BFJ: You arrived on the indie lit scene at the end of October with a first story published in Bristol Noir, followed shortly by the announcement that your first novel, Parochial Pigs, was going to be published in January by the Alien Buddha. Can you tell us a bit about how the query process went for you?
JJ: Red from Alien Buddha was fantastic. A real person rather than a generic email responding that they had received my manuscript was a rare treat. I was fortunate that The Book Folks considered my manuscript back in the summer. Despite reading both books, they decided it wasn’t right for their list and advised I try Bristol Noir. I reached out to John Bowie who invited me to submit a short. If it wasn’t for John, I probably wouldn’t have discovered the indie scene or the Alien Buddha. From query to publishing date, Red has been exceptional.
BFJ: And tell us about this debut novel. How long did it take you to write?
JJ: It started in a very round about way. A friend of mine who made a gangster indie film, asked me to write another script idea. I had a concept I wanted to use and after sixteen hours and ten thousand words later I realised that this wasn’t going to be an indie film. I didn’t know what to do with it for a while but then spent another two years turning it into a novel.
BFJ: How would you describe it in a few words? And how would your harshest critic describe it?
JJ: Me: “A gritty gangland novel entwined with dark humour and a ritualistic undertone.” Critic: “Too much foul language, overly violent and borderline perverted.” Mind you, I’d be happy with that!
BFJ: What authors influence you?
JJ: Chuck Palahniuk, Charles Bukowski, Hunter S. Thompson and Irvine Welsh. More recently it’s all been Indie authors. Thanks to yourself, Stephen J Golds, M. E. Proctor, John Bowie, Scott Cumming and so many more. Basically, if you’ve had a story in one of these great lit mags then you had an influence in my short story writing.
BFJ: If it had to be turned into a movie, what actors and director come to mind?
JJ: Tim Roth, Paddy Constantine and Stephen Graham if they work on their West-Country accents. Tarantino, Guy Ritchie and Shane Meadows working together.
BFJ: Did you always write? What’s the first thing you ever wrote?
JJ: I loved writing from an early age but lost my confidence in high school. I’ve always written songs so unfortunately, I’d have to be honest and say my earliest song I can remember, Lampshade Cat. An eleven-year old’s account of his feline after castration.
BFJ: And how do you fit your writing around your work and family life?
JJ: I get asked this a lot by friends and family. The truth is, I have an incredibly supportive wife. I definitely married well. I could regret saying this, but I get a lot of free time at work. They put Word on the computer handhelds, what are you going to do?
BFJ: You’ve had a few more pieces published lately, are they part of a bigger work?
JJ: I’m fairly new to writing short fiction. I started by writing extra parts from the world of Parochial Pigs, since then I’ve really enjoyed pushing my boundaries more. I’m not sure if I will ever do something to collect them together. For now, I’m just grateful that they were given a home. Nearly all my shorts have been written bespoke for each publisher. They are as much theirs as mine.
BFJ: What are your writing plans for 2022?
JJ: Aside from promoting Parochial Pigs, I need to polish up the sequel and finish the third. Another novel has forced its way to the top of my focus. It’s a standalone from the series and not about twisted gangsters which makes a welcome change. Aside from that I really have the bug for writing short stories now. Be warned!
BFJ: What’s your current read?
JJ: Ha! You timed this question well. I’m currently reading Artifice by B F Jones. You might have heard of them? Chuck’s Doomed is next.
BFJ: You’re at the bar, who are you drinking with, what are you having?
JJ: Hunter S. Thompson. I’m drinking Carlsberg because I need a clear head for whatever Thompson’s got in that briefcase.
Parochial Pigs will be on available from Amazon from 16/01/2022: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09NRK1J2Z/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_V0VNYQFD1YXMKVNM1MFA
Read Blue Tiger on Bristol Noir: https://www.bristolnoir.co.uk/short-story-blue-tiger-by-james-jenkins/
Read Brick on A Thin Slice of Anxiety: http://www.athinsliceofanxiety.com/2021/12/fiction-brick.html