Interview with david james

What motivated you to become an indie author?
Having published commercially - and not too lucratively - I read Dan Poynter and received his Newsletter for some time. But indie publishing seemed a difficult and demanding process, and so I took the easier step of using a self-publishing service. This was satisfactory, but expensive and 3 books later I set up my own imprint, joined Alli and began using social media, meeting people at the LBF and at other writer functions.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Not yet. I've only heard about Smashwords via Alli, but all I've heard has been positive.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
What I get most excited about in my writing is discovering that the ordinary words we use every day have in their new context a kind of magic. I now can find pride in writing a sentence. I re-read and tinker as I go, knowing that there's always a better way if I wait.
What do your fans mean to you?
I wish I had fans, or even better, readers. They would be my friends for life.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a textbook for upper level pupils, taking school-leaving exams. The book so far has 100+ one-page chapters, each with a 'To Do' section. It is essentially a working manual, a self-help book for those interested in the phenomena of language rather than the mechanics of sentence structure etc. The first chapter 'Sound/Word' discusses baby babble resulting in intelligible meaning; the final chapter discusses writing essays.
Who are your favorite authors?
I've always enjoyed Dickens, Thackeray, George Eliot, the Brontes and scores of moderns from Woolf to Wodehouse. When tired or miserable I open Proust at random and become transported to ways of seeing and feeling I'd never seen articulated before.
How far has reading influenced your writing?
Considerably. I live in a hermetically sealed world of books, words, phrases, notions that come indirectly from my reading of poetry, novels and drama. Because they are still and silent and always there they are ever reliable friends, the distilled essence, if you like, of the so-called 'real' world of sex 'n' shopping. Thus, when weeding the lawns, digging out the dandelions I may think of Wordsworth's Lesser Celandine or Whitman's affinity with animals.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I watch a great deal of footy on the telly, a more modest amount of cricket and in summer any tennis that takes my fancy. I also play soft tennis not quite weekly, but if asked. The internet has recently come to occupy much of my leisure time, a blessing but also at times a worry.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I read what others say, and then make a choice of likely books to order. Amazon Kindle samples are useful here.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Cannot recall juvenilia, but I remember my first published story in a Quartos competition for which I was awarded five pounds for a comic story. It was based on my experience of looking after my baby daughter while her mother was at work.
I tend not to like historical fiction, though have in fact done 2 novels that are historical - one on Dickens the Man and another the confessions of Becky Sharp.
I wish I had readers, buyers, fans or followers, but that is an idle dream. I just can't be bothered to become an entrepreneur, though I suppose in a sense I am. After all I am the promoter of the Quagga Prize which I dreamed up on the tube last December, when I read that the Orange Prize had packed up. Why not do good for a change? It's cost me a hell of a lot - in time and money, but there are rewards - satisfaction that is in offering the small man a chance to become bigger, rescuing the good obscure writer. No ebooks though. Not yet anyway. I thought I'd be overwhelmed, up till midnight reading junk. In fact the stuff I've read is pretty good, though not quite Booker or Folio.
Published 2014-08-19.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.