Let’s try this one again, shall we? And do the correct blog tour post on the correct day! I’m blaming it on the cabin fever, haha! Anyway, today is my stop on the blog tour for Anaconda Vice by James Stansfield and I have a Q&A with the man himself!
About the author:
James Stansfield grew up in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire and now lives in Cardiff with his wife and daughter. He began his writing career contributing features and television reviews to the website Den of Geek, covering shows such as The Killing, Banshee and Archer.
His action thriller debut, Anaconda Vice, will be published in February 2018.
About the book:
When Lucas Winter, a retired professional wrestler, runs out of gas on a dark and desolate road, his only thoughts are on getting to the lights of the small town up ahead, getting some gas, and getting out of there…only things aren’t quite what they seem in the tiny town of Anaconda.
Before he has a chance to solve his transport problem, Lucas finds himself in trouble with the law after a local man picks a fight with him…and then ends up dead. Innocent, Lucas fights to clear his name, tangling with the local law enforcement and the family of the dead man, who seem set on taking their revenge. Can Lucas get out alive? And just what is it that the residents of Anaconda are hiding….
Q&A with James:
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Of course, but first, thank you for having me on the blog. I grew up in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire but I’ve been in Cardiff, Wales for 13 years now following 5 years in Scotland. I live with my wife Genevieve and daughter Lily. In my day job I’m an I.T. Support Analyst and Programmer, which is nowhere near as interesting as writing.
How did you get into writing? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?
Yes, pretty much, in one way or another. I’ve always written something. I used to steal blank exercise books from school and fill them with stories or film reviews. I suppose I started taking it seriously when I began writing for the website Den of Geek in 2012. They gave me a chance and it was a big confidence booster.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Anywhere and everywhere. I think one of the major plot points in Anaconda Vice came from a newspaper article I read one morning on the bus. Other times it can be a hint of an idea or character from something on TV or a line in a song. It all gets thrown together to hopefully form something that resembles a story.
How would you describe your writing to anyone who hasn’t read your book?
I’m aiming to entertain. I want people to look forward to perhaps settling down at the end of the day with it and being able to forget everything else that they’ve got going on. There’s enough doom and gloom going on in the world right now that I think everyone needs some escapist fun and that’s what I hope Anaconda Vice delivers. That’s how writing it felt so I hope that translates to the reader.
Do you think social media helps in regard to promotion and drumming up publicity for a new book?
Definitely, especially Twitter. I’ve been quite overwhelmed by how supportive the book community has been on Twitter and it’s certainly helped news of Anaconda Vice reach people. I’ve been a big Twitter user for a number of years and it’s a great tool for connecting with people you share common interests with. I do think that you need to temper the promotional stuff with some personal bits too. People want to know what you’re doing, watching, reading and enjoying, not just to be hit with a sales pitch several times a day.
What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?
In terms of the actual writing, probably when you’re working on a chapter and without realizing it you’ve done a thousand words as it’s just flowed so naturally. That always feels pretty good.
Away from the keyboard, I’m still getting used to the idea that people are reading a book that I’ve written, so whenever anyone tells me they are, or that they’re excited to read it, that’s something that’s been really encouraging.
What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?
I suppose the worst thing that’s happened to me so far was having to throw away an entire book after working on it for seven months. It was only a first draft and I know everyone says that first drafts are supposed to be terrible but I think you know when something is never going to work. It was a learning experience if nothing else.
Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?
I’d like to continue writing books about Lucas Winter, the protagonist of Anaconda Vice. He’s a lot of fun to write and if people enjoy the character then I’d like to have another three or four of his adventures out by 2023. I’m working on the follow up now and I’ve got at least another couple of plots in mind for him.
What’s next for you?
Immediately, that’ll be the second draft of Lucas Winter 2. I recently sent a synopsis of the story to Liz and Lisa at Manatee Books and thankfully, they gave it a double thumbs up.
I often wonder are authors voracious readers. Do you read much, and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy?
Absolutely. I try to read for an hour before going to sleep most nights, though I sometimes don’t last that long if I’m tired. I’ll read anything that takes my fancy, though in recent years crime fiction and thrillers in one shape or another have dominated most of my choices. I like horror, YA and occasional bit of fantasy too. I’m one of the many still waiting on that sixth A Song of Ice and Fire book.
Can you tell me your all time favourite book, or if you have to, your top 5?
My very favourite book is Alex Garland’s paradise gone wrong thriller The Beach. I first read it when I was at university and it was like nothing else I’d come across before. I read it again every couple of years. I don’t think I’ve ever identified with a character as much as I do Richard. It’s simply a stunning book.
Has there been any books you’ve read that you wish you had written?
Loads but right at the top of the list would be Futuristic Violence & Fancy Suits by David Wong. It’s a future set thriller with some incredible world building and is so effortlessly cool. It’s also one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. More recently, I would love to have written Six Stories or Hydra by Matt Wesolowski. Those books are jaw-droppingly brilliant and I can’t wait to read what he does next.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Aside from the day job, parenting, writing and reading, I like to watch wrestling both live and on TV, which will probably come as no surprise given Lucas Winter’s background. There’s a great promotion called Attack Pro Wrestling who run shows in Cardiff and Bristol so I go to see them about once a month.
I follow American Football between September and February. I’m a New England Patriots fan which, well, our season didn’t end quite as we’d have hoped this year. I also try to get out for a half hour run three times a week, which is a brilliant way to take some time out to solve nagging plot problems. You’d be amazed what you can figure out whilst jogging along to Slipknot.
Have you any hobbies that aren’t book-related?
Our household is pretty heavily into gaming so Friday and Saturday nights are usually spent on the PlayStation. My wife and I have just finished playing a fantastic game called Danganronpa – Trigger Happy Havoc. It’s an interactive Japanese anime where you have to solve murders in a mysterious high school. Games have played a pretty big influence on my writing. When I wrote Anaconda Vice I was playing the first three Uncharted games and there’s definitely a bit of Nathan Drake in Lucas Winter.
What’s your favourite holiday destination?
New York City. It’s the best city in the world with just the most amazingly friendly people. On our last visit, my wife and I saw Pearl Jam play two consecutive nights at Madison Square Garden, the second show being the best concert I’ve ever attended. I also love the Madives. We spent two weeks there in a villa over the water and I don’t think I’ve ever been more relaxed in my entire life.
I’m a total crisps fiend but saying Doritos seems rather lame. There’s a place in Cardiff called the New York Deli which does the most incredible hoagies so I’ll go with those. Oh, and my wife’s vanilla cupcakes are out of this world.
It’s a toss up between a good strong coffee and a glass of Shiraz.
Last but not least, why writing? Why not something else?
I want to give some deep and meaningful answer here but the truth is, I just enjoy doing it. Even when I was writing things that nobody but me would ever read, I always liked coming up with phrases, descriptions and stories. And besides, I tried being in a band for years only to be forced to admit in the end that I had not one shred of musical talent, so writing it is.
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