This is my fourth interview with a co-author of the new Sci-fi and Fantasy anthology, Reality Glitch: 11 Sci-fi & Fantasy Stories by Authors From Around the World. Today I am excited to have with me a friend and a terrific author, James Field.
I’m happy you’re here, and I’m eager to have my readers get to know you and your work.
Let’s begin by telling the readers a little something about yourself, James.
My wife and I now live far in the north, well within the
Arctic Circle, in
the land of the midnight sun. Life here is slow and comfortable, blessed by
unspoiled nature and its magnificent moods.
Being creative in the written form gives me vast pleasure. I hope, dear reader, you will take a break from your world and lose yourself in one of mine.
Very well put, James. Other than Reality Glitch, what is the title of your latest work?
Doomsday Diary, which was recently released.
Wow! Fun title. What’s the genre, and can you tell us a little about the story?
It’s a detective sci-fi fantasy. A diary is handed in to the police as lost property. The pages are filledout ten days into the future, terminating with the prediction of Professor Maurice Masterson's death. As the days pass, each day's account comes true, and Chief Inspector Dobbs is forced to swallow his skepticism and prevent the inevitable.
Great! I can’t wait to read it.
James has graciously allowed us a sneak peek of the opening paragraphs of his book. Here they are:
Chief Inspector Jonathan Dobbs watched the private elevator doors close and wondered for the hundredth time if he was about to make a fool of himself. He'd only butted heads with Professor Maurice Masterson once before, and on that occasion the professor had treated him like a halfwit.
'This time though,' he muttered, 'I'll put the professor in his place–if only my errand wasn't so absurd.' He reddened, and gazed around the elevator, searching for hidden microphones and cameras, wishing he'd kept his thoughts to himself.
Dobbs was short of stature, heavy on breath, long in years, and shrouded most of his podgy body in a weather-stained mackintosh. The elevator's exclusiveness bothered him. It had no mirrors, smelled of wood polish and expensive aftershave, and made his nose itch.
The doors opened and Dobbs stepped into a sterile reception, the only furniture a desk, two hard chairs for guests, and a tea-making machine on a corner table. 'Hello, James,' he said, nodding to the professor's bodyguard. 'Nice to see you again. Is he in?'
James sat behind the desk, agile fingers poised above his keyboard, cold light reflecting in his blue eyes from the computer screen. From the slight bulge in his black jacket, Dobbs could tell he was wearing a gun.
'What's it about?' asked James.
The question annoyed Dobbs. For a start, James hadn't acknowledged him with more than a glance, and second, it was none of his business.
'Work or pleasure?' asked James, fingers tapping away at his keyboard.
'Is he in, or is he out?' said Dobbs, shoving his hands in his pockets. 'It's a simple enough question. If he's in, I want to see him.'
'Then I need to know what it's about.'
Dobbs directed one of his fiercest scowls at James, the same one he used to get past the bone-faced receptionist at his doctor's surgery. 'I know you're only doing your job, James, but this is important. Either he talks to me now, or I'll come back with a warrant and he can talk to me down at the station.'
'In that case,' said James, sitting back and folding his arms, 'he's out.'
Dobbs grunted. Somehow, he knew a warrant request would be denied. The last time they had met, the professor had been tangled in an international terrorist plot, an incident hush-hushed into oblivion. If nothing else, the professor had powerful friends. Which was more than Dobbs had. Come to think of it, apart from his dog, Pooch, he had no close friends. In his experience, people only tried to be friends when they wanted something. Even his family were distant, half of them were locked up for one crime or another.
Before coming, he'd researched the professor's background. The pompous old fart was a bachelor, lectured physics at various universities, and many years ago, was a twice-Olympic fencing medalist and the captain of
cricket team, two sports he loathed. Apart from soccer, he thought all sports
were a boring waste of time.
For some reason, the rest of the professor's portfolio was hidden. Another thing Dobbs detested was the thought that someone had meddled with police records. If he had his way, government agents with cloak-and-dagger commissions would be given a one-way ticket to the moon. They thought they were above the law, a special class of person better than anyone else.
However, as a peacekeeper, he still needed to speak with the professor. He considered telling James a fib, except it went against his principles. People who told lies were scum. Flattery was another alternative that usually worked. So, ridiculous as his mission was, he told the truth. 'Tell him I need his help. It's about a diary that predicts his death in a few days.'
Instead of a mocking remark, James hit the button of his intercom and spoke. 'Inspector Dobbs here to see you, Boss.'
'Chief Inspector,' corrected Dobbs.
'Him again!' came the reply, loud and clear. 'Confounded nuisance. Tell him I'm busy and to make a proper appointment.'
'He says it's important. Something about a diary that predicts your death in a few days.'
'Ah,' said the professor, pausing. 'In that case, tell him to wait five minutes. Then send him in.'
Thanks for that, James.
Of course I read your short story “Liquorice Shoelace” in Reality Glitch. It’s a fascinating tale. Can you tell the readers a bit about it?
Sure. On his way home from work, Frank, a warm-hearted accountant, witnesses a man jump in front of a Tube train. The shocking suicide leaves Frank distraught, but the next day, he sees the same man again, alive and in a wretched state. Determined to solve the mystery, Frank investigates, only to watch his own world fall apart.
What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this story, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge was writing with a deadline. Most of my stories mature at their own speed. I overcame the challenge by hiding away in the attic and getting on with it.
I know the feeling. What else are you working on?
A very exciting project in collaboration with another writer. It's still in the 'behind closed door' stage, so I can't tell you more. Apart from that, I have another story called '
Pest,' which is almost ready for publication. Pest is the
psychopathic leader of a motorcycle gang who makes the mistake of tangling with
Alf and Bert, security guards at the Cloud Brother's mansion. Other elements in
the story are robots, bare-knuckle street fighting, a sprinkling of humor, and
a dash of romance.
Cool! We’ll look for that when it comes out. Is there anything else you want potential readers to know?
Yes, all you potential readers, I'm writing for your enjoyment. My short stories are free, so indulge yourselves. The Cloud Brother series won't brake your bank either J
What other novels have you written, James?
I have published three science fiction novels, and nine short stories.
Are there any occupational hazards to being a novelist?
Like a drug, it's addictive. Every time I finish a novel, I suffer from abstinence. The only cure is another shot of writing.
What is the single most powerful challenge when it comes to writing a novel?
Finding quality writing time, there's never enough of it.
How true. A writer’s dilemma. But I suppose that’s true for most of us in the arts.
What are you planning on writing in the near future?
The forth and final installment of the popular Cloud Brother series. A family drama and its follow up. A crime story based in an arctic winter. Three more short stories in the Cloud Brother's short stories collection (all free). And whatever else pops up and manages to squeeze between.
Do you have another job outside of writing?
Yes, I'm a pensioner and the days are simply too short.
Describe for us a typical day.
The only typical thing that happens most days is that I rise early and write for one hour while the rest of the house still sleeps. Apart from that, every day is different.
Would you care to share something about your home life?
The washing up.
What motivates or inspires you (not necessarily as regards your writing)?
Life is for living and experiencing relativity.
How do you pick yourself up in the face of adversity?
After finishing with the screaming and stamping of feet, I try to remind myself there are two things we should never worry about: what happened yesterday, and what might happen tomorrow.
What has been your greatest success in life?
There are many hurdles during the course of life, many goals, many accomplishments. Each is the greatest success at the time.
What do you consider your biggest failure?
Playing truant as a child and eating too little. I hated most foods, especially greens.
Do you have any pet projects?
My pet project has to be my family drama. I wrote it many years ago, but it needs rewriting, using skills I've learnt over the years.
Who/what has been your greatest inspiration?
With regards to writing: Roald Dahl, Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie.
Okay, now comes the part of the interview where I ask five quick questions and hope for five quick replies. Ready?
My best friend would tell you I’m a …
Introvert bore with an occasional bright spark.
The one thing I cannot do without is:
My best friend.
The one thing I would change about my life:
My best friend is my wife. If I could choose again, I'd still choose her.
My biggest peeve is:
The person/thing I’m most satisfied with is:
Great interview, James. Thanks so much.
James will be happy to answer questions. If you have any, please leave a comment. In the meantime, here are a few links to where you can learn more about James and buy his books.