PDB: Can you pitch “Skewered and Other London Cruelties” in 25 words or less?
I think it covers those crime essentials such as murder, kidnap, robbery, torture, femme fatales and double cross, with a dirty London twist.
PDB: Which music, books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?
Well in terms of music I’ve mainly been listening to old stuff; a lot of Johnny Cash and nineties hip-hop which are my mainstays. Film-wise I really enjoyed “Beyond the Pines” and am still trying to decide what I think about “Only God Forgives”. Seems that recently I’ve been ‘eating’ books, really have my reader head on at the minute, but a few of the things that have really stood out for me are; “Samurai” an excellent collection from Willie Miekle, “Matador” by Ray Banks, “The Devil All the Time” by Donald Ray Pollack and “Crime & Guilt” by Ferdinand von Schirach.
PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?
I think so, yes. But I do catch myself sometimes shouting at books – “No!” you should’ve done it this way… But as I said earlier I’m in a place now where I’m really enjoying being a reader and I think that’s important. Yes, I am a writer but I’m also a reader. They’re two quite different things and sometimes it’s good to read without that critical eye that can sometimes creep in, although that can be difficult.
PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?
As a general idea, yes but right now I have no plans to. I did once try and write a short play for a friend and then realised how out of my depth I was! I do think that there are quite specialist skills involved in writing for the stage or screen, in the same way that writing for the page is distinct. I think I’d have a lot of learning to do before I was ready to write something that was actually any good for those other mediums.
PDB: How much research goes into each book?
That really is quite dependent on what kind of story I’m writing and which genre I’m writing in. For example a lot of my crime stories and urban horror tales required very little research beyond looking at my own experiences whereas some of the westerns involved a lot more research. Luckily these tend to be things I enjoy reading about anywhere – for instance I’ve read a lot about post-war Berlin and that inspired my story “Berlin Sushi”. There’s a lot of research I have done in the ‘general’ knowing that I’ll get a story out of it eventually and sometimes I will read up on things knowing I want to get a story out of it.
PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer?
I’d say massively important. They allow for an interaction that was impossible in previous times between groups of writers and the people who read their work – it means you can hear about a good writer and then with things like Amazon have that book a day or so later. It’s also a great place to find new markets and also promote your work. It just allows for much quicker and easier interaction. There’d be writers I’d never have read if it wasn’t for social media and probably lots of people who hadn’t read my own work.
PDB: What’s on the cards for 2014?
Well first off there is obviously “Skewered and Other London Cruelties” being released from Crime Wave Press which contains a novella and five short stories.
My modern horror western short, “Going South to Meet the Devil”, will be appearing in the Darkest Minds anthology from Dark Minds Press.
Also I’ve just finished a horror western novella, tentatively entitled “Mulligan’s Idol”, which I am hoping will be picked up.
Bio: Benedict J Jones is a writer of crime, horror and western fiction from south east London. 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.