Today I am very excited to announce I have the opportunity to spotlight the one and only Lex H Jones, author of Nick and Abe and The Other Side of The Mirror to name but two of his wonderful titles, both of which have been featured in reviews here.
Mr Jones is actually from my home town so it’s a delight to have the honour to introduce him to you all and let him share a bit about himself with us!
Without further ado, here is a little bit about him before we launch into the Interview;
Lex H Jones is a British author, horror fan and rock music enthusiast who lives in Sheffield, North England.
He has written articles for premier horror websites the ‘Gingernuts of Horror’ and the ‘Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog’ on various subjects covering books, films, videogames and music.
Lex’s noir crime novel “The Other Side of the Mirror” was published in 2019, with his first published novel “Nick and Abe”, a literary fantasy about God and the Devil spending a year on earth as mortal men, published in 2016. Lex also has a growing number of short horror stories published in collections alongside such authors as Graham Masterton, Clive Barker and Adam Neville. He is currently working on both his ‘Harkins’ book series, the first of which ‘The Final Casebook of Mortimer Grimm’ is due for release early 2020, and also a trilogy of children’s weird fiction books centred around the reimagining of H.P. Lovecraft’s mythology.
When not working on his own writing Lex also contributes to the proofing and editing process for other authors.
Lex H Jones Official Facebook Page
Amazon Author Page
Contact Lex H Jones on Twitter!
Now for the Main Feature!
So Lex, first of all, what first made you want to write?
I’ve always loved stories, and as a child I’d quickly find myself bored by anything that didn’t have them. Things like watching sports never grabbed me in the same way that a film or cartoon series would. I always used to make up stories, starting with when I’d be playing with action figures and such. Whenever I did this, alone or with friends, I’d always to make up a new set of scenes to act out rather than copy what I’d already seen before. As I got older and the toys went away, writing was just the next natural step for expressing this joy of creating stories and worlds to set them in.
What inspires you to write?
I just like creating worlds and characters that people get excited about. Hearing people talk about my work is the most exciting and unbelievable experience I’ve ever had. Wanting to have that again and again is a big motivator. Beyond that, I just have a lot of stories in my head that I want to get out. I always feel like I’ll be “making some room” up there when I’ve finished a book, but all that happens is another idea pops in to take its place.
Your novels Nick and Abe, and The Other Side of The Mirror are already available in quite a few places including Waterstones, how do you feel they’ve been received?
The reviews they’ve had have been really positive, both from people who’ve told me directly or just written reviews or star ratings on book websites. I don’t really spend a lot of time reading reviews as I know that, with the way my brain works, I’d pick up on the negative comments and just replay them in my head over and over. So for the most part I don’t go looking for them, but I’m still aware that the overall response to both books has been very positive.
For both books, too, I’ve learned that people have read into them in such a way that they’ve found or interpreted things that I didn’t necessarily (consciously, at least) intend, and that’s always lovely. When people think so deeply about your writing that they take things from it you didn’t even realise you’d put in, that’s about as big a compliment as you can get.
I think it would be fair to say you’ve not lumped yourself into a specific category since your two already published novels are quite different. What’s your favourite kind of book to write and why?
My “go-to” genre is the Ghost Story, but I do find it difficult to spin those out into a full novel. One of my upcoming projects is a Victorian-era Supernatural Detective novel, called “The Final Casebook of Mortimer Grimm.” The way I wrote that book, is that it’s kind of episodic in nature. It works almost like a collection of smaller ghost stories that have a larger narrative running through them. Each ghost story is a different case that the protagonist investigates. So that was really fun to write.
It’s planned to be part of a series, so with any luck I’ll have much more opportunities to enjoy writing in that world.
Along with the two novels you mention, I’ve also had over a dozen short horror stories published in different anthologies, and writing for those is always fun too. I didn’t used to like being given a theme, as I felt this was somehow restrictive. My feelings about that have changed over the years, as I now feel that a little restriction helps the creativity. Putting someone in a warehouse full of stuff and saying “make a sculpture” is a much more daunting task than giving them the same instruction but providing them with a small list of items they can use. I’ve found a similar effect with short story projects.
Your characters are very well developed, how would you say you come up with them?
This honestly depends on the characters, but broadly speaking, there are two types of character creation technique for me.
Sometimes a character is created because they are someone who is needed for the story, in which case I have to mould them to be a particular thing; like a sculptor chiselling away to make a block of stone into a shape. The character is created to fill a specific role, and then I will work on the deeper nuances and layers of who they are and what they’re about. I don’t like anybody to be one-dimensional, even if they were just created to die pretty quickly.
The second option is where the character comes first and then I have to decide exactly what to do with them. Charles Pope, one of the characters from my crime novel ‘The Other Side of the Mirror’, was rattling around in my head looking for something to do for quite some time before I actually came up with the rest of the novel. Then, as it turns out, he fit that story perfectly. I had a similar experience with a few of the characters from my upcoming novel ‘The Final Casebook of Mortimer Grimm’.
Out of all of your Characters, who would you say you relate to the most?
To be honest, I don’t tend to (deliberately) write anyone as being too much like me, but I’m aware that some things slip through. The character of Detective Harkins, the main protagonist of ‘Final Casebook…’, has some elements of myself in him. Not the heavy drinking and tendency to violence, but just his despair at the world he’s stuck in. That feeling of looking around at the opinions too many people seem to have, the dangerous ignorance and delusion they operate under, and the feeling that you’ve forcibly been made an outsider because you refuse to buy into it. I can relate to that, in recent times more than ever. If 60% of the room says that 2+2=5, that doesn’t mean that it is. Harkins is the sort of person who’ll just write off that room before he’ll concede to something like that, and I’m totally with him on that.
Which was your favourite book to write?
I mentioned above that I love writing ghost stories, and ‘Final Casebook…’ is the biggest example of one that I’ve done so far. Being able to come up with a dozen or so different examples of hauntings, but have them investigated by the same characters rather than coming up with new protagonists each time (as in the traditional book of ghost stories) was really fun for me. And then tying all of that into a deeper narrative wherein you realise that the hauntings themselves aren’t the major focus, but rather symptoms of other things that go on in the world. That was all really enjoyable to write.
What’s your favourite thing to read?
Victorian ghost stories. Broken record here, but I love a ghost story, and to me the Victorian variety is the best example of that. They’re usually framed as a narrator telling you, the reader, about something strange that once happened; either to them or somebody that they once knew. Done right, the best ones feel as though they could be told orally to equal effect, which makes them the perfect story to read in a dark room by a roaring fire.
For you, what is the most important aspect of a book?
The characters. As a reader, I don’t really mind all that much what the genre is, but I need to care about the characters and what’s happening to them. Make me do that, make me care, and then a relationship drama can be every bit as gripping as a Biblical apocalypse.
Do you have anything new in the works right now?
I’m putting the finishing touches on ‘Whistling Past The Graveyard’, my first collection of short unconnected horror stories. I’m also working on a series of children’s books that are re-imaginings of some of H.P Lovecraft’s mythos, the first of which is called ‘The Old One and The Sea’.
Is there anything additional you’d like to say to our readers?
Thanks to anyone who reads my work, I appreciate it more than you know and it makes it worth the effort to know that people are enjoying it.
Many Thanks to Mr Jones for taking the time to join us at Rebbie Reviews.
If you would like to check out the books mentioned in this interview they are available below, please be aware that both are available in both Paperback and Ebook and The Other Side of the Mirror is available in audio also;
The Other Side of The Mirror – Amazon.co.uk
The Other Side of The Mirror – Amazon.com
The Other Side of the Mirror – Waterstones
The Other Side of the Mirror – Booktopia (Australia)
The Other Side of the Mirror – Audible
Nick and Abe – Amazon.co.uk
Nick and Abe – Amazon.com
Nick and Abe – Waterstones
Nick and Abe – Booktopia (Australia)