Derec Jones – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

The last book I published is The Three Bears, a novel. The book has been described by one reviewer as a “work of art, in the fullest sense”, and that’s how I see it. Don’t expect a pretty landscape or a stunning portrait, this work of art is more of an abstract. It has got a structure and there is of course a story, but it doesn’t hang together in a conventional way – it is a true ‘novel’. Another reviewer suggested that if you want to know what is meant by a writer’s voice, then read this book. If you don’t like strong language then please don’t read it.

Tell us something about yourself.

I’ve always had the urge to write. I grew up in a part of South Wales (UK), in a town sandwiched between a seashore littered with heavy industrial works and a beautiful green and hilly countryside. My working career has been extremely varied; I’ve worked on farms and in factories, in offices, in education and as a freelance decorator before moving into computer programming. I now run a wholefood shop and a publishing company. Throughout all this, writing has always been my main passion. I am also a visual artist.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always kept notebooks filled with bits of writing: poems, anecdotes, random scenes from my imagination and from observations of my life as it unfolds before me. Sometimes I sit down and read through the notebooks. One day I was thinking of writing a novel so dug the notebooks out from the bottom drawer looking for inspiration. I noticed that there were common themes running through many of those little titbits. One of those themes was about a recurring nightmare I used to get as a child involving the Three Bears.

How did you publish this book? Why did you decide to self-publish?

In the end I decided to set up a publishing company and publish the novel myself. I had sent previous novels to publishers and agents and had got a lot of interest but it became obvious that I would have to change things so much to satisfy the publisher that they wouldn’t be the stories I wanted to tell. The Three Bears was so personal and so precious to me that I decided I wouldn’t offer it to any other publisher so I could have complete control over the finished story.

What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?

This is easy – it’s finding the time to write.

What are you reading now?

Mostly submissions to my publishing company, it’s a miserable process, so many cliched ways of telling a banal story. There is some good writing but it has to tick so many boxes, it’s hard to find one that excites me enough to commit to publishing it.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

Martin Amis is generally good, I went through a Neville Shute phase and dip in and out of Margaret Atwood and Ian McEwan but can never finish any of them. Over the years I’ve read loads of science fiction but can’t get into it any more.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I have another five novels in progress and a vegan cookery book. The next book to be published will either be From the Backfields, about a young boy growing up on a housing estate or Skin and Bones a story about two brothers (Skin and Bones), one is a detective and the other is a cab driver.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Believe in yourself and work hard at it.

What are you doing to promote your latest book?

Nothing much at the moment, I’m redesigning my website and intend to start promoting it when it’s ready.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?