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Interview with Jason Cook

He has gone on to written children’s books and poems. He says he didn’t set out to be an author. It happened by accident when he wrote about his own life experiences and shared them with the probation officer, who said this would be a great book. It then developed from there. Even though he is dyslexic, he continues to write books and concepts for movies. He plans to write 12 books over 10 years and also turns them into films. 

He also helps other authors achieve their books and give the advice to enable them to publish. Born in London, he moved to Hertfordshire, where he writes most days in his lunch break at work. He has two great sons. His first book outsold Dan Brown's book in his local area in the WH Smith. He has been lucky enough to have been reviewed in the Sun newspaper and local papers and magazines. He also works at developing movies in his spare time.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
I collect coins.

Q.2 Do you have any upcoming books?
My next book is called Pirates of the South, due to launch end of March.

Q.3 When did you decide to write the There’s No Room for Jugglers in My Circus series?
It started when I was in prison by chance as I was told to write about my life as a form of rehabilitation. Once the first book was completed, it went really well that those that had bought it from Amazon were asking when the next one was as I had left the story open, not knowing that a bit later on, 4 more books would come from the first.

Q.4 How did you come up with the name of your books?
They are based on slang words that I would use in my past life or what suits the writing I’m writing, leveeing them intrigued as to what the story might be about, or I use a bit in the story as I write and think that would be great as the title.

Q.5 If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t pay or be fooled by publishers that claimed to want to publish my work but ask you to pay an upfront fee. Lucky for me, I got my payment back when I sold my books, but not everyone gets that chance.

Q.6 How did you select the name of your characters?
I think about what the curators are about and its traits, then device a name appropriate to that person depending on who you are writing about, whether fictitious or real. Look at using nicknames as well or names that fit the world I'm writing about.

Q.7 Who designed your book cover?
The first book cover was designed by the publisher Pen Press, who have now gone. My other covers were designed by Paul Joual.

Q.8 How long does it takes you to write a book?
It usually takes me a year as I’m dyslexic, so it takes me a little longer them most authors; also, I have to plan around my work and family life to have time to write, so that also takes time but learning to be more disciplined even if it means writing in my lunch break.

Q.9 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
I have now written 6 books and hope to write 12 altogether. Most of the books have also been screenplay adaptions and vice versa. I wrote There’s No Room for Jugglers in My Circus, The Gangster's Runner, A Nice Little Earner, and Cocaine the Devil's Dandruff, and I’m working on the pre-call to that book called the Cookster. I have also written a children’s book based on an actual event that changed our world as we know it as it made it possible for women and men astronauts to go into space.

Q.10 Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?
I hope to become a full-time writer earning enough money to stay at home and write and with the books make them into films. The first book screenplay is also winning exciting awards.

Q.11 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
I don’t have unique writing habits. I just write as and when I can use a computer at any given opportunity. I find different places sets of varying creativity.

Q.12 Do you believe in writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?
Not sure as not had it. I am blessed at present, but taking breaks from the writing can be good as it gives you the fresh eyes and focuses that you need to get back to it. Writer's block can be used to find more development also so it can be good and time to think where you might go with a character.

Q.13 What is the most challenging thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Mmmm, it’s hard to understand how it might be for the other sex. As you have to think like them, so can be pretty challenging, and boy, if you get it wrong, you’re never, never stop talking about it.

Q.14 What kind of writers or thinkers most influenced your thinking about bio fiction?
This is hard for me as I like to read all different things. I’m not drawn to one thing, but I like to read facts, so no one influenced me; at present, I like Dan Brown.

Q.15 How does your family/friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?
My children are embarrassed by the books and say I’m wasting my time. Mum and my partner are great and very supportive. My partner is creative, so she understands the commitment and time to create projects and bring them to life. Mum helps where she can; she even bought me the first computer to start writing.

Q.16 How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
A lot of my plots so far are based on my own experiences, making them more accessible. I build the world around them and then add the plot. What, where, when, how, and who else might be involved and what changes them or makes them do what they do. First, I get a char tour, build them their traits like what they want to achieve, what will happen to them, and then take them on the journey into the world.

Q.17 For those who are new to this biographical fiction kind of writing, can you recommend a place to start?
There are many ways to start. You can start from a year, start from the present time, start from a pinnacle that happened, or you can do flashbacks start with a critical moment in time, or you can follow a timeline. Or open it up with what was going on in the world at that time.

Q.18 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I think I would try and become an actor, but I also think I would become very bored as I'd have more time on my hands.

Q.19 Can you clarify how biographical fiction can help us to understand and negotiate the relationship between truth and fiction in the twenty-first century?
With the story of truth and Biographical we understand and know that it is accurate, but with fiction added in, we can enjoy the thinking of was that true or was that fiction and decipher from them both as it keeps us guessing like with stories of history, we only know the outline was actual and the person, but how could we possibly know what made them tick or what their goals really were, or plans were or did that really happen.

We can not possibly know the truth, so fiction has to be added to tell the story. We enjoy this biographical fiction in the twenty-first century, like with the book Mars or with a story based on actual events or life stories. Author and writers do this a lot when they write about historical figures or intriguing people like the wolf of wall street and Roman times; there are elements of truth in there, so I feel that stories like this are needed to enhance the enjoyment of reading and storytelling. It creates a feeling of what fake and what true.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
Ok, so I got diagnosed with dyslexia which was a blessing. I wrote my first book in 2005 about my life experiences growing up called There’s No Room for Jugglers in My Circus; this lead on to my second and 3rd and 4th installment of the first, then got the first book into the WH Smith joint a writers group then helped other authors. Then I got the inspiration to write a children's book called Rats in Space, also based on a real-life event that changed the world as we know it. I am now about to release my new book called pirates of the south.

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