Interview with Jeff Gardiner

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Nigeria but moved as a child to Yorkshire, England. Since then I've lived in Bedford, West London and am now in West Sussex.

My formative teenage years were spent in West London, which is wonderfully multicultural; where I lived had a village-feel to it with lots of friendly neighbours. Whilst I have an innate love for nature and wildlife, I do like to spend time in towns and cities, because family and friends are the most important part of my life.

My childhood is full of happy memories playing cricket; catching frogspawn and minnows in jars; walking on the Downs or visiting the Lake District; exploring London with all its museums and second-hand bookshops; and swimming in the sea on the south coast of England.
When did you first start writing?
I started taking writing seriously about ten years ago. I had a non-fiction work published and found some succes with articles and short-stories. I've always had a passion for reading and a desire to create my own worlds and stories. Being creative has become an essential part of my life now. I believe we all need to find a way of expressing our thoughts and feelings through the use of our imaginations. For some obscure reason the western world seems to prioritise practical intellect above creativity. How strange.
What's the story behind your latest book?
'MYOPIA' is a contemporary novel about the various responses to being bullied. Jerry is victimised for wearing glasses, but he soons comes to believe that being short-sighted isn't a disability so much as a new way of looking at the world around him. As he tackles the bullies who are making his life such a misery, he begins to become a little over-confident and even starts to believe he has super-powers. 'MYOPIA' also explores racial prejudice in a gritty and realistic context.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Being allowed to express my own opinions and feelings through characters. Writing gives voice to those inner thoughts - dark and light - which have been bugging me or keeping me awake. Writing is empowering, but it's important not to let that get to you or affect your relationships with people in the real world. Writing is a joy and a liberating activity.
What are you working on next?
I have several projects on the go: an adult novel set in Nigeria during the 1960s Biafran War; and another YA novel with more of a fantasy element to it. My non-fiction book 'The Law of Chaos: the Multiverse of Michael Moorcock' - which examines the works of one of Britain's greatest modern authors - will be out later this year.
Who are your favorite authors?
Michael Moorcock for his imagination.
Graham Joyce for his brilliant storytelling.
Mervyn Peake for his humour and use of language.
Haruki Murakami for the magical spells his novels create.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
If I'm not spending time with my family, then I watch films (esp. classic, horror and silent movies); listen to music and go to gigs (esp. prog and heavy rock); follow Liverpool Footbal Club and the England cricket team. And this might ruin my street-cred ... but I also enjoy bird-watching.
What is your writing process?
Gestation takes a long time - sometimes more than nine months! I write down a lot of ideas and the ones that stick are ones I keep coming back to. I usually jot notes and plan as much as I can, but I do like leaving things open so that the characters can develop independently. Narratives often change too and I like to allow that to happen.

Editing is very important process: the first few read-throughs are for structural changes and for merging any new sub-plots. Then I go through for grammar, punctuation and language changes until the time arrives to stop fiddling and send it off.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember loving Noddy and then later all of Enid Blyton's books (apart from the girls' boarding school ones). I wanted to be a member of the 'Five Find-Outers and Dog'. Their adventures astounded me as a child.

The first novel to have a huge effect on me emotionally was 'The Wind in the Willows' by Kenneth Graham. I wept uncontrollably when I finished because I didn't want it to end.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love reading about films and rock music, so I subscribe to monthly magazines in those subjects. I often return to the short stories of such greats as Algernon Blackwood, Lord Dunsany and Arthur Machen.
What do your fans mean to you?
Knowing that somebody else might read my words and be affected by my story or characters is an amazing concept. I've been touched by the words of certain authors and I'd love to think that my writing could touch others. Connecting in that way is what really motivates me as a writer. One of my early short stories called '351073' made a few people cry, which pleased me enormously. That's the entire point of what I do.
Published 2013-08-30.
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Books by This Author

Treading on Dreams
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 58,070. Language: English. Published: March 20, 2014 by Tirgearr Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » General
Donny's in love with Selena, but she's in love with Melvin. Hedonist landlord, Jaz, also wants Selena, but she's just a conquest, which backfires on him and threatens Selena's future. Jaz pulls Donny into his shenanigans. It's not long before Donny finds himself getting in over his head. He has to find a way to make Slena fall in love with him. Even if it means causing a scene at her wedding.