My Interview with Jon Gibbs
SEAN: Your MG novel, Fur-Face, is a work of fiction that is bound to make its way into the hearts of countless children. What exactly was your inspiration for the story?
JON: Pretty much everyone talks to their pets (I know I always did), so it wasn’t too much of a leap to decide to write a book about a cat (Snowy) that could answer back. I thought it would create a lot more story problems (and be more fun for the reader) if I made it so only one human could ‘hear’ him.
SEAN: Every author has a character in their book that they adore above all others. Often it is a character that isn’t essential to the story, or even the main character. Who is yours?
JON: That would be Mr. Tinkles. He’s a gorilla with a very distinct (and I hope, memorable) personality, and not at all what you’d expect.
SEAN: Which of the characters in Fur-Face is most like you?
JON: Lol, I wish I could say I’m like Aggie –the eccentric grandmother who owns the animal research center and Adventure Safari (a zoo/theme park) in the story. She’s a lot of fun, but in truth I’m much more like Billy Euston’s dad and the hapless Marcus Sedgewick.
SEAN: Fur-Face is about a very special friend of the feline persuasion. How about in real life? Do you have pets that inspire you?
JON: Years ago, I had three cats, each with its own distinct personality, but sadly, with two special needs children, pets are pretty much out of the question these days.
SEAN: I know you’re working on a sequel. Could you tell us a little about it?
JON: It’s called Barnum’s Revenge. I’ve been revising the outline to give to my critique group next month. There are two new human characters in the sequel and a new animal (a skunk)which plays a pivotal role.
SEAN: Do you have any other works in the pipeline?
JON: I’m about ready to start pitching Waking up Jack Thunder, to agents. It’s a Science-fiction action/adventure about a shy scientist who gets the brain patterns of a retired CIA agent stuck inside his head. I’m also mapping out the outline of an MG novel, Dead Doris, a contemporary paranormal adventure about the ghost of a 12-yr-old Victorian girl and her not-even-a-bit-dead best friend.
SEAN: I noticed you have quite the knack for flash fiction. I do the same, but usually it’s on topics thrown at me from friends on social networking sites. What do you use for the inspiration for these and where can fans of yours find your works?
JON: I like to write drabbles (100-word stories). I usually get my ideas by playing ‘What if?’
Once I have the general theme, I start with the ending and go from there. My drabbles have appeared at FlashShot (though they’re not currently online there) and at Every Day Fiction, where my story, WILD WEST JUSTICE, was included in their anthology, The Best of Every Day Fiction Two.
SEAN: What’s been the hardest part of writing/publishing for you so far?
JON: For me, the hardest part of the whole process was accepting that my writing stunk and that I didn’t know what I was doing. When you start your career, there’s so much you don’t even know you don’t know. I wasted several years writing and rewriting early drafts of Fur-Face before I realized that if I ever wanted to get anywhere, I had to first accept that I had a lot to learn, then go learn it, and then apply that knowledge.
SEAN: When you write, what helps you the most? Silence? Music? Do you have a particular muse?
JON: I seem to get my best story ideas in the wee small hours of the morning…stupid Muse L
SEAN: If somebody offered you a chance to turn your book into a movie, is there a famous actor who you would like to provide the voice of Snowy?
JON: Not sure. Maybe the man who voices the Gecko on the TV commercials?
SEAN: In your blog, An Englishman in New Jersey, you often refer to your old gran. She sounds like one tough cookie. Was she really as hard to please as you make out?
JON: I’d never diss my old gran (she’d come back and haunt me for sure), but suffice to say that the priest at her funeral, who’d known her since childhood, told mourners that my old gran was an amazing character, who could brighten up an entire room, just by leaving it.
SEAN: One last question: What are you currently doing to promote Fur-Face?
JON: Well, there’s a Summer-long promotion (which runs until August 31st) for people who buy, review and/or help me promote my book. It has lots of cool prizes, including Quake eBooks and a special edition CD featuring music from my singing days with the British band, Gentleman Jones, More recently, I started the Fur-Face Win-A-Kindle prize draw, in which, as you may have already guessed, I’m giving away a brand new Kindle. Aside from that, I’ve got personal appearances lined up alongside some of my friends in the New Jersey Authors’ Network as well as some presentations/workshops based on my blog series The Fine Art of Self-Promotion.
Born in England, Jon Gibbs now lives in the USA, where he’s the founder and proud member of The New Jersey Authors’ Network and FindAWritingGroup.com. His debut novel, Fur-Face (Echelon Press) is available from Amazon.com (Kindle) and in other e-formats at OmniLit.com.
When he’s not chasing around after his three children, Jon can usually be found sitting in front of the computer in his basement office. One day he hopes to figure out how to switch it on.
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