Sunday, August 18, 2013

Drama, tragedy, sex, violence...we're covering all the bases with Author Jams N Roses #asmsg #FreeEbook

Do you know why I enjoy hosting other authors for my "Open Mic Monday" feature? They're always fascinating individuals who enrich my world with their words. That's definitely the case today as I host author Jams N Roses who has lived a life worthy of a fictional character himself--from the coast of Spain to his current home in France, he's one of a kind. Thanks for being here and sharing a bit of your new release, Finding Her Feet, with us. 
Download 'Finding Her Feet' FREE today through Thursday only!

When did you first realize you wanted to be an author? 

Writing novels was never the original plan. I wanted to write movies. I’m a big film fan, and the thought of getting a story of mine onto the big screen was on my mind. But it didn’t happen. I got close, or fairly close; I’ve had producers interested, kit pledges, a couple of lesser known actors who wanted to be involved in my first screenplay, Get Clean, but ultimately nothing came of it, and that was the closest I ever came to realizing that dream. Then I heard, quite late compared to others, of Amazon helping writers to publish their own work, and I saw an opportunity to get my stories read without going through the drama of finding an agent or publisher who was open to investing in an unknown writer.

On average, how long does it take you to write a book? 

From the screenplay version of Get Clean, to the kindle and paperback versions now available on Amazon, around five years had passed! But not all books take that long; as a writer, you can’t let books take that long to write. My other titles have taken anywhere from two to five months.

Please tell us about your latest release. 

My latest novel, Finding Her Feet, is the tale of a young girl who sees, and to an extent, causes her twin sister to die. We follow as the family deals with the tragedy, but focus mainly on the surviving twin, Amanda, who carries the guilt with her for the years that follow.

Who is your favorite character in this novel--someone you'd actually like to know in real life?

Every character in this book has a flaw, as we all do in real life. I guess my favourite character would have to be the father. He’s a man who wants to do the right thing for everybody, but isn’t sure how. Perhaps I like him because I can relate to him…

Where do you find writing inspiration?

Inspirations for my books are life. Get Clean was heavily based on my life, and certain bad habits, when I lived in Spain. Son of a Serial Killer, my second novel, was really my way of venting frustrations that I was feeling at the time of writing – honestly, if you don’t own a punch bag, then write how you are feeling in a diary, or translate your feelings into a story of sorts, you’ll never get more realistic anger into your writing. Third release was Extremely England, and my life was a lot happier then. It is a satirical comedy, and the story really wrote itself, taking its lead from the ridiculous headlines that often take pride of place in the British press. Finding Her Feet is the story of someone who used to be close to me.

When did you write your first book?

As I said above, Get Clean was originally written in Spain. I lived on the south coast in Marbella for a couple of years or so, so the story was always going to involve sun, sea, sex, money, drugs and the nightlife.

What do you think makes a good story?

In my opinion, a good story needs to have characters that you either love or you love to hate. The reader needs to feel something when reading, which is why I always hope to feel something when writing; I’m hoping the emotions are caught on the page and shared that way.

Is there another genre aside from your current one that you'd like to write and why?

My books so far have covered slightly different genres, and a very different genre. I’ve got a satirical comedy, which reflects my childish sense of humour, and then the others are all involved in crime in some way, but one is more dramatic, the others perhaps more a thriller and psychological thriller. I write the story that comes to mind, then I’ll give it the label of which genre when it’s finished, not the other way around.

What types of fiction/literature do you enjoy reading?

If I want fiction, typically I watch films. Of course I’ve enjoyed the Michael Connelly books, Dan Brown, the Bourne series, etc., but when it comes to reading, I prefer to read factual books, or even opinion pieces. I love reading Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins for example.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

When I’m not writing, I’m at the beach or the park with my son. I try to get to the gym, but, well, you know, sometimes I can’t be bothered. It’s just so far. And tiring.

What's the strangest job you've ever had?

I used to sell ‘off-plan property investment opportunities’ to people, over the phone, when I lived in Spain. I couldn’t stand the job, and I’ll never do it again out of principle. I didn’t do it for long, I couldn’t, I’m sad that I was ever involved in a profession where the clear aim of the company was to take as much money from its clients as possible; ethically or not. The good news is that the company is no longer in business, although I’m sure there will always be others that come and go like those before. Yuk.

Are you more of a chef or take-out king? 

Being a single guy, I tend to eat a lot of pasta and tuna! I do try and add veg to whatever me and my son are eating, and I do throw beans into our soup in the hope that he’ll grow big and strong that way, so I’m no master chef! It’s not that I don’t like cooking (I don’t like the tidying up afterwards) it’s just that I don’t have any creativity in the kitchen. Pasta. Tuna. Soup. Pasta. Tuna. Soup…

Could you tell us 5 little known facts about yourself with us?

I spent two and a half years in Spain and never learned the language (read Get Clean to find out why).
I now live in France, and speak the language! Well… un peu.
Single dad; find it tiring yet rewarding, the best thing that ever happened.
Not a secret if you know me, my hair started receding at around seventeen years old. Seriously, I used to be handsome.
Usually, I am writing whilst wearing nothing but my boxer shorts. Make of that what you will.

What advice, if any, do you have for aspiring authors?

Advice I have for writers, is write. Don’t stop writing until you’ve got to the end of that first draft, and then don’t even look at it for at least a week. Forget about it. Then go back over it when you’re feeling fresh; you’ll find scores of mistakes and mechanical errors, but that’s a good thing. Then do another edit. Then get someone else to edit it. Then be brave, and give it to people to read.

Excellent advice, James. As for being a single parent, I can relate as a single mom (widowed). Busy is an understatement! It's been fun having you visit Kisses, Caresses & Whispers in the Night. Now let's take a look at 'Finding Her Feet'.

Book blurb...
Amanda watches as her sister falls through the broken ice. Tragically, Samantha doesn’t reappear until the following day, when her lifeless body is pulled from the water. The devastation continues as the family falls apart under the weight of emotional pain and unfair blame.
When overwhelmed with guilt, how does a child cope with a death in the family?
Drama/Tragedy – Adult Content – Sex & Violence – 16+

The three sisters played by the lake, a short walk from the back gate at the bottom of the garden. It was cold, the middle of winter, and the girls were wrapped up as warm as they could be.
Michelle Spencer, the eldest of the three girls at ten years old, had been instructed by their mother to get the nuisance children out of the house so she could have some peace and quiet whilst preparing dinner.
The girls had grown bored of playing with their dolls and teddy bears so amused themselves by throwing sticks onto the frozen lake, seeing who could throw them the greater distance from the shore. A small collection of twigs and small sticks had gathered on the water’s ice blanket, though they were becoming more difficult to see as the sky darkened; only a trace of the winter sun remained.
The twins, Amanda and Samantha Spencer, aged seven, couldn’t throw as far Michelle. It began to agitate Sam, especially as Michelle would mock them and giggle at how feeble they both were.
Amanda found it funny when her big sister teased and laughed at her and her sister, but Sam didn’t look up to Michelle like Amanda did. Sam was a big character in a small frame, and had even screamed at Michelle that she was supposed to be the big sister, that things had muddled up inside their mummy’s tummy, and that Michelle should have been Amanda’s twin.
One joke too many at Sam’s expense had pushed her over the limit. She shoved her older sister as hard as she could, who fell backwards and landed on the hardened grassy patch by the side of the lake. Michelle laughed at her sister’s anger. She was used to seeing it and knew that retaliating wound only wind her up further, so resisted.
However, her laughter stopped when she noticed a small cut on her hand, probably from landing too heavily on a sharp flint that sat beside her. She picked herself up before telling the twins to follow her home.
Amanda still laughed, but unlike Michelle, she didn’t know when best to leave Samantha alone, to let her settle and calm down. Not wanting the fun to stop, Amanda grabbed Sam’s teddy bear from her coat pocket and threw it onto the ice.
‘Stupid,’ shouted Sam.
The twins watched the teddy bear slip along the ice before stopping a few meters from the edge of the shore, and then looked to Michelle for advice on what to do next. But she was halfway to the back gate by then and hadn’t noticed the latest drama to unfold.
‘You better go get it, Amanda.’
‘I’m not getting it. It’s your bear.’
Samantha knew that Amanda was as stubborn as Sam was feisty, and realised straight away that she’d have to get her teddy bear back herself. She took one more look to see if Michelle had seen there was a problem and decided to come back and help, but she was nowhere to be seen.
Careful not to slip over, Samantha took tiny steps onto the ice towards her favourite cuddly toy. She was grateful that the white ice wasn’t as slippery as she’d first presumed, and found herself approaching the bear with ease and confidence.
Amanda looked on as Sam bent down and picked up the teddy bear, then turned and gave a smug grin to the her younger twin sister.
‘Got it,’ she said, as she stuffed the toy back into her pocket.
‘Oi, you two, come on,’ called Michelle from the gate that led through the garden and up to the house.
Michelle saw that the girls hadn’t even started the walk back to the house, but worse than that, she saw that one of her baby sisters had ventured out onto the ice. She started walking back towards the lake.
‘Come on, Sam, it’s getting cold,’ said Amanda.
But Samantha didn’t budge.
‘I can’t move,’ she said, ‘the ice is breaking.’
Sam had heard a crack from beneath her feet, and whenever she tried to slide a foot forward and closer to the shore, another crack in the ice would appear.
‘Come on, Sam, just come on,’ pleaded Amanda. ‘Just do it, quickly, come on.’
Sam realised that staying put wasn’t going to help, but she was beginning to panic, and couldn’t bring herself to move her legs. She could clearly see the cracks appearing from under her shoes and spreading along the white surface.
Amanda saw Michelle approaching and urged her sister to hurry. Then she turned back to Sam, and for a brief moment their eyes locked.
The youngest of the three sisters saw a tear run down the rosy red cheeks of her beloved twin, as a large crack split open beneath Sam’s right foot, before a final crunching of the ice below her feet was followed by a small splash, and Sam was gone.
Amanda stood frozen to the spot as Michelle ran screaming towards the lake. The eldest sister shook the youngest out of her trance and ordered her to go and get their mummy.
‘Go!’ screamed Michelle, ‘go!’
Amanda sprinted as fast as she could up the gentle incline towards the family home, as Michelle tried to get out on the ice to the hole that had appeared just a few moments ago, the hole that had just swallowed one of her little sisters whole.
Michelle, bigger than her sister, couldn’t make it close to the hole without breaking more ice beneath her feet. She couldn’t move forward, but through the tears streaming down her face, she could see that Samantha hadn’t yet resurfaced.
She was forced back, and luckily made a leap towards the shore before a large chunk of ice broke apart beneath her and landing her with the same fate as her little sister.
Claire, the girls’ mother came running down from the garden, screaming at Michelle.
‘Where is she?’ Where is she?’
Claire slowly edged her way onto the ice a couple of feet along the shore, but again, the ice was too weak to hold any substantial weight.
Amanda stayed at the back gate, looking down towards the lake where her mother and Michelle jumped up and down where they stood, frantically screamed at the water, as if by making enough noise, Sam would miraculously rise up from the ice cold water, that smug smile that she loved to give so much plastered across her face.
She watched as her mother dropped to her knees, pulled a phone from her pocket, dialled a number and put the phone to her ear.
Then the lonely twin watched as Michelle tried to give her mummy a hug, only to be pushed away and shouted at.
         Amanda swiped away some hair that hung down in her face, and made her way up the garden path and back into the house.
Brilliant! I can't wait to read more.
‘Finding Her Feet’ is available on Amazon now…
Download 'Finding Her Feet' FREE today through Thursday only!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for having me, Amber.
As a promotion for the relase of 'Finding Her Feet', it is available now for FREE! on Amazon, up to and including Thursday 22nd August.
I hope you and your readers enjoy my latest offering.
Regards, Jams N. Roses

Amber Lea Easton said...

That's very generous of you, Jams! I've revised the post so that everyone can clearly see that. Thanks again for joining us today.