I just finished reading an excellent time-travel fantasy novel by UK based Indie Author, P.J. Benney, and through the magical platform they call Twitter, I was able to score myself a one-on-one Author Interview.
|Meet P.J. Benney (Photo courtesy of GoodReads)|
The first big project I ever saw through to completion was during November 2009 for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I think that’s the point at which I realised writing was more than something you did at school when you were told to. The book was awful – it was a historical novel about the lost city of Atlantis that ended with everyone drowning – but it was a start!
I’ve always favoured fantasy and sci-fi, but in a contemporary/present-day setting. Nowadays I don’t really feel the need to craft new worlds when the one we have is already complicated enough. I’ve also begun developing an idea that’s more literary and further from genre fiction, but that’s a long way away yet.
My first novel, Déjà Moo, is available on Amazon Kindle worldwide! It’s a comic-fantasy set in modern-day London, about a celebrity named Daniel who discovers a conspiracy against him, and a witch named Cynthia who suspects her boyfriend has played a part in the scandal. Cynthia and Daniel team up to investigate the disappearance of Lily, a Holstein heifer who serves as the mascot for Daniel’s business, but soon realise the conspiracy is bigger than both of them.
I don’t think I’m prolific enough to have fans yet, but everyone who’s read it said really nice things about a short story that was published in an anthology by the University of Roehampton (my old university) a few years ago. That was based around the theme of parallel universes, and it’s something I’ve been meaning to get back to. I’m planning to rework it into a novella in the coming months and tie it into Déjà Moo.
If I’m honest, I feel like the idea developed on its own. It certainly ended up being about things I never intended to write about. One core theme of the book, I suppose, is the dichotomy between our public lives and our private lives. I’d never even thought about such a thing until I’d redrafted the book four times and realised it was just, well, there. Half of the characters are magi, recluses that hide out of sight for fear of being discovered, while the other half are celebrities who can’t move for being recognised. My protagonists Cynthia and Daniel just want to be left alone, and half the fun of the book was seeing how they’d cope with unwanted attention. The book also deals with heavy subjects like addiction, illness, death and grief; all things we hate to talk about. I feel like mixing up difficult subjects with fun ones, like interviews and pop stars and TV presenters and dinner parties, makes the whole story a lot more approachable. I guess I want readers to feel an equal amount of amusement and sadness.
Well, I’m working on a sci-fi novella that I will tie into Déjà Moo, and that could well be out in a few months’ time. I’m also working on a sequel entitled Bovine Intervention, which picks up a few months after the events of Déjà Moo. I don’t want to give too much away, but I can tell you that Cynthia, Daniel and their associates all find themselves reunited against their will after having gone their separate ways.