My friends, it is an honor and privilege to introduce my next guest. I can only give thanks to our social media outlets for allowing such long range connection, here in the US and abroad, because I have met some incredibly talented people. I have befriended many who have enriched my life beyond measure. Mere words cannot describe how thankful I am for all the wonderful people I have met. Moreover, I am extremely thrilled to call this man my friend. He is, author M.J. Webb.
“About the Author”
M J Webb is a fortysomething father of two and husband to one from Walsall in the heart of England. He has worked for the British Civil Service for over twenty years. As a full time employee and father he has limited spare time but what little he can find is spent reading, writing, cycling and following football. He has just bought a folding camper so he will soon be venturing into the world of camping.
Hello M.J., thanks for making the International connection.
How long have you been writing?
Hi Tracy – Writing has always been a hobby of mine and I used to pen short stories and poems as a child/young adult. The hobby became a passion when I decided to pen a novel for my two young children. I wanted to do something for them and give them something of me they would always have. I honestly thought it would be something I would pick up and put down for years, so I aimed it at teenagers. However, I finished it in six months and the concept became so large that it took three novels to complete. I never envisaged that I would write a trilogy and I’m incredibly proud of myself for seeing it through.
What was your life like before becoming an author?
To be completely honest, it’s easy in hindsight but I have realized that something was definitely missing. My career had already become a job by that stage and I was going through the motions with no stimulus for the grey matter, if you know what I mean? Writing fired my imagination and gave me something to channel my energies, and my frustrations. I’m so happy I decided to give it a go, for I would hate to be sitting here saying, ‘what if?’
Who or what inspired you to write?
My children, Jack and Sophie. My main heroes are written with them in mind (Jake West has the same initials as my Jack and Princess Zephany sounds a little like Sophie) in the hope that their virtues will inspire my children to be all they can be. As far as literary heroes go, I always enjoyed Shakespeare and Tolkien, as well as more contemporary authors like Bernard Cornwell.
Do you have a specific writing style or genre?
I am informed that my writing style is ‘easy-going’ and not too complicated? If so, I’m extremely happy as I wrote for teenagers and young adults, intending my books to be a good yarn, rather than literary classics. My novels are meant to be enjoyed, not quoted. I chose fantasy because I wanted to thrill and excite my children, to capture their imagination and carry them to a make believe world where they can do anything they want to, where the possibilities are endless. I also recognized that fantasy meant limited research, an important factor given that I had hardly any time to devote to the project.
Tell me about your latest book? What’s it about?
Jake West – The Estian Alliance
Jake West – The Estian Alliance is the third and final novel in the Jake West series/trilogy. It completes the quest to restore a box of stones and sees the mother of all battles convened and fought on the continent of Estia. There are so many facets to this book, the future of so many worlds is at stake and our heroes are facing impossible odds. For two ordinary fifteen year olds, the ride of their life is about to come to a thrilling conclusion.
What was your favorite part of the book to write?
I enjoyed penning it all, but there are a few twists and turns in the plot which I really enjoyed writing. I think it was imagining the look on the reader’s faces. I did not want to write a book which followed the ‘same old formula’ of a fantasy novel, where everything was all so predictable. I also like writing dialogue, placing myself inside my own character’s minds.
What was the hardest part to write?
The hardest part was the beginning. Writing a sequel means you have to recap events which have already taken place in the first and second novels. This you have to achieve without being boring and laboring the point. It has to be interesting but it’s a lot harder than you might think. After that, I always found writing pretty easy. There were moments when I did not know what to write, but these moments usually subsided and I was soon in the zone. Editing took care of the drivel produced in the first segment.
What do you find most rewarding in writing a book?
I love receiving positive (or negative) reviews. It’s so incredibly fulfilling to know that somebody likes and appreciates your work. It’s a bit like a drug really, in that it gives you an incredible high and you cannot wait for your next fix. I’ve never suffered from the lows but I do check for new reviews or comments almost every day. I suppose that’s a bit bizarre as I only wrote my books for my children and not for public adulation?
Do you have any other books complete or in progress?
No. I have no plans to pen any more novels (although there is plenty of scope in this story for prequels, sequels, different worlds, times etc). The main reasons are my full time job and family; writing has consumed far too much time of late and it was time I could only take from that I would normally spend with my family. Though I tried my best not to let it affect us, I feel so guilty. If I could afford to work part time or even retire, I think I would. But, until then, I think I will have to shelve my ambitions and try to be more of a father to my children, more of a husband to my wife.
What are your future plans in regards to writing?
I’ve probably answered that one but at present I have no plans other than to see what happens and go with the flow. A lot will depend on the success (or not) of this trilogy. What will be will be, as they say.
Are you listed on the major social networks like facebook, twitter, goodreads, etc…
Yes. I’m on Facebook myself and there’s a fan group on there (Fans of Jake West). https://www.facebook.com/groups/120718974640591/ I’ve also started an account under Jake West. http://www.jakewest.co.uk/ I’m on twitter as authorM_J_Webb and I’m on Goodreads. My novels are averaging 4.1 and 4.6 out of 5 on Goodreads and the reviews on Amazon.co.uk are even better so I’m incredibly pleased.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Go for it, but only when you think you are ready! Don’t publish too early and burn your bridges. Read all you can and learn from others. Seek advice, take it, and give it back whenever asked. Socialize with other writers if you can, support each other and enjoy the new world you have discovered. In essence, enjoy every line in your story. Success is relative, so don’t measure yourself by sales, or compare your experience to that of others.
Outside of writing, what is your most favorite thing to do and why?
Spending time with the munchkins. Children are the most precious gift in the world. They grow up so quickly that you really have to savor every single moment you have with them.
Anything else you would like to add for future fans and friends.
To the readers and reviewers I would say; thank you so very much for reading my work. It means the whole world and more to know that you took the time to purchase, read and appraise the fruits of my endeavors. They are not empty words. Every author (especially self published writers) really values you guys. Without you, the joy would be significantly diminished. Marketing and spreading the word is the hardest thing to achieve for us, so the very fact that you read, review and discuss the books you have read, makes you indispensable.
M.J. – It has been a treasure to share your story. My appreciation for you and your work is on the highest level. Whether you continue to write or not, I am happy to say that I am one of your greatest fans and I will always be thankful for the opportunity to read your series and be considered your friend. Being so, I will continue to support your writing with the hopes of seeing your books on the big screen. Thank you again so much for the time you spared to join my interview series. Cheers to you, my friend. I truly believe bigger things are yet to come.