I’d like to offer a warm welcome to Jeff Gardiner, who recently signed a three-book contract with my own publisher, Accent Press, for his ‘Gaia’ fantasy trilogy, starting with Pica, a novel of transformation and ancient magic – due out in February 2016. I was intrigued to find out what prompted him to write a romantic novel, however – so come on, Jeff, spill the beans!
Thanks Jenny. I was determined to write a contemporary romantic novel from the viewpoint of a sensitive male. Donny is not the usual romantic hero, but he is in touch with his emotions. He becomes the victim of unrequited love – something that many of us have suffered over the years. That nightmarish scenario when you become utterly obsessed with someone with fantasies of a perfect future together, only for them to utter those crushing words: ‘I think we should just be friends…” which then sends you into a spiral of depression. But what happens next?
It’s not all angst and gloom. Donny is inspired by his landlord and friend, Jaz, who inducts him into the ‘laddish’ world of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. The novel explores these issues in a way which is hopefully amusing and thought-provoking.
Wow. You’ve persuaded me – I’m off to add it to the TBR pile immediately. But you’ve moved on from romance, have you? What are you working on now?
As you told readers, I’ve signed a three-book deal with Accent Press for my ‘Gaia’ fantasy trilogy. Pica is due out in early 2016, and I’m currently putting the finishing touches to book 2: Falco. The ending is proving more complicated than I’d initially planned, but I’m slowly getting there. I know where book 3 is going, but keep getting new ideas which are making it evolve in ways I didn’t previously imagine.
I’m also keen to break into screenplay writing, with three or four projects in mind and underway.
I know what you mean about books getting more complicated than you’d planned. I’m always doing that. Why do we make life so difficult for ourselves? Good luck with that, anyway. So have you time for anything else other than writing – or are you a complete obsessive?
I can be – and do get – obsessive about my writing, but it’s important to break out and be normal sometimes. I love going to rock concerts and to the cinema. I also do other jobs (‘real work’!) on odd days, which gets me out into the world, socializing and making myself vaguely useful.
‘Vaguely useful’ sound interesting, I must probe that another time! Are there authors you admire? If you could be any author, of any period, who would you pick – and why?
It’s tempting to say Lord Byron for obvious (and slightly shallow) reasons, but I wish I had the wordsmithery of Mervyn Peake, the imagination of Haruki Murakami, and the philosophical intelligence of Herman Hesse. Is that being greedy?
You’re allowed to be greedy on my blog! Now, all authors find their own way of writing, but do you have tips for authors who might be struggling to find a path?
Be obstinate and believe in yourself. Face rejection with a smile and with hope that the next ms you send off will be ‘the one’. Be disciplined in your writing habits too, and stick to your routines. Make sure you also have a social life as writing can get very lonely.
All good advice, Jeff, thanks for that. I’ll try to take note of your sensible words on discipline … Thanks for being my guest and good luck with your new trilogy.
Donny is obsessed with his housemate, Selena – but his love is unrequited. He enthusiastically accepts her willing friendship, which only fuels his deepening fantasies. Jaz is their crazy landlord who likes sleeping with women – lots of them. He takes pleasure in educating the once innocent Donny in the hedonistic pleasures of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. It blows Donny’s mind.
Selena is engaged to Melvin – the perfect man – but is also keen to befriend the ever-demanding Donny … until she falls pregnant and her wedding looms.
Donny expresses his true feelings at the wedding, causing mayhem and anger. But there remains a chink of hope: perhaps Selena’s marriage to Melvin is not quite as perfect as it seems.
Jeff Gardiner is a UK author of three novels: Myopia, which explores bullying and prejudice; Igboland, set in Nigeria during the Biafran War; and Treading On Dreams, a tale of obsession and unrequited love. His work of non-fiction, The Law of Chaos: the Multiverse of Michael Moorcock, (Headpress) is out in paperback in August 2015. He has recently signed a three-book contract with Accent Press for his ‘Gaia’ fantasy trilogy, starting with Pica, a novel of transformation and ancient magic – due out in February 2016.
His acclaimed collection of short stories, A Glimpse of the Numinous, published by Eibonvale Press, contains horror, slipstream and humour. Many of his short stories have appeared in anthologies, magazines and websites.
‘Reading is a form of escapism, and in Gardiner’s fiction, we escape to places we’d never imagine journeying to.’ (A.J. Kirby, ‘The New Short Review’)
Treading on Dreams is published by Tiregearr