Interview with Jess Hopkins

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Tony Wilson once said that Joy Division were the first band he'd ever met who were in that particular band because if they hadn't been, the pressure would have killed them. which is where I'm coming from a lot of the time.
I thoroughly enjoy that trance-like state when the prose flows easily, like pus from an open sore. it's like watching the most amazing in-skull movie and all I'm doing is transcribing what I'm seeing. That, for me, is better than any drug - real or imaginary.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in a small town in South Wales and moved to Scotland at the age of five. So all my life, I've had a powerful sense of being a 'cuckoo out of water'. This has, I believe, impacted my writing. In 2006, I moved to Liverpool for a few years and re-experienced that sense of not fitting in - all over again.
I quite enjoy the feeling of being an alien, which forces me not to take my environment for granted. On a recent visit to Ipswich, I felt this very strongly - and so the next book I write will be (probably) set in a stylised version of Ipswich. It felt great, wandering around this strange town, soaking up the strangeness. I could feel the environment for this book writing itself around me!
What's the story behind your latest book?
After I'd written '1919', I set myself the challenge of writing in a voice radically different to my own. So in 'Ladies and gentleman', there's a guy, a decade younger than myself, who works in an office, eats meat and is wildly promiscuous.
Then I gave him a kink for women made of glass, wood, paper and so on - and made him completely impotent with females of his own species.
'Ladies and gentleman' is available now - or even sooner, if you're really desperate.
Who are your favorite authors?
(In no particular order) Jo Nesbo, China Mieville, Christopher Brookmyre, Ian Fleming, Irvine Welsh, Charles Stross... To be honest, I'll read pretty much anything and I believe everyone has something I can learn from. It'd be quicker to list the very short list of authors I despise!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I work full-time, in a industry littered with substance abuse and eating disorders and I need this job to survive, so I'm only a part-time writer. I can't really commit to writing and promoting full-time, so until I can, this is the best method for me.
I've had to sacrifice one or two things (like eating, sleeping and personal hygiene) in order to cram everything into my day, but that's a small price to pay.
More idealistically, my background's classic punk, old-school industrial music and the indie tape scene, so I'm no stranger to doing it all myself.
What inspires you to crawl out of bed each day?
The alarm in my phone plays 'the rain' by Chrome from the album 'Half machines from the moon'. => <= The first thing I do on waking is write a page of journal - just a snapshot of where my head's at right at that moment, with one hoof still trapped in dreamland. So yeah, it's writing - and music - that rips me awake every day. After that, I work far too many hours at a job that would make a normal person microwave their skull and try to cram as many moments of writing into that day as is near-humanly possible.
What is your writing process?
I think the only constant is, I couldn't stand writing the same book twice. Every one has to break some sort of new ground. Stephen Donaldson once said that to write a novel, one needs two ideas, so I'm often on the lookout for bizarre juxtapositions. 'Ladies and gentleman' was inspired by all the 'sex blogs' written by women which made me wonder what a promiscuous male's blog would be like and then, while that was percolating in my head, an advert for fabric softener came on TV and I started wondering, what if, the guy had a fetish for people made of cloth..?
Those four words (WHAT WOULD HAPPEN, IF...) have got me into more interesting and/or terrifying situations that any other combination, I think.
I've generally started from my characters and built the plot around them, so the novel I wrote for April 14's NaNoCamp was built up from the environments up.
When did you first start writing?
I can't remember a time when i didn't write in some fashion. That said, i have it on good authority that the earth existed for a good while before I happened, so there must have been a time before I wrote. I'll believe that when I can see a bit more evidence.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I don't think I ever stop writing - even if it's only in my head. Next question.
Describe your desk
Cluttered, chaotic and creaking under the weight of that old-school CRT monitor.
How do you approach cover design?
I collect incriminating and/or embarrassing photographs of artists I know and force them to help me. Because there are some things best kept from our parents, friends and colleagues.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have an Android tablet running Aldiko. I read on it, write and take notes on it and even play music on it. It's my life-support system (and I really should clear it out more often!)
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
For fiction, Smashwords has been good, as has Wattpad. If someone's written something that caught my attention, I'm likely to start looking around for their other work.
For non-fiction, I'm an omnivorous kleptomaniac magpie. I read a lot of biographies, particularly of writers, musicians and auteurs.
What are you working on next?
With '1919', and now 'Ladies and gentleman', I've probably done enough books around sex (for now, anyway) so the next one i publish (later in 2015) will be about racism. and the one I'm planning now is set in Victorian times.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Nope. However, i have many scars, both visible and buried.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It's certainly got my work out where people can stumble across me randomly, like a cross between a whoopee cushion and a fragmentation mine.
Published 2015-03-29.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Ladies & Gentleman - the autobiography of Roger McRoger
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 62,080. Language: English. Published: March 29, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Sci-Fi Erotica
The story of Roger McRoger, gentleman and porn star. Walk away now if you're offended by blow by blow kiss 'n' tell tales of assignations with people made of brick, wood, paper, glass and stone. Equal parts graphic sex and dadaist humour, this book is - most definitely - NSfW.
1919 (Outside)
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 65,490. Language: English. Published: June 8, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » BDSM, Fiction » Romance » Erotic
Continuing from where '1919 inside' left off, the anonymous narrator tries to find his feet in a world without a Mistress or any other form of support. Strictly adults only.
1919 (Inside)
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 41,650. Language: English. Published: September 27, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Erotica » BDSM
The anonymous narrator describes his relationship with his Mistress and the training camp she enrols him in. Here, males are trained to serve the superior gender, to devote their lives to their Owner's comfort, pleasure and convenience. Here, he finds friends and learns how a slave should behave in every situation. Strictly adults only.