Interview with Jason Conway

What are you working on next?
I am currently working on 'The Gikkie Bokkers Book Three - The Talon Guardian' which will take at least a year to complete.
Writing Book Two of 'The Gikkie Bokkers - The Aoes Shee' was the hardest thing that I have had to do in my life because I lost my best friend and father in law just when I was starting the book.
It was a daunting task but with time I saw it as an opportunity to celebrate his life as he set the spark alight within me to start writing in the first place.
Book three focuses more on the Gikkie Bokker Younglings Fluke Fluke and his friend Jele-Nai but I am not giving away anything else at this time.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love and deeply respect the works of J.R.R Tolkien and Don Miguel Ruiz. I also like JK Rowling's style of writing and I found Mark Thomas' book 'As Used On the Famous Nelson Mandela' a fantastic read but I don't read a lot anymore as I am so busy between teaching martial arts, illustration, sculpting and writing my own books.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My children and my partner Nicola! They are the reason I do everything. I could not hope to be what I am right now if it were not for the tireless support of them. My parents and younger brothers are also a big driving force for me as they always there for me no matter what. One last thing that inspires me to write is the wonderful look on my fans faces when I meet them and answer their questions about the stories that I create. I once had a young fan entertained for over an hour answering all of his questions on the Gikkie Bokkers and their alternate realm as the story unfolds itself and I left that meeting fresher than when I had started it.
Creating an alternate reality that people enjoy reading is such a magical and rewarding endevour.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I Sculpt the characters in my books and illustrate them. Then I practice martial arts and keep fit to balance the physical side of my life. I also enjoy taking long walks in the lovely Wexford countryside were I live and enjoy gardening as I find it relaxes me.
I enjoy keeping abreast of the latest technology from computer hardware and software for any technical innovations that occur and also enjoy studying philosophy and spirituality.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I have mostly gotten ebooks from recommendations from friends. Then I go seek them out from online vendors and I have always had a great reading experience because it this as my work and life schedule is too fast paced to sit back and browse the web for a good read.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes I do! when I was around eight years old I wrote a story and series of comic books based on a creepy tale of an evil scientist who was striving to create the ultimate assistant but instead creates a hilarious buffoon of a creature who messes his plans up at every turn. Throughout the story our evil scientist learns a little about humanity and tolerance and they both become loyal friends.
What is your writing process?
I don't have a process! The books write themselves! I literally pick up a pen or pencil and let it take me along as it touches the paper. Then when I've finished I type what I wrote into a word processor and I get it ready for print. I am reading the story as soon as I write it and I cannot explain how absolutely amazing the sensation is and it's such rewarding an experience I often run out of office and tell my partner what has just happened with the excitement of a school boy.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember an old illustrated children's book called 'A night on bare mountain', But I cannot find the exact one that I read as a child anymore. It was a wonderfully spooky illustrated tale of a monsters picnic that happens at midnight were all the creepy archetypes of spookiness gather for a party. Vampires, Goblins, Werewolves, Witches.. you name it. The sotry is told thorugh a girl and a boy who have heard of the legend and decide to see if it is true. It gave me a love of illustration and art that I have to this day and also a belief that spooky stuff can be fun too.
How do you approach cover design?
I illustrate everything myself which means I can get right into the soul of my book and give that sense of what I've created straight to the reader. I see the characters clearly and simply place them in order of importance in the story itself but it all depends on the plot itself as for example the first book of 'The Gikkie Bokkers' is heavily based on a magical amulet so that features strongly in my cover design. I am very pleased with the second books cover 'The Gikkie Bokkers Book Two - The Aoes Shee' and the third books cover will be very ambitious but I do the covers last so that I can concentrate on the stories themselves first.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The 'Four Agreements' by Don Miguel Ruiz is my favourite. A book on how a few principles can change the way you live your life and make it so much more rewarding. You simply have to read it to see the wisdom in it.

Tolkien's 'Lord of the rings' trilogy (It was published as a trilogy but was originally intended as a single story) as It took a lifetime to create and it shows in its sweeping depth and its immersive lore.

The Book of the Dead by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson is a very witty and dry book about famous people and some not so famous who have passed away but have remarkable stories to tell. I found it highly entertaining and enjoyable.

The last two books are my own, 'The Gikkie Bokkers Books one' and 'The Giikie Bokkers Book Two - the Aoes Shee' simply because of the landmark events that occurred in my life during the time that I wrote them. They will always be a beacon for me of life defining moments for myself and my friends and I do enjoy my own stories as that's the golden rule of writing for me, to enjoy what you do.
What do you read for pleasure?
When I get time to read I love anything about technology, computers, health and my favourites astronomy and philosophy.
I also read martial arts literature from time to time but anything about the solar system and the planets fascinates me.
The odd thing is that the further I study the solar system and the vast distances to other stellar objects the more fascinated that I become about our own planet.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My sony Xperia Z, it is by far the best handheld device that I have ever used and amazingly versatile. I created nearly half of the content for my first childrens digital ebook on it and its far more powerful than the first computer that I used to create graphics on in my first design job. I do love the regular amazon kindle as the technology of the screen really works well and the power saving features are great and I do use it from time to time but my Xperia is def‚Äčinitely my favourite device.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth and networking. Social media tools and e-marketing have a place but pale in comparison to hard earned cold calling and personal appearances to interact with human beings on a face to face level. Never underestimate the power of an honest conversation to get the ball rolling, you can't be an internet hermit pulling levers like the wizard of oz behind a curtain in the hope that you will suddenly become rich and successful. I do my business the human centric way.
Describe your desk
Dark, sleek, clean and powerful. I wish my car was like that too :)
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town called 'Cabra West' in Dublin just a few minutes walk from Dublin City Centre.
Cabra people and the people in Dublin City Centre are lovely and I love their sense of humour, very dry and witty.
I love the amount of different accents and dialects spoken there as for a place that's very small we have such a diverse amount of people who live there.
That humour has always been with me and it surfaces a lot in the dialogue of my characters.
I live in Wexford now in the countryside but the humour and the values that I lived amongst and learned from in Cabra and Dublin city centre will never leave me.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The story revolves around most of the characters from my first book but mainly focuses on a small group of Gikkie Bokker youngling creatures who are separated from their parents as an immense war is about to take place in their lands and the lands of their allies. Supporting this main theme is the plight of a massive beast known as 'The Spungle' who was once a great warrior beloved by all the realms but has been driven mad by the loss of his great race. This creature desperately seeks to find his lost memory but is it a price worth paying? And thats all you need to know until you get my book as I don't want to spoil your fun reading it :)
Published 2014-08-01.
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