Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Guest Author on Urania's Distractions: John D Rhodes

RS: Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Will you please share a short bio with us?

JOHN: Goodness, well without giving you my life story I’m an IT Training Manager in the NHS in the UK but I’ve always had my artistic side, and although I’ve made my career in helping people use computers I’d much rather be writing!

In the past I’ve been (and still am really though for my own pleasure) a musician but writing was something I could rely entirely on myself – being in a band means needing other reliable and motivated band members and that never happened for me. And so I decided that writing was a far better potential occupation, or more likely hobby, that being a rock star (and a whole lot cheaper there being no need for rehearsal rooms or guitars etc)

RS: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

JOHN: While at school I used to write reams of poetry, most if not all of it pretty bad. From there I moved on to writing short stories but the bulk of my artistic energies were always in a musical direction, writing songs. None the less I wrote many short stories and even a full length children’s book in my twenties. I had a few sizable gaps in my writing while I developed my career but once in my forties I decided I needed to tackle a full length book again, I now felt confident I could do a full length story justice and the genre I wanted to write it in.

RS: What genre do you write?

JOHN: I don’t like pigeon holes but if I had to I’d say Fantasy/Humour though I like the term coined by one of my favourite authors, Robert Rankin, who labels his work as ‘Far Fetched Fiction’. I like stories with quirkiness and some humour, sometimes on the dark side. I’d loosely say half of my work is aimed at adults and half children, the 10 -14 age bracket.

RS: What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favourite author and why?

JOHN: I have a few favourite authors including the aforementioned Robert Rankin, Tom Holt and Douglas Adams, all for the fantasy tinged humour and off kilter story telling. I also love Bill Bryson who tells wonderful factual prose with such a dry sense of humour that has me chuckling and annoying friends, family and whoever I’m sat next to. I also have many others, too many to mention really but does include such as James Herbert and Stephen King.

RS: What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?

JOHN: My proof reading is as bad as I thought it was! For years, being a tutor in word processing, I’ve spent ages telling people to double check their work, but it is always harder checking your own work and so easy to miss things! Luckily I have friends who will happily but diplomatically help me out!

RS: What inspired you to write your novel?

JOHN: I have a very bad memory! I wondered what would I do if I awoke one day in a strange place and didn’t know who I was, would I be susceptible to being manipulated? I also wanted to contemplate a little ‘outside’ influence on world events and give it all a nice tangled twist with a hint of mirth!

RS: Can you tell us a little about your novel?

JOHN: Dave is lost, his mind is a swirling bank of fog and the only person offering any answers is a strange old doctor/wizard/tramp who persuades the hapless ‘memory man’ that he must seek revenge on the man who has left him for dead and stolen his ‘girl’. Meanwhile mystical ageless beings hide in plain sight, dabbling in history and determined to have things all their own way with the odd family argument leading to unexpected outcomes for all our characters!

RS:What kind of research did you do for this book?

JOHN: One of the most wonderful things about my genre is sometimes a lack of a need for research; you can let your imagination run wild! Having said that I did have some historical elements that I had to read up on and make sure I had years and events correct. The Internet is a wonderful thing as long a you double check your facts, don’t just rely in Wikipedia!

RS: Where can we find your novel?

JOHN: Depending in where you live you can purchase it via one of the three Amazon sites. For the UK it is: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mr-Memory-ebook/dp/B0057XV34W/

For the US it is: http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Memory-ebook/dp/B0057XV34W/

For everywhere else it is: http://www.amazon.de/Mr-Memory-ebook/dp/B0057XV34W/

RS: What's next for you?

JOHN: I already have a children’s book ready to publish, ‘Humphrey Pickleton and the Secret’, the story of a boy held prisoner by his aunt and the creatures who help him in his fight with the evil woman.
I’m in the process of writing a new novel, ‘The Bad Wife’, a murder mystery fantasy with huge slices of dark humour!

RS: Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?

JOHN: Can I mention them all! My blog, where I post short stories and anecdotal meanderings and thoughts is http://johndrhodesauthor.wordpress.com. I can also be found on the brilliant Goodreads community site: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5049597.John_D_Rhodes. You can also find me on Twitter, @johnnydrhodes.

RS: Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

JOHN: It is important not to write for anyone other than yourself!

RS: Thanks for being a guest author to my blog John. I will be looking forward to your next book. Good luck with all your projects.

Mr Memory

A NEW wickedly funny novel by John D Rhodes

Dave’s mind is thick with fog but something is holding the doors shut tight. What’s more he's blind, trapped in hospital, tortured to distraction by a beautiful nurse and accompanied by Lenny a quite stinky tramp come wizard of dubious origins. What more could a man want? Who can help him escape all three and will he really like the answers once his mind returns to normal?

At least things can’t get any worse… can they? Come along on Dave’s voyage of discovery and revenge, just where did the disease ridden cat come from, who are, Fate, Degradation, Famine and Hope and can he really win back the love of his life?

The answers, strangely, may lie within this story, where the struggle for ultimate power, mystical ageless beings and the delights of office party sexual politics meet in a headlong car crash of magic, good versus evil and some odd, (very odd in this case) talking beasties.

Author’s bio

I'm a writer currently publishing via Amazon, my first novel - Mr Memory - is available to purchase now and I have two further books to be published this year, 'Humphrey Pickleton And The Secret' a childrens' story and 'The Bad Wife' - a murder mystery come humorous fantasy fiction novel.

I've been writing for nearly 30 years but only now, thanks to modern technology and Amazon, have I been able to bring some of my work to you. I've written well over 40 short stories and 4 full length novels.

My work tends to live in that part of the universe where things are very similar to our reality, but with a tinge of the strange, an off kilter reflection, a mix of sour and sweet. This is not science fiction or horror but a fantasy fiction where things are not quite what they seem, animals can talk and sometimes the hero is not and the villain is, and just maybe there is a happy ending for some of the characters.

My favourite authors reflect my tastes and so on my book shelves you'll find Tom Holt, Robert Rankin, Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett fighting for shelf space with Bill Bryson. And yes you'll also find a good splattering of Sci Fi - Asimov et al.

You will also find quite a few biographies of mainly musical heros of mine but the odd Norman Wisdom tome rubbing shoulders with Neil Young.

Most of the children's books live in my boys' rooms but you'll find Harry Potter and lots of Roald Dahl! I'm also partial to lots of Charlie Bone (the wonderful Jennie Nemmo) and lots of traditional stuff too.

As well as writing I'm a song writer and play guitar and bass.

Ambition wise I'd love to give up the day job but for now I'm happy just to get my work out there.

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