Jim is an incredibly talented man and one that I’m very proud to call my friend. He has written many great books and if you haven’t read one go get one right now….go on! His writing will absolutely blow your mind. He is a devoted family man who loves his wife and children with all his heart. I have many good friends that attribute their writing and where it is today because of him and his help. That says a lot about him. He is never one to shy away from a challenge or the task at hand and will keep you on the edge of your seat reading his stories. Please welcome my friend Jim to Roadie Notes………
1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
Extremely young. I started reading early and not long after that I was writing my own stories. I was usually the one in school who wrote that offbeat or bizarre monster tale the teacher would choose to read out to the rest of the class. Even back then I guess I had a taste for horror, because those kinds of elements were prevalent even in my initial forays into writing.
2. How many books have you written?
I’ve written Plebs, Undead Fleshcrave: The Zombie Trigger, With Tooth and Claw (collection of short stories/novellas) and Plebs 2 (coming soon and does actually have another name-Plebs 2 is the subtitle) which are published/to be published. I also have another novel submitted with my publisher which has two separate titles because I haven’t yet decided which one I most want to run with.
I’ve also co-written collaborative novel Feral Hearts (along with Ed Cardillo, Mark Woods, Michael Fisher, Catt Dahman and Amanda Lyons).
I have a number of as yet unpublished novels including Spirit Storm, In the Darkest Hour, Carnival of Chaos/Festival of Flesh and quite a few unfinished ones on the back burner, as well as the three I’m currently working on.
In addition to that I have stories in several anthologies including Rejected For Content: Splattergore, Rejected For Content 2: Aberrant Menagerie, Terror Train, Teeming Terrors, Suburban Secrets: A Neighborhood of Nightmares, Ghosts: An Anthology of Horror From the Beyond, Tales from the Lake Vol. 2, Easter Eggs and Bunny Boilers, Doorway to Death: An Anthology From the Other Side, MvF: Death Personified, Autumn Burning: Dreadtime Stories For the Wicked Soul, Axes of Evil and Floppy Shoes Apocalypse (now out of print).
I’m also the editor for the Rejected Content anthology series (taking over the reins after Splattergore), having been responsible for Volumes 2, 3 and 4.
3. Anything you won’t write about?
There isn’t anything yet that I’ve considered not approaching in my writing. I think that depending on how one approaches particular subject matter, especially if it is taboo, controversial or liable to be offensive or set off triggers, nothing should really be left off the table. This is particularly true for a horror writer. After all horror is horrific, it aims to disturb, to frighten and to unnerve and to engender responses in people, and steering clear of something just on the off-chance it might upset folks or kick up controversy tends to defeat the purpose of being a horror writer. There are ways to approach any topic at all, without just throwing it out there for shock value or cheap thrills, or trying to come across extreme without a solid story to validate it. Technically, I haven’t written about everything under the sun as yet, so there may come a point where I encounter subject matter I’d be loath to explore in writing, but for now I haven’t come across it.
4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…
I’m just about to hit forty, I’m happily married with two little kids (one daughter, one son) and a cat. I’m based in Australia, currently living on a nice and secluded farm in a little country town called Holbrook, after spending most of my adult life in Sydney.
I’m an extreme metal aficionado, horror fanatic, love rugby league and martial arts, reading and doing a spot of drawing.
Writing horror, editing and running WetWorks (the extreme horror imprint of J. Ellington Ashton press) is what I do; prior to that I was involved in the worldwide extreme metal community and working in the automotive industry, warehousing, forklift driving and that sort of thing for well over a decade.
During that time my wife and I were involved in the metal communities, we were running Black Belle Music which was essentially for the support and promotion of bands universally. This was predominantly aimed at underground acts, unknown or unsigned bands and that sort of thing. Reviews, interviews, distribution, gigs and festivals were among the things we used to do. Naturally, since I write horror fulltime, that no longer exists.
5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
I actually like them all in different ways, so it’s difficult to pick which one I’d call a favourite. Because I write the kinds of stories/books that I personally love to write, I’m not averse to reading them again after they’ve been published. I know plenty of authors don’t like to do that because they find things they’d like to change or things they could have done differently, and I have spotted things I’d probably redo myself, but ultimately holding your own book and reading it for pleasure, is vastly different to going over it in edits and the rest of the publishing process.
In any case, now I’ve completely derailed the question, I’ll go with Plebs as a favourite, mostly because I loved the characters and had a hell of a lot of fun tossing them into all kinds of situations. For what initially started life intended to be just a short story, it turned into a 600 page monster, because the more I wrote about these particular characters, the more I wanted to. It was one of those books where very little was planned at all and even I had no clue where the characters were going to take things, or how it was going to end. Which is pretty much the case with most of my books. I might have a conclusion imagined in my head, but it doesn’t always pan out that way.
6. Who or what inspired you to write?
A lot of the horror authors I was reading as a kid were inspirational and influential in making me want to be a horror writer myself, though prior to that I dabbled in a whole bunch of different genres. I’d write fantasy, adventure, drama, urban, even western stuff, but it was when I really started becoming immersed in reading horror that I knew that’s what I most wanted to write. Graham Masterton, Robert McCammon, early Dean R. Koontz (with the R, not when he dropped it) and Stephen King, Shaun Hutson, Dan Simmons, Joe Lonsdale were some of those who originally inspired me, though my first incursions into trying my hand at writing horror were a little derivative of all of these combined. In the early 90’s I discovered Richard Laymon and all of that changed. Reading his work made me realise I could write what I wanted, the way I wanted without attempting to write like anybody else or mimic any style. Laymon remains my chief influence and inspiration in writing to this day, though really I’ve always been inspired to write and that’s not something attributable to anybody or anything in particular. I just love to write.
7. What do you like to do for fun?
Drink. A lot. Nah, not really, not any more in any case. I think I partially answered this above, but in addition to writing which is always fun for me, I love music, movies, playing with my kids, spending time with my wife, reading of course, drawing, just a lot of relaxing things in general. I used to go out a lot and go to metal concerts-at one stage back in the days of working in the metal communities, my wife and I used to put on gigs and festivals for local bands-but I don’t do a whole bunch of that any more either. Must go hand in hand with the drinking…
8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
Not really no. Start another one, or move on to another project before coming back to the one I finished to have another look through it.
9. Where do you write? Quiet or music?
I used to write just about anywhere when I was in the habit of actually getting things down with pen and paper, but these days it’s all done right in front of my computer. I use a desktop rather than a laptop, which is part of the reason I get most of my writing done during the night. By day the kids are wanting to be around playing games or checking out websites related to school and whatnot, and since my daughter is starting to get really interested in reading, she tries to read everything onscreen over my shoulder. Most of what I write isn’t exactly the type of stuff a six-year-old should be reading yet.
While the computer itself remains a constant, there isn’t a whole bunch of rhyme or reason to the rest of the desk; random things will appear there-mostly due to small hands leaving toys lying around. Coffee is almost always prevalent, and right now I have a stack of notebooks, pens, a copy of Richard Laymon’s ‘No Sanctuary’, my tablet, external drives and an extra keyboard. In a day or so, that will be completely different.
I write with music or quiet, though I use the term quiet loosely. There’s generally always some kind of background noise, be it the television, kids, animals outside-the last couple of weeks have been a constant soundtrack of rain and wind-any manner of things, but none of that impacts on what I’m doing. When I’m writing, I’m writing and having utter silence or a blast of music makes little difference.
I often do choose to write with music playing, either something suitable to match the tone of the various scenes I’m writing or to set specific moods, or simply to accompany what I love to do with the music I love to hear. For the most part if writing to music, it’s a soundtrack of extreme metal (primarily black and death metal; anybody who has read Undead Fleshcrave will have a fair idea of the sorts of bands I love), though not exclusively. Sixties rock, industrial, horrorcore, blues, glam/hair metal, thrash, hard rock, some dance and many others often come into play. It all depends on whether I’m after something specific to match the tone of what I’m writing or I just want familiar albums cranking in the background. The majority of my music tastes might be impossible for some folks to fathom having on whilst writing, but what might be aggressive noise to them is relaxing and inspiring to me.
10. Anything you would change about your writing?
No, not particularly. Of course there are always things I’m learning-one never stops learning-and things I need to be mindful of, such as cutting down the length of some of my sentences, but as a general rule, I like how it’s progressing. Ideally, I would be writing a whole lot more than I already am, but there’s never enough hours in the day.
11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
Well my dream from a young age was to be a horror writer and I’m there now, so it’s safe to say that dream has been achieved. Career longevity, a large body of work and managing to get around the world and attend some conventions are goals to aim for at this point in time.
12. Where do you live?
I must keep pre-empting these questions. This one is covered in question number four!
One cat commonly known as Eury (an abbreviation of his full name-he’s named after two ex-members of the black metal band Mayhem) who likes to think he’s my editor. Since I currently reside on a farm, there’s a whole bunch of animals around that have appointed themselves adopted pets of sorts as well. A chicken that thinks she’s a dog or something, a trio of horses, the list goes on…
14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Everything. But more appropriately, storytelling. I just love to create stories. Writing is fun to me, it’s relaxing, it’s something I love to do. I can’t envision me not writing in some capacity.
you can connect with Jim here:
Thank you Jim for letting us get to know you better. I wish you all the best and loads of success! I’m proud to call you my friend!!