Benedict J Jones is a writer of crime, horror and western fiction from south-east London.
His debut novel “Pennies for Charon” has been described as a “masterful mix of crime and the occult…”.
His work has appeared in magazines such as One Eye Grey, Pen Pusher, Out of the Gutter and Encounters, on a variety of websites including Big Pulp and Shotgun Honey and in anthologies from Dark Minds Press, Crystal Lake Publishing, Full Dark City Press and Dog Horn Publishing.
Please welcome Ben Jones to Roadie Notes…….
1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
That’s hard to say. I wrote a lot as a child and then even more when I left school and college but I rarely sent anything out and very few of them have survived. The first story I had published was a horror short about cannibals attacking a tube train called “Goin’ Underground” and that was published in a ‘zine called One Eye Grey in 2008.
2. How many books have you written?
Five with just my name on the cover. Skewered and Other London Cruelties (a novella and ten shorts) which introduced my recurring character Charlie Bars, Pennies for Charon (the first Charlie Bars novel), The Devil’s Brew which followed on from Pennies, Slaughter Beach (a splatter-punk novella and ode to 80s video nasties) and Ride the Dark Country (which collected some of my weird westerns).
3. Anything you won’t write about?
Not if there’s a story in it. I think writing is a great way of discussing social taboos. I can see why readers might not want to read about certain things but I believe a writer should be able to write about anything. Like a lot of things it is all about how you do it rather than what you are doing. I tend to write about the darker parts of human nature and while I would write about anything I would try not to glorify or glamorize it.
4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…
No problem at all. I’m thirty seven and from south-east London. Not married but I live with my partner. I have a little girl from a previous relationship that I see a lot of. I work for a University providing distance learning to students all around the world.
5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
Oh, that is a difficult question! There are elements to them all that I really enjoyed. The one that gave me the most enjoyment to write was probably “Slaughter Beach” but I think the one that I think is the best might be “Pennies for Charon”. Although the extended climax of “The Devil’s Brew” came out exactly as I had imagined it and remains a favorite as well. Ask me again next week and it will probably have changed.
6. Who or what inspired you to write?
Quite a few different things and people really. I have always loved to tell stories in one format or another. The early writers who inspired me were people like Robert Westall, Arthur Conan Doyle, James Clavell, and Stephen King. I had a real epiphany around the millennium when I read the works of Clive Barker and Chester Himes which made me actually write things myself.
One of my sisters, Geraldine, was a huge inspiration to me. She typed up a lot of those early stories that never saw publication and without that, and the feedback she gave me, I’m not sure I would have kept going with it.
7. What do you like to do for fun?
All sorts really – reading and writing (obviously), cinema and film, cooking, socializing. I really like travelling as well and seeing as much of the world as I can. Exotic locales rarely feature in my work at present but I am working on a few things.
8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
Usually I’ll try and start another story and not be able to get into it. It usually takes a couple of tries to “freshen my palette” and start on a new work after completing a long piece. But no, nothing really – not like the Paul Sheldon character at the start of Misery.
9. Where do you write? Quiet or music?
Usually at the kitchen table with the radio on. I like having something going on in the background, it seems to help me concentrate.
10. Anything you would change about your writing?
I’d like to get more finished and not worry so much about things not being exactly perfect – I’d be more productive that way. But no, on the whole I’m just happy to be doing things in my own style.
11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
Maybe once, maybe still, but I think aiming to be happy is more fulfilling.
12. Where do you live?
These days I live in west London rather than the south-east. A different place to that which initially inspired me but I absolutely love it.
No, although I have vague memories of an aged spring spaniel, Jamie, that we had when I was born. One day maybe but city living isn’t really conducive to giving a pet a good life (unless it’s a goldfish or something) if you’re working. Maybe one day…
14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
It’s probably a combination of research and world building. I also like to take the reader to places that unsettle them, to reveal things about the world – both real and imagined that may be far outside their own comfort zones.
15. What is coming next for you?
Well, I’m just redrafting the third Charlie Bars novel – a potent mix of politics, crime and secrets from out of the past. I’m hoping to get a joint weird western novella finished that I’ve been working on (for far too long) with my good friend Anthony Watson. There’s a World War two horror novella and some shorts that will hopefully be out in 2018 as well.
You can connect with Ben Jones here:
Some of Ben Jones’ books: