Andre Jones interview
A little introduction:
Meh - my least favourite subject …
Born in Australia to Dutch parents, but they divorced when I was about five, so moved around a hell of a lot.
(If you think you need to have a solid education to write and publish books, you’d be wrong.)
Needless to say I ended my school years when I joined the Royal Australian Navy. The first time was a short stint, but thirteen years later I rejoined the Navy, and completed almost 20 years before I finally left. In a nutshell, the Navy was the best of times, and the worst of times. And I recommend it to anyone - unless you want to be a writer. :)
I'm a reluctant runner, meaning I can do it, but why would you if you didn’t have to? And yes, I did a lot of running in the Navy.
However, I hate being a commuter on public transport more. If it’s a choice between sitting on a tram or train (I don’t do buses), I’ll jog to work .. before I retired that is.
And … I will run for charity; in 2017 I ran solo 3,400kms in 94 days across Australia, and after swearing I’d never do it again, ran solo another 5,400kms in 131 days around part of Australia. I am writing a book/memoir about that too … I think I will call it, The Reluctant Runner.
I’m now 60 - retired ‘Navy Veteran’ living in Melbourne, Australia.
Married for 36 years to a lovely Scottish lass, one daughter (a lawyer), currently one old British Short Hair cat and one young Jack Russell and is my excuse to get outside more.
I also draw, want to get into pottery again .. but satisfied spending my time writing for now.
When did your love of books begin?
Didn’t everyone (writers) fall in love with books as a kid?
As said above, my childhood was crap - perhaps that’s why I immersed myself in books - it was a good way to escape childhood trauma.
Still, (no doubt showing my age) but I grew up with Enid Blyton and the like, then onto Piers Anthony, Ursula Le Guin and Anne McCaffrey, Phillip K Dick, Robert Heinlien and Isaac Asimov.
When did you start to have the wish to become an author?
Before I joined the Navy (for the second time) I was designing a roleplaying game. I developed new races, world history, culture, religions and magic systems. There wasn’t much opportunity to roleplay on a warship, so in my quiet time I decided to write about it instead. That was when I was about 30. I started writing late, and I don’t recall ever thinking seriously about writing before then. I take my hat off to those who want to do this from a young age. I think the internet and having access to the world at your finger tips has certainly made it more feasible for them.
How have you found the process for becoming an author?
The learning curve is a vertical line!
There are different types of ‘authors’ out there; those that take their work seriously - spend the money, get professional covers, editing, formatting etc; and those that think they can cut corners, do everything on the cheap, amateur covers, cheap edits (or none) and expect to make lots of $$. It doesn’t work, and they fill the internet with trash, thereby making it harder for others.
However, for the serious authors, writing is only a small part of being an author, there is also the marketing, formatting, and networking. Again, the internet has made it somewhat easier - though any aspiring author has to contend with the myriad of other aspiring authors.
Finding a traditional publisher/agent that will accept your work is difficult - I know. I gave up and went independent after pushing myself beyond the mindset of self-published authors ‘couldn’t make the grade’.
What would you say to those wanting to become an author?
Your first work will be crap, probably even your second (unless perhaps you’ve had professional training/degree etc).
Writing a book is like being a marathon runner. You can’t simply decide to write a book and expect it to happen overnight. It takes time and patience, and you’ll have to do it over and over and over until its right. Just like training for long runs.
Have a thick skin - your work WILL get criticised.
Don’t rely solely on friends and family to determine whether your writing is good or not.
Find beta-readers who will give you honest (polite/positive) feedback.
Read more. Know your genre/s. Know your audience.
Also, there are sharks out there who WILL feed on your ego. They will fill your head with promises, take your cash, then forget you.
Self-publishing is one thing. Any ‘publisher’ who charges you to print and distribute your book is a vanity press. Stay away, unless you have lots of money to throw away
Tell us about your book/books:
Ah, my favourite subject!
I have a complete epic fantasy series - The Seven Portals series. ‘City of Bridges’, ‘Shadow of the Tower’ and ‘Ripples in Time’.
Although there are three books at the moment (a trilogy) there is so much more scope with my world and its history and myriad of characters, I have plans to expand the series in the future - once it starts selling.
As you’d guess from my reading interests I like both fantasy and science fiction.
When I first began to seriously consider writing ‘a book’ I decided I had to include both genres so I included some of my favourite topics; my fantasy world (obviously), but also time travel, dystopian societies/future Earth, AI to name a few.
Needless to say, my ‘book’ was too big, thus one became three.
Once finished, I realised I enjoyed writing more than I anticipated, so another series began - something different; urban fantasy.
The Death Wave Chronicles is a six-book series covering myth, pseudo science, weird science, fringe science in a slightly modern day Earth. At this time, RELIC and DRUID are published; SPHINX is 75% done and should be out early 2022.
I am what they call ‘Wide’. I am not solely beholden to Amazon, so you can find my books on your favourite ebook site.
What do you love about the writing/reading community?
‘A rising tide lifts all ships.’
While the writing tends to be a solo pursuit, you need readers and a supportive network to get you through the low times. There WILL be low times. You will think your work is crap because of negative reviews, slow /no sales or interest.
Only fellow writers understand these things and if you network and develop genuine friendships/contacts they will help you through it - to see the light, and that all things aren’t as bad as you expect.
Every experienced writer has been there and worked through it and they didn’t do it alone.
What happens when you get knocked down? You learn to get up again. At first, you’ll need help, (maybe even later) but the support network - your reader base and your fellow writers - are there for you.
If you could say anything to your readers what would it be?
Buy my books! But if they are my readers, then I guess they’ve already bought them…
Seriously, I’d say to them to realise the difficulties and pitfall with writing and publishing. If you don’t like a book, or sections of it, by all means criticise, but if you can do it positive manner, all the better.
Reviews help sell!
People are reluctant to part their money on unknowns - this is especially true for new authors. Your honest (and positive) review will go a long way to encouraging a potential reader to also enjoy the world you just escaped to.
Where can people connect with you?
I have a website here: https://andrejonesauthor.site (postage in Australia is free - and the books will be signed)