Could you tell us about yourself?
First of all, thanks Roger for interviewing me.
I’ve been living in London UK for the past seven years, with my wife and two children (4 and 2). I work in finance in the City of London, and dream of the day in which I could just be a full time author.
I have a Master’s degree in Business Administration and studied International Relations for my Bachelor’s degree back in my uni days. I have a good knowledge of the espionage world and intelligence community as I have years of experience working for a military intelligence branch of a Western country’s armed forces (Chief Sergeant, Ret).
I have many hobbies, but not much time sadly to accommodate them. I’m a huge Arsenal FC fan, despite the fact they are not delivering any recreational comfort in the last few years (laughs). I have a few entrepreneurial initiatives I’m affiliated with, BookGobbler.com – the platform for free books and book reviews, is one of them. Check it out to discover new authors and get your books, including paperbacks, for free.
How long have you been writing?
Well, “And the Wolf Shall Dwell” is my debut novel, but it took me around five years to finish. I’ve since started working on the sequel which has the working title “Terror Within” , so you can say that I’ve been trying to be an author for the past six or seven years.
Tell us about one of, or your most recent book?
“And the Wolf Shall Dwell” is a political-espionage thriller. It aspires to have some of le Carré’s sophistication, while entertaining a bit of action in the likes of writers such as Ludlum.
I tried writing it as something that most of us can relate to: not super-duper agents and spies, but what if regular people like you and me, got tangled in a murky affair. Call it when “Enemy of State” meets the spy literature world, if you may.
This happens to John Daniel, a regular Joe, a foreigner who lives and works in London, whose day starts when an old man bumps into him, knocking him down, then delivers a cryptic message and soon after gets murdered. This puts John on a head on collision course with MI6, Mossad and the British government, getting help only from Adam Grey – a retired spymaster, who used to be the old man’s handler.
The novel navigates the path of the intelligence community, the governmental corridors of power and Jihadi terrorism.
What do you love about writing?
I love the outcome more than the process. I am harsh with myself when I write, and tend to slash pages and entire chapters, front and back.
However, when I see an outcome that I think is good, fluent, with high language, descriptive paragraphs and an overall solid story – It brings me great joy. When someone agrees that my work is good, whether verbally or by writing a good review – I’m over the moon.
How do you get inspired/ where do you get your ideas?
My main inspiration for “And the Wolf Shall Dwell” was the City of London. It guided me, and provided me scenes and scenery, even when I got stuck. For “Terror Within” I’ve already plotted a plotline which I find interesting, and here I’m letting my descriptive writing break loose with scenes that take place in places such as Paris, Cornwall, Hampshire and of course London.
I take my ideas from current events. Brexit for example, and raging global xenophobia, have both set the scene for my current book. Jihadi Terror in Europe had shaped “And the Wolf Shall Dwell” with a specific hard scene to both read and write, bang in the middle of the book.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I’m hardly in a position to hand out advise, it’s not like I’ve been snatched by some big publisher and I can sit around at home and concentrate on writing books. But one thing that I’ve discovered is that all it takes is a few supporting friends and a book can come out. So what I’m trying to say is – don’t wait for the big offer, write, bit by bit, work and perfect it, and eventually, even if you become an indie author, or only a crowd of a few friends and family members are your audience – it’s worth it. Believe in yourself and simply write. A chapter at a time. Then get some professional guidance and a good editor. It becomes a book, trust me. I’ve been there.
What are you currently working on? How long before release?
No release date yet, since I’m just half way through the writing process. As I said, ‘working’ titled “Terror Within” gets John and Grey to go head to head with what’s left of the Islamic State’s terrorist cell-activity in Europe, which is – get this –driven by English and French right wing extremists. These are politicians who are trying to use fear for their own agenda of national isolation.
Brexit is on. Grey is in coastal England. John is in a demonstrations and protests stricken Paris. And the heat is on!
If you want the chance to have a character named after you in this novel, check out what you have to do in this link: https://jondbooks.com/2017/10/18/do-you-want-to-be-a-character-in-my-next-novel/
What are you currently reading?
I haven’t actually read anything for the past three weeks, since all the family (myself included) had come down with severe viral conjunctivitis – so I’m giving my eyes a rest. My last book was “An Enlightened Quiche” by Eva Pasco, which I received through BookGobbler.com. It is an amazing “mundane” tale of rivalry and matters of the heart in a small “French-Canadian town” in Rhode Island. Superb writing and brilliant manipulation of the English language, which I can only aspire to someday reach myself as an author.
Who are your favourite authors?
I’ve mentioned John le Carré in any interview I have given so far, but I recently got a third rejection from “his people” to receive a copy of my novel (no feedback or demands requested, I simply wanted David Cornwell to have it) so even though I love him dearly, I’m cooling off our relationship (chuckles).
I love Derek Raymond, his “factory novels”, crime mysteries by a nameless detective, are so bleak and murky, and his London is so apocalyptic, it’s just yelling to be read.
I love Philip Roth, man – can he can tell a story. Read “The Plot Against America” and you’ll actually second guess what you know from American history books.
And finally – Amos Oz, the Israeli fiction author, who must must must get a Novel Prize for Literature, in his lifetime, in my opinion. The guy is so gifted, his writing is fluent and poetic. Read either “My Michael” or his autobiography “A Tale of Love And Darkness” and tell me I’m wrong.
Do you have any favourite fictional characters?
First name comes to head – Dirk Struan, the all mighty head of the Novel House, Scottish smuggler, and infallible businessman in early days Hong Kong. Great character from the all mighty James Clavell, in the epic “Tai-Pan”. He’s the reason I travelled to Hong Kong.
Any fun facts about you that you would like to share?
I enjoy cooking, especially now that my two year old son Daniel is a good partner and actually eats what I make. As opposed to his big sister, Emily, who’s on a carb only self-administer “diet”, he will try anything I’ll put on his plate. I find cooking a meditative-calming activity, and this weekend we both had a lamb curry with Jerusalem artichoke, in turmeric and coriander sauce. Served with wild rice – it was delicious. Email me for the recipe (laughing out loud)
“And the Wolf Shall Dwell” will be free for a day early February trying to get attention from readers, get a better downloading rank and to hit the magical Amazon number of 100 reviews. If you read the book – pleas take time to write me a quick review – I really need these!
Thanks and thanks for having me Roger! Much obliged for the attention and spotlight.
Find out more about Jon and his debut novel at his WEBSITE or on