IT’S BEEN A WHILE since I did one of these.
Almost two years in fact. In the #Reid2Write series I interview people with an interesting opinion, an original voice and sometimes as in the case of my next guest, a compelling story that I’d like to shine a light on.
Coming from a small town not far from where I grew up in in Northern Ireland, he has just released his debut novel – Mr. Jones. I was lucky enough to read the original draft back in 2016. Since then, he’s been busy making the necessary edits before taking the plunge and joining the ranks of indie authors.
Without further ado, meet Jamie Stewart!
Howya Jamie! So, tell us about your book.
I’ll try without giving too much away. Mr. Jones is deceptively titled.
It is a novel about a character called Eli Donoghue who the reader meets initially at the age of twelve. Eli is the survivor of a troubled childhood and as a result has been adopted by his godparents, Kate and Ryan Wilson. He has recently moved to their hometown, Hazel, which he doesn’t think much of. It’s too small, too isolated and it isn’t his home. Then he meets Jones, though a more accurate description would be that Jones saves him from a potential grim encounter with several school bullies.
Jones isn’t like any other adult Eli has met before. He treats Eli like he is an adult, which is something he secretly feels he’s earned but you’ll have to read the book to find out why. No spoilers here. Well, little spoilers. Eli is charmed by Jones’s boisterous personality, his rude remarks and by his skill as a musician. Jones plays the guitar and subsequently offers to teach Eli. The two quickly become friends over the course of their lessons together. However, what Eli learns in these lessons are ways to overcome challenges and events that occur over the course of the novel.
The novel takes place over a ten-year period. It focuses on three separate sections of Eli’s life. In the novel they are referred to as acts. The first is when he is twelve, the second when he is seventeen and the third when he is twenty-two. The reason for this is Mr. Jones is a story about growing up and about the people that can influence that transition.
Where did you get the idea from?
The dreaded question and the honest answer to it is I have no idea. But I have to give an answer and in hindsight I think the genesis of ideas are a combination of personal interest and what if questions.
In terms of Jones, I have always been interested in how a person’s upbringing can influence the type of adult they can become, specifically the people that influence them for the negative or positive.
This spawned a question, what if a person was raised in an extremely negative environment and then removed from it. How would it affect that person? What would their life be like as they go from being a pre-teen to an adult? How would they react to other people trying to help them?
These questions are explored throughout the novel.
Why did you decide to self-publish?
I decided to self-publish because I wanted to get my novel out there.
I wanted to grow as a writer and the only way I could do that was by publishing my work in way that allowed people to provide feedback and criticism that I could use to improve upon my story telling ability.
For those on the fence/nervous about publishing a book, what advice would you give them?
I actually feel there is less to be nervous about than the traditional side of publishing as that relies on you handing your story over to other people. Your story becomes a product and you are entrusting people you don’t know to treat it with the same respect you do. Self-publishing offers you the opportunity to have complete control over how your story is presented to the world.
What else do you have in the pipeline?
I am currently working on two stories. The first is a supernatural horror that is currently a short story but I believe it will turn out to be a novel. It’s about a young girl who goes missing at a travelling amusement park and the investigation that follows. The second is a psychological thriller in the vein of Alfred Hitchcock.
I’d love to tell you more but that’s giving the game away to early.
Your Top 5 Favourite Books of all time (except your own!)
My Top 5 Favourite Books Of All Time is an impossible question to answer as its ever changing but I can tell you My Top 5 Favourite Books Of Right Now. Its kind of a cop out but my very nature is to be a tease.
1. IT by Stephen King – This one always floats around the top of my list. I’ve read it five times and on each reading I have discovered new elements and surprises in the story. It does have a nostalgic factor, particularly when it depicts the characters in their pre-teen years and everyone that has read it says this is what my friends and I got up to when we were kids. For myself that isn’t true but it is what I wished my friends and I got up to as kids, fighting clown monsters and all.
2. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – This author has an amazing ability to write a narrative that flows like poetry yet has the same break neck pace of any thriller.
3. The Fireman by Joe Hill – Joe Hill is a popular novelist but in my mind he deserves to be even more popular. His imagination has no limits and his ability to seduce a reader into a story is unparalleled.
4. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn – Everyone raves about Gone Girl but I think this novel is even better. It twists the entire formula that thrillers sometimes get trapped in dishing out and the last forty pages are mind blowing.
5. The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer – I’m not a big fan of autobiography unless there by comedies as I find there both funny and insightful. Amy Schumer’s book has both in spades.
Jamie can be found on:
Twitter – @jamiestreading