My guest today is British author Jim Webster. Welcome, Jim. Please tell us about yourself.
Lyn, thank you for hosting me today. I’m Jim Webster, fifty something (but not alas for much longer), married with a wife and three adult daughters. I live in South Cumbria, England, just outside the ship building town of Barrow in Furness.
I farm, have done all my life, and I also do freelance journalism, and I’ve done consultancy as well to help keep the wolf from the door.
I’m a lover of ancient history, and have been a wargamer and role-player since the early 1970s.
I have no dress sense and a bad attitude to buying clothes.
If you want to know more about me or my book, I’m relatively easy to find. See my links at the end of this post.
How did you begin writing?
It was quite simple. I was working with my parents on a small farm, just trying to make a living and I needed an income. ‘Non-essential’ things like food production don’t pay well. So I drifted into freelance journalism. Why I began writing books? I was lucky, I got a chance, I’d done a bit of consultancy and as a contract came to an end I suddenly found I had time as the work diminished by the money didn’t and in that window I wrote my first book.
Did someone inspire you to write? Who and how?
An author I’ve always admired and who probably has had a considerable influence on my work and the way I view the universe is Jack Vance. It was his skill in somehow convincing you of the depth of his perception of the world he was describing with just a few sentences that really inspired me.
What’s your best time of day to write? On average, how many hour a day do you write?
Quite literally I’ve written at all times. I’ve even worked in the middle of the night and switched the computer on because there was something that I needed to get down. As for how many hours, I genuinely don’t know. I still farm and do other things so there are days when I don’t write, or write articles on such things as the bite size of dairy cows or the best ways of preventing summer mastitis.
Describe your favorite place to write.
I write in the office, at the desk-top computer. I like desk-top computers, they don’t follow you around when you’re busy, whining that you haven’t checked your email or looked at Facebook.
Do you ever wear your PJs or nightgown all day while writing?
No. I milked cows for thirty years, when my feet hit the floor in the morning I’m awake and two minutes later I’m dressed.
Can you write amid noisy distractions or do you need absolute quiet?
If it’s too noisy I tend to put music on; familiar music that acts as ‘white noise’. I don’t need to concentrate on the music but it does blot out most of the noise.
Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you choose it?
I’ve only used a pen name twice. This was when an editor was desperate and I’d written several articles for the same issue of his magazine. But it doesn’t look good if too big a proportion of a magazine is written by the same person. Readers tend to raise a quizzical eyebrow and the writer starts to get above himself and expect paying. So a couple of the articles were published under the name of a role-playing character of mine.
Are your books published by a large publishing house or small press? If so, how did you come to be with this publisher?
Safkhet are a small press. Basically I did it all wrong and broke all the rules. A friend told me they were looking for somebody to write Sci-Fi. So I emailed them saying ‘Hi’ and included the links to the books I’d self published on Amazon and basically said “This is what I can do, what do you want?”
This approach almost never works and should be avoided by sensible people.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? Why?
I tend to have certain incidents that I know will occur, and a gut feeling of how the story will look. Then my characters and I indulge in a process that could be likened to ‘downhill skiing in the dark’ as we try to hit all the incidents, ideally in the order I originally had in mind.
How do you develop your plots and your characters?
I walk a lot, chewing over various issues, trying to work out how a character would react, what an intelligent person would do next, and how everybody else will react to how they reacted.
Does your significant other and/or family support your writing career?
Fiscally over our married life my Lady Wife and I seem to have taken turns to be the main bread winner. Moral support, yes, whilst she doesn’t read my books she has always backed me.
Have you ever written a book together with another author?
I’m not sure you’d called a role-playing supplement a book? But yes, I co-wrote the Scaum Valley Gazetteer.
Do you have critique partners and/or beta readers?
I’ve been lucky to have someone I can bounce books off and who gives me an honest opinion, and proof reads them at the same time.
Are your books professionally edited? Who designs your book covers?
Yes, I pay an editor. I’ve been lucky with my covers, I’m totally inept at anything artistic, but I’ve fallen on my feet with finding publishers who could do it for me.
How do you unwind and relax when not writing?
I do love walking.
What project(s) are you working on now?
I’m currently on the fourth book about the Tsarina Sector, I know what’s going to happen (ish) but I’m only about a quarter of the way in.
Now please tell us about your latest release.
It’s Justice 4.1 (The Tsarina Sector. This is the first SF book I’ve written and is set on the planet of Tsarina that is quite literally at the edge of the galaxy. The story centres around Haldar Drom who is an investigator working in the Governor’s Office. It’s a combination of detective story and adventure yarn, it probably falls neatly into the category of ‘Space Opera.’
When a journalist is shot down in a backward area of Tsarina, Haldar Drom of the Governor’s Investigation Office is sent to investigate. He uncovers a hidden medical facility dedicated to the production of Abate, a drug used for population control, as well as evidence of the implantation of pre-created embryos in women brought to Tsarina for the purpose. He also discovers a deeper plot with far reaching political ramifications. A senior member of the Governor’s family, Doran Stilan is running a personal feud with the major pirate/Starmancer Wayland Strang. Indeed he begins to suspect that Stilan may even be angling to take Stang’s place.
The medical facility is destroyed after it is attacked by mercenaries hired by Strang, and Drom has to travel off world to untangle the treads of the conspiracy.
Arriving back on Tsarina, he has to deal with a failed Starmancer attack, punish the guilty and arrange for Doran Stilan to get what’s coming without undermining the position of the Governor. To do this, he’ll need skill, know-how and a whole lot of luck to ensure that the guilty face justice.
Purchase Justice 4.1 here:
Find Jim on these sites:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TsarinaSector
Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22998.Jim_Webster
Amazon author page:
Safkhet publishing http://www.safkhetpublishing.com/authors/Jim_Webster.htm