the books and short-stories span various genres. Some will be because of the unexpected twist, others because of the complex and layered storyline. Then there is a book like …Just South of Heaven which is just pure fun. It’s not meant to be a literary masterpiece, just complete escapism and entertainment. Whereas, A Cold Retreat is slightly more complex, and has some incredible deep and serious undertones. Finally, my novel Mr Watcher, is (arguably) my best written book to date.
- What three things must you have on hand to write?
I don’t really need anything except my laptop and quietness. I have three kids, so that latter can prove to be a challenge. That’s why I write at night.
- Where do you see yourself/your writing in 5 years?
I’d love to be writing full-time, however as a realest I know this to be unlikely. So, in five-years-time I hope to have released over twenty books, and to have made a name for myself.
- Everyone has a dream mate. What’s yours look like? Do you ever expect to find him/her?
I’ve always lived my life predominantly alone. Those around me tolerate me to a point, but I don’t think we always need others. I guess a lot of my time is spent living a number of lives I make up for myself. In that respect, for a short period I can be anyone.
- If you could be anything other than what you are, what occupation would you choose?
It would have to be creative. I love the idea of photography. I’m a very visual person and take an active role in coming up with the concept and colors for my book covers. Plus I design a lot of my own marketing.
- Describe yourself in three words:
Imaginative, focused & unsatisfied
The New Release
Just South of Heaven
By Jim Ody
Buy link: http://mybook.to/JustSouthCI
Life is full of ups and downs. First Caper got sacked from the only job he’s ever known, and then he finds himself in bed with an incredibly gorgeous woman. But she isn’t who he thinks she is.
She has stolen Caper’s little fishy friend Scaly Dave and is threatening to do bad things to him if Caper doesn’t locate an elusive antique watch. She also failed to mention she was married to a murderer recently released from prison.
Caper and his best-mate Dice set off to Cornwall to find the watch and save the fish. However, a number of characters are also on the hunt for it too, including three hit-men, one of which has narcolepsy, and three members of the unofficial Official Elvis Lives! Fanclub.
What should’ve have been the start of a new life is now a race against time to stay alive. Every turn they take seems even more fishy and a little further than just south of heaven…
About the Author:
Jim was first published in an English School Textbook in 1987. He won a competition to draw a dog-walking machine. Having won an art competition the year before, he felt that at the age of eleven he had peaked and consequently retired from the world of art.
For 10 years Jim wrote for a number of websites reviewing and interviewing bands in his own unique way, as well as contributing dark poems and comedic features.
He writes dark psychological/thrillers that have endings that you won’t see coming, and favours stories packed with wit. He has written five novels all released by Crazy Ink, with more to follow on this year. He will be co-writing a dark thriller in the summer with a talented female author, the first of many projects on the horizon. Not happy to just write novels, he has also contributed to well over a dozen anthologies that span over a number of genres.
Jim has a very strange sense of humour and is often considered a little odd. When not writing he will be found playing the drums, watching football and eating chocolate. He lives with his long-suffering wife and three beautiful children in Swindon, Wiltshire UK.
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/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/jimodyauthor/Meet @Jim_Ody_Author in this exclusive #interview and read all about his just released novel #JustSouthofHeaven. #comedy #crime #writerslife Click To Tweet