Hi, folks! Today, we’re continuing our Quick Q&A series by speaking to Oli Jacobs, the author of the Kirk Sandblaster series. Read on to find out what happened…
Tell us a little bit about your latest release – what’s it called and what’s it about?
OJ: My latest book is Kirk Sandblaster Faces TETRAGEDDON, the 4th in the Kirk Sandblaster series. It is a sci-fi comedy that (so I’ve been told) has a mixed flavour of Douglas Adams & Terry Pratchett to it, with my own brand of uniqueness thrown in. In this Kirk adventure, our intrepid rogue finds that all his money has gone missing, as well as most of the space beings in the Universe, so he does what any self-respecting person would do, and complains to the bank. This ends up with him being shanghaied into entering the planetoid space station Tetra Bank Alpha, and facing a number of enemies including drones, mercenaries, Zaarian rebels and, of course, vending machines.
Tell us about your writing routine – how do you get things done?
OJ: Through plenty of procrastination. Although, once that’s finished, I usually rattle through a chapter (usually at least 1,000 words) a day, or plot a story out through chapter paragraphs or plot beats. Once a book is done, I set it aside for a while, before then giving it to my crack team of proof-readers, who are released into the wild and search the story for any spelling errors, grammatical faux-pas, and confusing story bits. Suffice to say, the notes I get back are numerous and inflammatory. However, once this is done, I perform a final edit, give a story a good once over, and have it proofed one more time before publication. And after all of that, I drink. I drink a lot.
How do you get the word out about your writing?
OJ: I’m the first to admit I’m terrible when it comes to marketing. If it was up to me, part of my approach would be performing drive-bys consisting of me throwing my books at random strangers. Of course, the legality of this makes it a bad choice, so I usually plug away on social media such as Twitter (*cough* @OliJacobsAuthor *cough*), Tumblr, and my blog site. Other than that, I do the odd book signing in my local area, or just convince drunk people that my books are top stuff and should definitely be bought instead of that second whisky.
What was the last book that you read and what did you think of it?
OJ: I’m currently reading Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy after putting it off for so long, and really enjoying the book in comparison to how it has been told in various other media. Before that, the last book I finished was American Psycho, which was… interesting. One of those books that you love or hate depending on how you read the themes in it. However, the last book I read was Ulrich Haarburste’s Novel of Roy Orbison in Cling Film, which disproves the old Family Guy adage of a joke remains funny no matter how many times you tell it. Again. And again. And once again. Suffice to say, I had to discard it before finishing.
What have you got planned for the future? What can we expect to see?
OJ: Well I have several more Kirk Sandblaster adventures to inflict upon the literary world, but aside from that I am finishing the edit on my next novel HelterSkelterLand, a dark comedy that is effectively a reverse Dante’s Inferno of pop culture set in a night–club, while also prepping the first in my crime thriller series Mr Blank, about a man who wakes up in the desert, surgically butchered and with no idea who he is. You know, light and fluffy stuff.
What’s the best piece of feedback that you’ve received so far?
OJ: While I’ve received a lot of feedback both good and bad over my writing years, the one that I keep in mind all the time is: write for yourself, don’t write for an audience. I was told this in my early writing days after somebody told me that the reason I wasn’t selling books was because my stories weren’t “mass market friendly”. However, a fellow writer buddy set me aside and reassured me this is nonsense, and that I should write the stories I want to tell, rather than the ones we assume the public want to read. Another good bit of advice I got was don’t write drunk, but then that may be because of Bad Sandwich…
Could you write us a story using only three sentences?
OJ: A man walks into a bar, only to find it is a recursive temporal anomaly. He walks out again and considers his next action. He walks back into the bar, only to find it is a recursive temporal anomaly…
Tell us a little about High Wycombe – what do you think of the place?
OJ: Very hilly. Aside from that, it’s quite decent as a small market town. I originally come from Southampton, specifically Hamble-le-Rice, so I’m used to big cities contrasting with quiet village greens. The access to London was what first appealed to me, but now I’ve made plenty of friends/drinking buddies here, as well as finding the love of my life. But don’t tell her that, she’ll get a big head. Oh, and it has the best Indian I’ve ever set foot in: Bombay Palace. Enjoy the Najakat and tell them OJ sent you; they’ll have no idea what you mean.
What’s the soundtrack to your writing? What do you listen to?
OJ: In the past, it depended on genre; horror would find me listening to more aggressive metal like Slipknot & System of a Down, while comedy would end up being something a bit easier such as Reggie and the Full Effect or Foo Fighters. Nowadays though, I’m happier listening to instrumental works such as soundtracks or post-rock bands such as Godspeed You! Black Emporer.
What other indie authors have you got your eyes on at the moment?
OJ: A favourite of mine, who I follow on Twitter, is Jason Arnopp. The guy has an excellent pedigree when it comes to writing, having worked on Doctor Who and such, and his latest book The Last Days of Jack Sparks is on my radar. Other than that, I discovered a local-ish writer named Dave Turner whose books How to be Dead & Paper Cuts are very much in the Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett mold. Think Good Omens but with more admin.