Welcome all. Thanks for dropping by again.
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing A.J Griffiths-Jones
Hi A.J. Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
- When did you first realize that you wanted to become a writer?
From a very early age. I used to write plays for my cousins & I to act out at family gatherings and, in my teens, I used to fill exercise books with stories that I’d made up.
2. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I am interested in writing across a wide spectrum of genres from Victorian crime to cookery books. I love challenges and writing out of my comfort zone enables me to push myself to new heights. Ultimately though I would like my work to be adapted for film or a T.V. series.
3. Which writers inspire you?
I love the characters created by Alexander McCall Smith, the imaginative stories told by Kazuo Ishiguro & the timeless genius of Charles Dickens. I never tire of reading anything by these authors.
4. So, what have you written? My first book (published in May 2015) was ‘Prisoner 4374’, the autobiographical tale of convicted poisoner & Jack the Ripper suspect, Dr. Thomas Neill Cream. I am immensely proud to say that it won the ‘Jack the Ripper Book of the Year Award 2016.’ I have also written four cosy mysteries, ‘The Villagers’, ‘The Seasiders’, ‘The Congregation’ and ‘The Circus’ (due to be published next month). I am also a regular feature writer for ‘The Dagger’ a true crime magazine.
5. What are you working on at the minute?
I am currently researching a second Victorian crime book and from May, I will be writing the final book in my mystery series. I generally work on two books at once.
6. Why do you write?
Writing is my passion. In 2014 I suffered a stroke and was unable to work. Writing has given me my life back and inspired me to explore new avenues which I might never have dared to do had I not become a published author. It’s taught me not to take anything for granted.
7. Where do your ideas come from?
Anywhere & everywhere. I am always jotting down ideas for new books, sometimes I simply wake up in the middle of the night with a thought or storyline, and of course I’m also inspired by historical crime and mysteries. If there’s a story, I’ll find it!
8. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I always run through the plot in my mind like a screenplay before I commence writing. This process usually takes about a month. This ensures that when I actually come to put the work together, I can see my characters clearly, hear them speaking, know how they interact with each other and how they live in the environment around them. If I’m working on a period setting, I always research the era thoroughly too.
9. How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I’m learning to listen to my readers. Reviews show that my work is becoming more and more popular as my most recent books come out & I’m becoming more confident in my work as time goes on.
10. What is the hardest and easiest things about writing?
The hardest thing for me is actually switching off. I’m a terrible insomniac & sleep very few hours. Sometimes I have to listen to my body and take a break. The easiest thing is creating my characters. Once the scene is set, they just seem to fall into place, which I’m very grateful for.
11. Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I read at least one book a week, sometimes more. I’ve recently discovered Scandinavian crime writer Camilla Lackberg and I’ve been enjoying her thrillers immensely. I’m also a big fan of Paulo Coelho, the morals & lessons beneath his stories are quite moving.
12. What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
I don’t have experience of being self-published, as I’ve been lucky enough to have been offered contracts by two very good publishers. I would imagine that the down-side of self-publishing is the amount of time that one would have to dedicate to marketing.
13. Do you have any advice for other budding authors?
I believe that there is a reader for everyone. Don’t be disheartened by negative reviews or comments about your work, just strive to improve. Get yourself out there and somebody somewhere will love your work.
14. How do you relax?
I love cooking, experimenting with new recipe ideas and hosting dinner parties. I also grow all my own vegetables which is great fun. I swim two to three times a week and I also love travelling. As soon as we return from one holiday, the map comes out and we plan our next trip.
15. What is your favourite book and why?
I have a few firm favourites, but I’d say the one that I love the most is ‘The Historian’ by Elizabeth Kostova. It has just the right mix of historical and supernatural fiction to sweep you away to another realm.
16. Which character from any book you’ve read, would you like to be and why?
Precious Ramotswe from ‘The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency’ by Alexander McCall Smith. She’s hilarious, always getting up to mischief & using her skills of detection to find out people’s secrets. She’s also a kind, bubbly woman, the kind you’d want fighting your corner, something that I always strive to be.
Thank you A.J for a lovely chat. Quite inspirational I may add. I wish you the best of for the new release.
Stay tuned for more author chats.
Here are A.Js links: