This week I had the honour of interviewing renowned children’s writer, Gareth P. Jones, author of the series The Adventures of the Steampunk Pirates, The Society of Thirteen, Death or Icecream? and many more brilliant children’s books. I first came across him during an author event at my university and, captivated by his energy and passion, I immediately went and purchased a copy of The Thornthwaite Inheritance, (review coming soon). I knew at once that he would be an interesting and inspiring writer to interview and his insightful and humorous responses have not let me down!
What kind of thing do you write?
Mostly I write what comes to mind. Mostly these are children’s stories. I write for lots of ages but in honesty I don’t write for any age other than my own. I think that’s all you can do in the end. Write to please yourself and hope other’s like what you’ve written.
When did you first seriously pick up a pen and start writing?
I am yet to seriously pick up a pen and start writing but I remember writing my first book (unpublished of course). I was doing a writing course once a week and holding down a customer service job. I wrote mostly at work. I was quite regimented and focussed as soon as I decided to set my mind to completing a book. I thought about it mathematically, thinking about how long my chapters were, how long it needed to be and therefore how many chapters would be needed. I still do this sometimes. It helps to make the mountain of writing a book feel more climbable.
Why do you write?
Because it’s fun and I think it’s the thing that I’m best at doing.
Where do you find inspiration for your writing?
Anywhere and everywhere. And on a bad day, nowhere. Children are a great a source of inspiration. My own and the kids I meet when I visit schools.
What are you working on at the moment?
The first in a new series to be published next year. I’ve been struggling with it a lot. Not sure why but I think I’m over the worst of it now. I hope so. The deadline is on Monday.
What writers inspire you?
Any who had to work for success and struggle to get noticed. Ian Rankin is especially inspirational on this subject. Those writers who were lucky enough to be successful with their first book will never fully understand what it’s like for the vast majority of writers. As Lynne Truss once told me, people think getting published will be the end to all their troubles. In fact for many of us it’s only the beginning.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m a slow reader. I used to worry about that but now I accept it and enjoy the books I slowly read. Also, I seem to spend most of what you would normally consider reading time writing so books can last a long time. Recently I have been slowly reading David Mitchell’s Ghostwritten because I have just published my own collection of short interlinked stories in disguise as a novel, Death or Ice Cream?
Do you set aside a certain amount of time to write or do you write when the mood takes you?
Yes, I set aside the time when I am awake for writing. I almost never write when I am asleep. Unfortunately my deadlines do not allow me to wait for muses to descend.
How do you like to unwind when you aren’t writing?
Playing. Playing with my kids, with my musical instruments, with my wife and friends. Playing is a great way to unwind.
What advice would you give to those thinking of picking up the pen to write?
It depends. If they are writing a shopping list, I’d say try to write the list in the order that you’ll find the things in the supermarket. If they are writing a book, I’d say write and write but don’t get attached to anything you write. It’s all disposable. Nothing is guaranteed entry into your final book until the type is set.
I’d like to thank Gareth P. Jones for taking time out of his busy writing schedule to answer these questions. I know that I have found his answers hugely inspiring as a novice children’s writer and I’m sure my readers will too. If you have not already read any of his work, I urge you to do so as soon as possible! I’ve recently finished reading The Thornthwaite Inheritance, which I can highly recommend, and will be posting up a review shortly. In the meantime you can find out more about his work here, or follow him on Twitter here.
Keep reading! x