James Jenkins is a Suffolk based writer of gritty noir fiction. That's how I found him and I approached him for an interview. He's a humble person and has work published or forthcoming in Bristol Noir, Punch-Riot Mag, Bullshit Lit, A Thin Slice of Anxiety and Punk Noir Magazine. One of his short stories appears in Grinning Skull Press Anthology – Deathlehem. He has recently signed with Alien Buddha to release his debut novel Parochial Pigs.
Hi James. Thank you for joining us. To begin this interview, can you tell us why ‘writing’? What is it about writing that you find attractive?
Hi Neda, thank you for asking me. I’ve always had a love for reading but my writing was somewhat thwarted in high school by a less than helpful teacher. It only delayed the inevitable. I’ve spent most of my life putting my words into songs, but the itch was always there to write a novel. I love the escapism it allows me from the daily grind. The ability to create my own world without distraction is a great coping mechanism to the anxieties all around us.
Your debut novel “Parochial Pigs”. Can you tell us a bit about it without spoilers?
I’m always the worse person to describe my own work. In short, Parochial Pigs follows the lives of two equally depraved characters from opposite sides of the law. It is a story of retribution and justice served in a realist way. There’s justice but not always in the way we would see fit. Other people have described it as Guy Ritchie meets Wicker Man.
What inspired you to write this book?
My good friend Bam Barrow asked me to play a part in his indie gangster short film. After we finished, Bam asked if I had any ideas for more and I started to write them out. Ten thousand words later and I realised this was more than a short film idea. It was the most I had ever written at that point and so pushed on until I had my first novel.
Very interesting. I couldn't guess that at all. I see your writings appear in magazines such as Bristol Noir, Punch-Riot Mag, Bullshit Lit, A Thin Slice of Anxiety and Punk Noir Magazine. Many of which Transgressive authors would submit to. Do you count yourself as a transgressive writer? If no, why? If yes, why transgressive fiction? What about it is interesting for you?
Due to my lack of further education in English I feel this is quite a new term for me. I recognise that I do share some of the same traits as other transgressive writers but I’m not sure I’m qualified to identify myself as one. I write for pleasure and like to do things my way but try to stay somewhere near the confines of traditional writing. I am a storyteller primarily and I enjoy mixing a healthy dose of reality to surrealism. I have no idea if that qualifies me as a transgressive writer. Those who I have had the honour of reading and describe themselves as such have never failed to impress me. It’s usually the style of writing that resonates with me and my own style. So maybe I am?
You can be but I agree that not all stories fit under one genre or category. Creative writing is a very personal process. I believe it’s directly related to our emotions. May I know what mood do you find yourself when you write?
Being creative has always been an emotional process to me. As I said before, it’s my escapism. That doesn’t mean that I have to be in a bad place to write though. I find that it’s usually the subject or character I’m writing that shapes my mood after I take myself back to reality. I have had to learn to shut down those emotions at times as some of my characters are quite awful people and you don’t want that sort of thing bleeding into your real life. It definitely helps if I’ve had a bad day at work though. A few of my bosses have inspired some pretty horrid characters.
What inspires you the most to write? Where do you get your inspirations from?
I work in the building trade and this has definitely been one of the biggest sources of my inspiration. Many of the stories in my works have been adapted from real life scenarios I’ve seen from colleagues or customers. These are the type of tales I’d spend my weekends telling my friends about down the pub. Writing is a much more constructive way of telling these tales.
What is your ultimate goal in writing? I mean, do you aspire to become a full-time author?
I know it’s probably the first thing any writer says but it’s true, I just want to share my art. I love hearing what people think about my stories and how they perceived it. I’d be lying if I didn’t also want to be filthy rich and celebrated worldwide for my work though – who wouldn’t? But seriously, if you told me I would have written and had a novel published this time five years ago I’d bite your hand off for it. That’s the thing though, our goals change as we reach them. It’s never enough and you’re only as good as your last piece.
Thank you James. It was a fun and insightful interview. Short and sweet :)
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Follow James @ https://twitter.com/JamesCJenkins4