Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Interrogating Jim Chaseley

My 6th interview is with the mysterious man (?) known as Jim Chaseley.  Nothing is known of him  ..... until now

How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?

Simple. There is no balance. I can only write what I want to write. I find writing difficult enough as it is, so I can only do it if I’m totally into it. However, since releasing my first novel, I’ve found that I do want to change a few things here and there, based on feedback. But I’ve got to realise, if I do that, I’ll eventually be stuck in an endless loop! An endless loop, an endless loop an endle-

What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.

That’s a toughie, because I don’t really think about genre when I’m writing. I just start writing something from the seed of an idea, and, last time, it just happened to be science fiction. You yourself said that Z14 could work even outside of sci-fi, and I agree. My next-up project is (sort of) historical fiction, unless I do my one that I suppose is fantasy, because it’s about a giant, next. I’d write a western if I thought of a funny story about a cowboy, and I sure as heck don’t read westerns.

Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them?

That would suggest a level of organisation I just am not cut out for. I keep notes, sure, they’re all over the place, including notes in places I’ll never look at again, or in the middle of a chapter I’m writing for a completely different book. Oh, and I’ve got a Word document on one of my three different Google Docs accounts, called “Notes About Z14”, which is actually chapter three for an unwritten novel about a giant. Just last week I found an email I’d sent myself in 2006, and never read, which said “Don’t forget about the airship that goes down like a let-go balloon.” I have no idea what that’s about, but it sounds fun...and it kind of started me thinking about a completely different idea…
I horrified myself at work the other day, by firing up a technical design document I was writing and hidden in the middle was a Z14 joke about robotic hamsters. I knew I’d left something out of Z14.

How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with ?

Hopefully none! If you ever like anything about any of my characters, then it’s that one, okay?

Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?

Ha! No. Quite the reverse. I don’t talk about my writing while I’m doing it. Not to the people who are truly close to me, although I seek approval from, and continually bother friends about it. It’s blatantly a security and fear of failure thing. Although, actually, I did ask my wife some strange science-based questions while I was writing Z14 (when she didn’t have a clue what I was doing, because I was too afraid of her not liking it). She’s got a PhD in biochemistry, so I’d try to just casually start a conversation about stem cells with her in the middle of Corrie, and get a really funny look (and then a really good answer, too, of course).

What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?

Reading’s taken a backseat to my writing, of late. I just don’t seem to find the time to read much at all anymore (Sorry Davie! I am making progress with A Sword For Hire!). I love it when I do find or make the time to plough through something, however, and I’ll read quite broadly when I do. From Cormac McCarthy’s amazing The Road straight to some god-awful Star Wars book or other. I’ve got a bit of a weakness for computer/video games, though and that steals a lot of reading time. And then there’s so much amazing TV, too (The Wire, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Game of Thrones…on and on…).

What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?

No great lengths. I don’t think my book does have the X factor, really. It’s a good, fun book, and I’d love for people to give it a try, but it’s not amazing. Promoting my book is a terribly onerous task. I just do not like waving my filthy wares under people’s noses. I have to, and do do it, but not a lot. At times, I’ve even gone to greater lengths to dissuade people from reading it, if I think a particular person I’m engaged with won’t like it, or is planning to read it for the wrong reasons (like, to get a back-scratch review, for example). Still, I’ve learned from publishing a book that you can’t judge a reader by their forum profile! Some people who I’ve really thought would hate my book have loved it, and then others I’d presumed would like it have been less impressed (or not at all!).
I think the greatest length I went to was getting you to review it, Joo. And that turned out okay! ;)

How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?

Well, I thank them profusely and then glow red with shame for a while before excusing myself and mentally going into a shed and doing an impression of Darth Vader, finding out his gerbil’s just died. A terribly hammy, “Nooooooooooooooooooooo!”

What do you like most about visiting KUF?

The hidden porn sub-forum? Either that, or just keeping an eye on the Kindle, and by extension eBook, world, really. Even if I don’t post much, I’m keeping tabs on what everyone else is up to. It’s one of only a couple of really nice communities I’ve found, where I want to hang around, rather than “having to”, for the publicity grind.

What is on your near horizon?

Whether the horizon is near or far, it’s a 360 degree thing, and I find myself surrounded by my ideas. I’m bobbing around on a little rubber dinghy and they’re bearing down on me from all directions. If I pick one and focus on it, I start to wonder what the others are up to; how they’re doing without me. They start to creep up on me from behind…so I constantly flit back and forth like an indecisive, hyperactive moth in a floodlit stadium. I’ll either end up completing five things at once, or spinning, spinning spinning, until I create a whirlpool that sucks me down to oblivion.
And when I’m down there, I’ll start a story about that, too.

But, if I remain on-course and don’t become distracted by a) another idea, b) shiny things, or, c)….sorry, where were we? If I remain on-course, then next up is something pretty different to Z14 (which is sci-fi humour). It’s a fun medieval story about two men who become rather unlikely friends - and even more unlikely knights - who end up getting sucked into a madman’s nefarious plans.

Where can we find you for more information?

More information? Try MI5’s secret file on me. Or my currently somewhat neglected website: - If I’m not in my mental head-shed, going “Nooooooooooo!”.

You can see my review of Z14 here:


  1. Another great interview! I love that I'm not the only one who finds it hard to read these days. When I'm editing, I can only read non-fiction.

    And where oh where is that hidden porn sub-forum? :)

  2. Oh, that was a great interview! Seeing Jim's posts on KUF I sometimes got the impression of a wasp in a jam jar ... However Jim's own words of .. " constantly flit back & forth like an indecisive hyperactive moth in a floodlit stadium " is much better Lol
    Brilliant , really enjoyed reading it all & the next book looks most interesting!


  3. I think Jim Chaseley is completly nuts ! but with the imagination to be a great innovative writer. And successful.

  4. Wasp in a jam jar? Nuts? *shrug* Fair enough :)

    Doing this interview was fun, and I'm pleased to read here and elsewhere that a couple of people enjoyed it. I was terribly reticent to have my answers published at first, but now I want more! Anyone else got a spare interview slot?

    I hope my irreverent answers don't detract from the fact that my book is a serious attempt at light, humorous entertainment of the slightly "cussy" variety... :)

    Thanks Joo, for the exposure and the lovely pink avatar. I'm prepared to cheat on Joo now, though ;) Anyone want a bit of Jim on their website?

    *Gets flattened by a runaway heard of wild tumbleweeds*