Interview with Jack Heath

Describe your desk
I don't have a desk. In summer, I write under a tree with my digital typewriter on my lap. In winter I take it to a cafe and work alongside other writers.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Canberra, Australia, which has become the setting for almost all of my novels – sometimes officially, sometimes not-so-officially. Living in the nation's capital has made me interested in corruption and conspiracies. It helps that there's such a strong arts community here too.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing my first book at age 13, largely to impress a girl. It didn't work, but by the time I was 17 I had a first draft, and before I was 19 I had a publishing contract. I owe that girl a lot.
What's the story behind your latest book?
INK is about a boy who once did something terrible, and ever since then he's been forced to take an empathy-boosting drug to make sure he feels guilty about it. When he gets kidnapped by a madwoman, his supply of the drug is cut off, and he has to try to escape before he becomes a monster.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I love writing. I write two or three books every year, but because of the way the industry is going, I can usually only sell one to a publisher. Rather than write less, I self-publish the other manuscripts so as my readers have something to keep them going in between my mainstream publications.
Who are your favorite authors?
Growing up I was addicted to Emily Rodda, Robert Silverberg and Matthew Reilly. These days I love Jasper Fforde, Kathryn Barker, Dan O'Malley, Karen Viggers, Will Kostakis, Michael Grant and too many others to count.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I'm not in this job for the fame or the money - luckily! I just enjoy the process of putting stories together. Building worlds, creating characters, assembling plots and finding the perfect words to describe something.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm almost always writing, reading or talking about writing and reading - but I also play in an orchestra, which is a great way to get my head back into reality for a while.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yup. It was called The Afterlife Guard. It wasn't good, but I managed to slip a little extract from it into The Cut Out.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember my father telling me a serialised sci-fi story - which he was making up as he went along. Every night he'd tell me a new installment. There was a space ship, a black hole, and some giant butterfly-like aliens who built a whole planet out of spider silk. I wish I could remember more of it.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kobo, which I use half the time to read manuscripts. The other half I'm reading self-published fiction. I mostly read paper books, but I find reading self-published ebooks to be instructive and inspiring.
Published 2016-06-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

In Case Of Emergency: an action-packed short story
Price: Free! Words: 4,530. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Thriller and Suspense, Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories
‘Something from the menu?’ she asked. ‘No, thank you.’ The boy held up a newspaper. He had scrawled a message on the front page: the passenger behind me has a gun.
Ink, Inc: a disturbing sci-fi novel
Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 61,280. Language: Australian English. Published: December 31, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
Lukas once did something terrible. Ever since, he's been taking Care – a drug which gives him a conscience. But now he's been kidnapped. His supply is cut off. What will his captor do when he becomes a monster?
Crossover: a time travel novella
Price: Free! Words: 25,240. Language: Australian English. Published: August 5, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
When a vengeful physicist captures Agent Six of Hearts and blasts him back through time, he has one chance to prevent her from unleashing a catastrophe. If he can find and destroy the components of her time machine, he can stop her from ever building it – but the components are under lock and key. Luckily, he crosses paths with teenage super-thief Ashley Arthur. But she has her own agenda...
Rats: a short horror story
Price: Free! Words: 2,090. Language: English. Published: April 12, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Crime, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Horror
Detective Bromham is a good cop in a bad city, sent alone to investigate a homicide. When he reaches an abandoned apartment block, he finds that this is no ordinary murder... This bone-chilling tale was shortlisted for Best YA Short Story at the 2013 Aurealis Awards.