An interview with Jim Webster.

Tsarina book cover

Today I’m interviewing Jim Webster, author of Justice 4.1.

Q. Welcome, Jim. Let me start by asking you to tell us a bit about your book.
A. People have described it as ‘space opera’ or a detective story set in space. A journalist is shot down in a backward area of Tsarina, and the Hero, Haldar Drom, has to investigate. This investigation leads him to uncover other crimes, a feud between a senior member of the governor’s family and a major crime lord and Haldar’s job is to sort things out. In case that sounds unnecessarily pompous one reviewer said the book had “The right blend of blood, bullets, imagination and creativity.”
Q. How long did it take you to complete Justice 4?
A. To write it, less than six months, but the process of editing and then fitting it into a publishing timetable takes much longer.
Q. Do you write in one particular genre, or many?
A. I’ve written a lot of fantasy, I’m currently writing Sci-Fi. I also write articles on topics as disparate as livestock nutrition and the change in the relative price of wheat over the last two and a half thousand years. I’ve even written a short story which is going to be published in an anthology of Romantic short stories that Safkhet have lined up for some time soon. A friend of mine who read it commented “It’s romance Jim, but not as we know it.”
Q. Is this your first published work?
A. No, I published the fantasy novel ‘Swords for a Dead Lady’ back in 2011.
Q. How long did it take you to become a published author?
A. It’s a difficult question. I have been a freelance journalist for many years, over thirty I suppose, and occasionally it occurred to me that I perhaps should write a book. However I didn’t do anything about it. It was probably about 2011 that a number of things came together and I had the time, the experience, the writing skill built up over years of practice, and the opportunity.
Q. What inspires you to write? For example, music, other books, TV/Films?
A. Another good question. I know that one book was inspired by a song and a short video which brought back a whole wave of memories of an era. But I think most of my writing is inspired by people, places and the stories I’ve been told in the past. I don’t watch TV any more, haven’t done for years, and because I don’t want to end up stealing other people’s ideas, or even worse, inadvertently copying other people’s writing style I read more non-fiction than fiction.
Q. How disciplined are you about writing? Do you write a set amount of hours per day, or just when the muse takes you?
A. To an extent writing pays the bills. Therefore I am used to deadlines. I was once asked what the best excuse for missing a deadline was. There is no excuse for missing a deadline. It’s unprofessional and piles unnecessary stress on somebody else. Writing the novels I tend to fit in around other work. I have been known to set myself a target of a thousand words a day because I want to get things moving. I find that once I sit down and write, it gets easier and easier for me to write.
Q. Who would you say is your favourite author and why?
A. Jack Vance. I love not merely the style of his stories but also the way he creates worlds of such interest, intricacy and depth with a few strokes of a pen.
Q. How do you advertise your work? By that I mean do you utilise social media, or do you pay for advertising? If the first, how useful do you find it?
A. I don’t pay for advertising. I’ve got a Facebook page for me and another for Tsarina.
I’m also reasonably active on Goodreads and I have a blog where I tend not to talk about writing all that much.
I’ll also send review copies out to newspapers, magazines, as well as those who blog about books. I think social media is important, but I think that a writer has to interact with the real world.
Having a physical book is important, newspapers and local radio stations take you more seriously. Also when people discover you’re a writer, they’ll often want to buy a signed copy off you; other than scrawling over their kindle in lipstick, that’s only really possible with a paperback.
I’ve come round to thinking that ‘word of mouth’ is genuinely the best advertising, but word of mouth happens on social media as well as out there in the real world.
Q. Finally, what one piece of advice would you offer newcomers to the craft of writing?
A. I’m glad you called it a craft. It is a craft and the more you do it, the better you get.

Well, it just remains for me to thank Jim for his time, and wish him all the best for the future.

Copy of Jim compressed

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3 Responses to “An interview with Jim Webster.”

  1. Another terrific interview Kate! Well done guys! 😀


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