Ten Till Three : Ross Jefferey

Posted 10/31/2021 by Jamie in Interviews / 0 Comments

This Ten Till Three Interview is a special Halloween treat for you guys. This is part one of two interviews that will be live today on the most spookiest time of year. So, what better way to celebrate this spooky day than to publish not ONE but TWO interviews from two of my favorite horror authors. Ross Jefferey is a dear friend and I wanted his interview to be published at 6:00am and Tony Tremblay’s interview will be published at 6:00pm. I am one very lucky ghoul.

Ross Jefferey is the Bram Stoker Award and Splatterpunk Award nominated author of Tome, Juniper, and Tethered. Ross’ fiction has appeared in various print anthologies, and his short stories as well as flash fiction has been published in many online magazines.

First Set (10 Questions) :

1.) When did you realize that you wanted to become an author?

This is a tough question to ask, because I always thought that being an author was out of my reach, I’ve never been very academic and to be honest I rarely ever read or wrote as a child. This is partly due to me having an awful English teacher at school who used to pick on me, and so English as a subject was always something I dreaded. But I have always been fascinated with telling stories, and that has been around since forever. I used to play with my toys and make up huge games and stories and characters etc. and this then spawned into me making films. I went off to University to study film and whilst there discovered my love of books and re-discovered a love of writing. So short story it’s always been there, but it took me a while to realise that I could be an author.

2.) Where were you (either in life or a physical location) when you had the idea to write your first book?

One of the first stories I wrote and had published is a story called ‘Bethesda’ which is a reimaging of the old Bible story about the pool of Bethesda. I was on the beach in Bournemouth (where my wife grew up) and I was walking along and my over active imagination started coming up with the idea of blending the old story from the bible with this beautiful location. The rest they say is history, because after that story was published I gained a belief that I was able to write and people, were willing to read it. I’ve revisited that beach a few times and it is a great source of inspiration to other stories – and my latest novel ‘The Devil’s Pocketbook’ (originally called Hostage) was formed in one afternoon, after finding something on the beach.

3.) Do you have any methods, techniques, or rituals that you do in the process of writing a book?

The only ritual, if you can call it that. Is that whenever I sit down to write I always use the same coffee mug, it’s nothing special, just a cup. But I feel it helps get me in the zone to write – also many cinnamon swirls.

4.) After finishing your book, do you go out and celebrate and if so, what do you do?

After finishing a book, I don’t go out to celebrate; but I do celebrate with a whiskey or three.

5.)What did you learn when writing your books?

I leanrt that it takes time, dedication and a whole lot of editing! One of my pieces of advice is to find an editor that understands your vision, your voice and believes in your work. I’ve found that with Joseph Sale and the edits he suggests are to further my vision not to shackle it. As mentioned previously I’m not an academic, I’ve struggled with writing and gramma for a good many years, but working with a great editor is like going to school all over again, the things I may have messed up in previous book I’ve now got a handle on due to the teaching I receive every time I get my edits back.

6.) What kind of technology do you prefer when writing your book?

I’m a simple man, so I just use Microsoft Word. I also use copious amounts of notes in notebooks and I use a pin-board when it gets down to the final planning stage.

7.) Were there any challenges and/or obstacles that you’ve encountered when you were writing your book?

I have a day job, I work with the homeless; plus I also have a busy home life with two young girls and an amazing wife and I’d say that one of the only obstacles I have and continue to have is time to write, I’m pretty productive when I get to it, but it’s finding that time and defending it with my life.

8.) What characters and/or scenes in your book did you like or dislike and why?

There are no scenes that I dislike in any of my books, because if I disliked them, they wouldn’t make it into the final manuscript. There are scenes that I found challenging to write. There is a scene in my Bram Stoker Nominated ‘Tome’ that scared me whilst writing it, and the subject matter of ‘Only The Stains Remain’ was a challenging writing experience – but I don’t hate those things, I love them, because if I can scare myself, I’m pretty sure others may find that scary too. Characters though is a whole different ball game, I absolutely despise my ‘bad’ characters, I love writing them, but I hate them too – I think every book I’ve written has a ‘bad’ character that I love to hate and reviews have also mentioned that readers hate them too, so I take that as a win.

9.) Are any authors or a person in general that may have impacted your life that you consider to be an important aspect of your writing career? If so, who were they and why?

This list could be long, but I’ll keep it to those that have made me want to write and continue to inspire me to chase the dream of writing. Stephen King has been a huge influence, James Frey and Chuck Palahniuk both showed me the beauty of words and that you can write whatever you damn well want to. Cormac McCarthy is a huge influence too – the way he makes bleakness beautiful is something I truly cherish. Then you have Josh Malerman, his enthusiasm for writing, for never staying still and for always creating art is a huge inspiration, plus his books are out of this world. Then I find great inspiration from my peers, other indie authors who all impact me in positive ways, such as Eric LaRocca, Laurel Hightower, Sonora Taylor, Michael Clark, Gemma Amor, Kev Harrison, Joshua Marsella, Chad Lutzke and Richard Thomas – to name a few! 

10.) Where do you get your ideas for your books characters? Are those characters based off of people you know personally or may have met by chance or are they completely made up by your imagination?

I am always collecting notes; I carry a pen and pad around with me all the time because you never know who you’ll come across and what you’ll hear in your day-to-day life. I jot down interesting characters I meet, little snippets of conversations, how people phrase words. All that kind of stuff helps me when creating characters for my books, all my characters are fictional – but I blend things I’ve observed into making them fully fleshed creations.

Alternative Set (10 Questions) :

Please note : This set of 10 questions are just alternate questions in case you didn’t want to answer a question

in the first set, which you’re always welcome to swap the alternate question for the one you didn’t want to answer in the first set of questions.

You don’t have to answer this set at all, unless you’re feeling brave and want to answer all 20 questions. The more you answer, the better we get

to know you!

1.) Do you read your book reviews that were left by your readers? If so, how do you handle the good and bad reviews? If not, please explain?

I read pretty much all my reviews, I’m sure there will come a time where I don’t. But for now I’m of the opinion that you bought my book and have been kind enough to leave a review so I’ll read it. I’ve gotten a great many good reviews, which I’m thankful for, but also received some negative reviews – the way I look at it is that you can’t please all the people all of the time, and for me, I write books for me, I don’t write them for a readership (I don’t even know if I have one) because when I dive into a book it’s all about the story I want to tell, and not about appeasing people who might not have liked my previous book. If you don’t like what I’ve written that’s fine. Not that I’ve had it, but I know a great many authors that have, but if reviews venture into the personal, attacking the author as a person and it’s not about the words, that’s another story. It’s one thing to be negative about the work, but to slam an author is something that I find completely horrendous – I’m sure my time will come, but if it does, so be it. I don’t really care what someone thinks of me.

2.) What are some authors that you consider to be your muse when writing a book?

Stephen King, Chuck Palahniuk, Cormac McCarthy, Donald Ray Pollock and James Frey.

3.) How did publishing your first book change your processes or views on writing? If there are none, could you please why?

After finishing my first book, I guess the big take-away for me was that planning is key. I used to be someone that sat down and wrote without a plan, now I can’t even contemplate doing that, for me the work starts in the notes and continues a long time until I’ve got the structure I want to work with. I plan everything now, in a great deal of detail. I still do sit down without a plan, but that’s mainly short story work, as I like to let it breathe and form on its own, but larger pieces of work, novella or novel – I don’t put the fingers to the keys unless I’ve got everything worked out in my head, I’ll obviously give myself some space to see where the story goes, but it’s pretty much all planned out before I sit down to write – it also helps me stay productive in the limited time I have to write.

4.) Do you have any particular vices, rituals, or things that you do after you’ve completed your book? If so, what are they? For example: Going out for ice cream, having a nice glass of wine, etc.?

Just a couple of glasses of whiskey – usually a nice expensive bottle I wouldn’t normally have.

5.) Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing always energizes me, I find it quite a cathartic experience – for example my novella in flash ‘Tethered’ was a really personal writing experience for me, I dealt with many repressed feelings from my childhood, exposed how deeply toxic masculinity had effected my life and how I came out the other side. Writing for me is therapy and when I’m not writing or have a prolonged period of time away from it I don’t feel right in my soul.

6.) What was an early experience that you had where you learned that language had/has power?

When I read ‘A Million Little Pieces’ and ‘Fight Club’ I must have been 18 – although I think I read Fight Club a little before that.

7.) If you hadn’t become an author, what would’ve been your backup career and why?

I’m doing my backup career now – working with the homeless. I’ve always had a deep need to do a job which at its core helps other people. I’m not in a position where writing is a career and if I ever was I would always want to be in a position to help people, whether that is volunteering somewhere or working part-time in the charitable sector.

8.) What is the most difficult part of the writing process?

Finding the time to write.

9.) How long on average does it take you to completely finish writing a book?

This varies depending on the project and the idea. But to write a novel usually takes me around three months – then a month of me editing and an editor editing my work. Short stories can be anywhere from a week to two weeks. It really depends if you fall into the zone and if so all those things can be accomplished much more quickly.

10.) what period of your life did you start writing (child, teenager, adult) and knew that was your purpose in life to be an author?

I started writing, really writing at the age of 35 – a late bloomer but now I never stop!

List of Nonsensical Funny Questions :

1.) What are the three things you would buy at Walmart or at any Grocery store that’ll make the cashier look at you weird?

Duct-tape, cable-ties and a burner phone.

2.) If you were put in charge of creating a brand new global holiday, what would you name it and how would it be celebrated?

Pause-day – it would be celebrated by everyone just taking a breath and doing something lazy.

3.) If animals could talk, what species would be the rudest and most annoying?

Cats would be the rudest; Mosquitos would be the most annoying.

4.) If you were suddenly arrested for no reason, and your face splashed all over the news, what would your family and friends assumed happened or that you’ve done?

Started a cult?

5.) If out of the blue you were kidnapped by strangers, but for some reason they returned you within minutes of kidnapping you and left a note pinned to your shirt. What would the note say for your return?

We’re scared, please take him back.

6.) A witch has cast a spell on you turning you into an inanimate non electric object for a year. To be changed back into a human before the year is up, you need to to be able to get at least 100 people to touch you. What inanimate object would the witch turn you into?

A door knob.

7.) You’ve just won an all expenses paid trip to anywere in the world, but you can only go if you take three people that were bullies to you. Would you still accept the prize or would you skip out?

I’d take the prize and then I’d off them in gruesome ways – then write a book about it.

8.)If your pet could talk, what’s the one thing they would or could say that would ruin your image?

“I’ve seen what you look like naked.”

9.) You’re now banned from the local library, what would be the reason for the ban?

For reading too many books in my underwear.

10.) If you could change what falls from the sky every time it rains, what would it be and why? (note: it can’t be anything of significant value)

Cinnamon twists, followed by coffee, followed by a bacon sandwich, followed by chips, followed by chocolate – on a recurring loop.

11.) If the sea is salty, is it because the shore waved goodbye?

I always thought the sea was salty because the see-wee’d.

12.) Why do superheroes wears their underwear outside of their clothes?

To prevent skidmarks.

13.) Do you need to get an appointment with a psychic or will they be expecting you?

They’re always expecting me.