Welcome to my blog interview.
I am pleased to introduce the amazing Jim Webster
Hello Jim. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Well, I’m getting to the stage where calling myself fifty something is stretching the truth a little, I’m married with three daughters, have no real dress sense, or so I am informed. I farm, am a freelance journalist, writer and whatever.
I’ve been a reader of SF and Fantasy since the 1970s and early on discovered the writing of Jack Vance, and he taught me that if they aren’t the same genre, there’s a very broad fuzzy borderline between them.
I’ve written six novels, four fantasy and two SF, and I’m currently publishing a collection of novellas covering the antics of one of the fantasy characters I created.
I live in South Cumbria, England, and frankly why would anybody live anywhere else? Between the hills and the sea, with the best of both.
What bought you to the world of writing?
Frankly, and unromantically, it was the need to eat regular meals. If you’re trying to support a family on a small farm, you have to have as second income. So I drifted into freelance journalism. People kept saying I should write something more ‘permanent’ and when I got a chance I wrote ‘Swords for a Dead Lady’. Once you start writing, stopping is the difficult bit.
What is your first book and what do you think of it now?
My first book was ‘Swords for a Dead Lady.’ I confess that I’m still proud of it, still think it’s a cracking good tale, and it’s still my baby. I took the hero from that and am continuing his adventures in the novellas.
What type of books do you write and do they fulfil your reader’s needs?
I write Fantasy and SF. I’m not precious, I hope I present the reader with a good story, well told, that enables them to escape for a while. Reading a good Fantasy of SF book should be almost like taking a holiday, without all the faff of packing or dealing with airlines.
Would you like to feature a book, if so which one? Tell us about it?
I’ll mention the latest, ‘Woman in Love.’ https://www.amazon.co.uk/Woman-Love-Port-Naain-Intelligence-ebook/dp/B01H04MHK4
It’s a novella, about 20,000 words and it’s one of a collection. What I did was write, edit and set up for publishing six of them. You can read them in any order, (a bit like the Sherlock Holmes stories.)
They follow the exploits of my favourite hero, Benor, who is living in the city of Port Naain. Each story is self-contained with a mystery or crime to be solved.
In the current one, to quote the blurb, “Asked to look for a missing husband, Benor finds that the female of the species is indeed more deadly than the male.”
How long does it take you to write your first draft?
Depends of how long I’ve got and what else I have to do. I have written 75,000 words in a month. But other books have taken longer because life gets in the way.
Do you plot or not, if so why?
Yes, but on the hoof. I have a basic outline in my head. But the detail, the twists and the turns, I work out as I’m going along. I’ll take a walk and whilst walking I’ll ponder an episode, work out motivations and suchlike. So during writing the plot can twist and turn no end.
Do you write in 1st or 3rd person, or have you do both?
Normally 3rd person. I’ve done stuff in the first person but never a book
How do you edit your work? Do you leave your draft alone for a while or edit as you write?
I edit as I write. I’ll often start work by reading yesterday’s work and correcting it. I’ll also go back and change bits so they fit with what is now happening.
But when I’ve ‘finished’ I’ll put the book down for three to six months and then come back to it to edit it. Then it goes to my professional editor
What type of people/readers do you market your books to?
Persons of infinite good taste, wit and perspicacity. Anybody found reading one of my books immediately becomes not merely more attractive, but it improves their credit score.
On a more prosaic level, I think that the majority of my readers, or those who get in touch with me, are ladies of mature taste.
Do you self-publish or have you worked with an Agent/Publisher
Both; I’ve dealt with small publishers and feel that for them the business model is broken. They depend for their survival on one of their authors breaking into the big time, and effectively helping to fund everybody else. But when an author breaks through into the big time, they allow themselves to be lured away to join the stable of one of the bigger companies.
How do you promote your writing?
Badly. I only remembered I had to promote this book a fortnight before it was launched.
I tend to do blog tours and mention it casually on Facebook.
Where can we buy your books?
The ebooks are available on pretty much every format. The paperbacks are available through bookstores but you’ll have to order. The best way to get the paperbacks is through Amazon, for example https://www.amazon.co.uk/Learning-Hard-Trade-Jim-Webster/dp/1785382233/
Who are your favourite authors?
Jack Vance undoubtedly. Cordwainer Smith, but of modern writers I’d mention Will Macmillian-Jones, (I love his Banned Underground series,) and M.T.McGuire
What other hobbies do you have?
Military history, wargaming, walking
A short piece from the story.
Tallis said thoughtfully, “Bald as an egg? There used to be a fashion amongst young men about town for shaving your head entirely. About ten years back. Some people got their heads tattooed as well but I thought it had faded away.” He smiled and then declaimed quietly;
“As bald as an egg
Was Philinious Begg
Both his suit and his mistress were brash
Some would not quail
To tell you his tale
But I’m a poet, not a sweeper of trash.”
Benor stood up, “A friend of yours?”
Benor was intrigued, “A fellow artist then?”
Tallis shook his head. “Alas no, he was a librettist, a composer of romantic ballads whose words are sung by drunken stevedores to their lady loves. Purveyors of sheet music fawn upon him and compete to shower him with gold.”
Benor nodded, he was beginning to understand the ways of the literary fraternity.
One of my characters, Tallis Steelyard, keeps a blog.
I also have one, but I make a point of not doing author stuff on it J
My ‘Land of the three seas’ has a Facebook page where I tend to put stuff
And of course I’ve got an Amazon author page