Author Interview – Jethro Weyman

Here’s another installment of author interviews, and this week is slightly different as today it’s a short story author.

I’ve been meaning to interview Jethro for a while now (sorry for the delay, Jethro!) and I’m glad I finally got around to doing it. Although, I hate to admit I haven’t read his books, after interviewing him and reading the reviews on Amazon – they’re both going straight onto my wish list! Seriously, you guys have to check them out!

About Jethro Weyman

Jethro is a fellow Brit, born in Buckinghamshire and raised in Hertfordshire, not only does he write mind-boggling short stories, he works for the NHS as a physiotherapist in Birmingham. He manages a small team of five (including himself) on a specialist stroke and neurology rehabilitation ward. He also recently snagged some work as a supporting artist working on a film – which he can’t name yet!

As well as writing (and acting, so it seems), he enjoys cycling, bouldering, and as many forms of media he can cram in. He’s a big fan of nature, so tries to surround himself with that as often as possible. He loves animals, although doesn’t currently own any, and in his own words he “also loves not having fur or vomit or the outdoors all over the house!”

Bang to Begin

One of Jethro’s books; Bang to Begin, is a series of short stories, although a mix of genres, they are all linked and, by the end, become one. It’s designed to be a bit of a “head messer”, but also one that grows with a second read through. Read the synopsis below.

(It’s already on my wish-list, Jethro, will be purchasing it as soon as I move into my new apartment!)

Here it is on Amazon

Synopsis:

Reality is Relative.
There is no such thing as universal truth.
But lies are always lies.
From auctions to assassinations, from cosmos to subconscious mind, the roots feeding into these short stories start fine, but thicken and tangle as they grow deeper.
Follow these wayward souls through their darkest moments, each beginning with a bang and each trying desperately to avoid ending with the same.
A metaphysical, visionary exploration of the human psyche and all that it means to be real – discussed via an anthology with a difference.

Interview with Jethro

Now, let’s get into the interview and learn more about the inner workings of Jethro’s mind and these books of his…

What got you into writing?

I actually got into it a little by accident. I had an idea for a scene stuck in my head for a few momths and just felt I needed to get it down on paper for it to stop irritating me. Fortunately, that didn’t work… and I was irrirated all the way to writing a full novel. It definitely wasn’t expertly written, but it was something I could work with. I recently edited that scene out, which was a bit of a blow, but I’ve got it stored on my hard drive for reminiscence purposes.

What is your most unusual writing quirk?

I’ve got no idea if I have any quirks, let alone unusual ones. I guess I’ll need to set up a camera and keen an eye on myself… although, I probably wouldn’t like what I find!

Do you write every single day?

I wish I had the discipline and the energy, but sometimes I get home from work and jus tneed to sit down and watch something mindless for a while. I do go through periods of daily writing, but it’s rare these days. If Twitter stories count, then I do write most days, but substantial writing probably comes about twice a week right now, at best. There’s a lot of life happening at the moment and that’s not necessarily a good thing!

What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

That definitely has to be the editing side of things. I can quite easily have the enthusiasm sucked out of me by a long editing stint, especially when I’ve had some brutal feedback calling for a big rewrite. I’ve had to kill a lot of darlings… I’ve had to kill a lot of things I wouldn’t call darlings too, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist as I write too… so having to go back and realising how imperfect it all is after a first draft can be quite dishearening. But such is the life of a writer!

What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

For me, as a reader, it’s all about the flow. If a writer can entice me with their premise and make me look forward to reading what sounds like it will be right up my street, only to write in a clunky and fluentless way, that’s really disappointing. It also shows when someone has a handle on their genre or their style as well… it probably shows even more when they don’t. Since starting to write myself, I feel like I’ve become a lot more critical over these aspects as well. I’ll notice and get annoyed by a lot more than I used to, but I think that’s probably true of all of us.

How do you use social media as an author?

I am definitely guilty of a shameless self promo or several, and I think social media is a fantastic marketing tool, at least in the early days of a writer’s career (which is my only experience). I also use it to connect with other writers, to practice my craft with short stories using many word prompt games and also, to a certain extend, to feel part of a wider community, especially in times like these where it’s more difficult to have a social life. I’ve made a lot of friends via social media, primarily Twitter, and if you ignore as much of the toxicity as possible, it can be a very rewarding place to be.

What’s your favourite and least favourite part of publishing?

Self-publishing is definitely a pain – My least favourite part of it (or most hated) was formatting. Especially in the first book I published, which is made up primarily of Twitter stories. The formatting took forever and it drove me a little insane for a while… in fact, the remnants are probably still rattling around in there somewhere. My favourite part was definitely the satisfaction of being a published author, although I do still feel I need to get traditionally published before I can truly accept that. Anyone can publish a book these days, but not anyone can nab an agent and get a publishing deal.

How much research did you need to do for your books?

I must admit… I’m a bit of a write now, research later kind of chap. If I stop too much to focus on the details, I lost that all important flow and that’s something I really try to avoid. However, there are certain things I had to look up beforeI wrote for example: the geography of where I used to live in Buckinghamshire for my first novel – I needed travel times and names of nearby places and I even did a bit of google map street viewing to make sure it was accurate. For my fantasy novel, I did very little research other than finding names and designs of weapons which could be used or modified for use in the story. And with Bang to Begin, the only thing I can remember fully researching was what happens to someone when they hang themselves for one of the horror elements… so my search history is probably not as bad as Stephen King’s, but there’s a few dodgy key words on there.

What do you need in your writing space to keep you focused?

I wish I’d found it!… probably an EMP device which stops all electronic devices apart from my laptop from working… and will only let me use the internet for research purposes. I basically need a parental lock on my writing space.

Have you ever Googled yourself?

Of course… there’s nothing particularly interesting on there, but it does come up with the awful photos that are on the profile I have with an Extras casting agency. Twitter and my books come up as well… but I’m yet to get the all important Wikipedia page… maye I should make one myself!

Do you play music while you write – and if so, what’s your favourite?

I used to be unable to write unless I was in total silence, even bird song would put me off. Nowadays, maybe I’ve mellowed a bit, but I put on instrumental music. This could be acoustic guiter or piano music, but my favourite music to write to is Neo-Soul or Chillstep – there are a good few playlists on Spotify which absolutely hit the spot for this, including one called Mellow Beats and another called Lo-Fi Beats. When I don’t need to think too much about how I’m working things, I often put on some Tom Misch or Jordan Rakei or their playlists. Whatever I have on… it has to be calm and rhythmic.

Can you tell me a little bit about your book “Bang to Begin”?

I can! The idea for the book came to me after the 6th chapter; a story called The Death of Fate. Originally I was just writing completely disparate episodes as a series for a reading subscription website called Channillo. After that 6th chapter, I thought it should be more than what I set out to create, especially as this chapter gave me the idea of how to link them all together. The concept of face (and other metaphysical concepts) are the cornerstone of the book. What if these concepts were personified? What if that personification were a construct of an individual’s perception or ego? So, I worked prospectively and retrospectively to fit all of the stories together… the original versions are still available on the website and are even harder to follow than the final.

It’s all quite dark and more than a bit twisted, but writing in this way gave me space to dabble in all of the genres I’ve had an interest in. There are stories primarily based in the thriller/suspense genre, in horror, in fantasy and sci-fi and, to begin with, it can definitely be quite confusing. I’ve written it in a way which, I hope, begs for a second read, because there are little callbacks and subtleties that won’t be noticeable at first. I don’t want to give anything away, but once you realise what this book really is… it should come as a bit of a revelation, if not a relief! Plus, it’s only short… which can only help.

Both of your published books are short stories, have you considered writing a novel?

I definitely have considered it and I’ve done it. I wrote a thriller called Kept in the Dark, which I’m currently querying – this was my first foray into proper writing and I’ve had some good feedback from readers, but I’m yet to land an agent. I’ve done some more revisions recently, and I hope that helps. It explores government and insitutional corruption and how the people who oppose this are viewed. It’s set in what I call a near-future dystopia – a little bit Black Mirror. I’ve also written an SFF novel called Craft (Working Title), which explores social, racial and gender inequality in a way I hope is unique. I try to incorporate more meaningful themes into my work when I can.

Do you have any projects you’re working on at the moment?

Too many, and I curse myself whenever I add another. I’m currently working on a short story (should end up about 5000 words) which is a YA (ish), supernatural thriller. I’m not too far off finishing the first draft of this, but I have no idea what I’m going to do with it. I’m also editing my first screenplay using the wise words of Syd Field and some beta readers as a basis. I would love to write for the screen, so I’m going to try and make a go of this. It’s a post-apocalyptic comedy. I should be editing my second novel, but it is hard to tear myself away from the new stuff (this is always a problem) and I did start writing the sequel to this as well when I was stuck in a Brazilian airport for about 8 hours. So, I’ll get back to that at some point as well.

If you’d like to contact Jethro, here’s a link to his Twitter page!

~~~

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Tired today, the rejection took it out of me…

…I think I need time to recoop and recover.

Yesterday, I got my first rejection letter. If you’ve not seen my previous blog post, read it here.

And although, at the time, it didn’t bother me, as I was expecting rejection, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise… I have however, had a few bad days with my writing now.

First, the fail with the Watty Awards 2018 knocking my confidence, then this rejection letter… and to make matters worse, I don’t have a lovely large support network. To keep it brief; a lot of my friends have drifted away from me since I have moved away (literally moved to the other side of the country!) and as such, I don’t have a large support network of friends and family picking me back up again. So, I have to pick myself up, just takes a bit longer.

Anyway, today, I am exceptionally tired. And, I think it’s because of the last few days of negativity.

Current mood:
6098-1

On the plus side, I read through a ‘favourite’ chapter of mine from my book; Rose Garden Sanatorium last night, before I went to bed, to cheer me up a little (as well as watching 2 Guns for a bit!) and I was surprised with myself at how well I had written it. Perked me up a little.

I’m also planning on looking into a few new ideas on marketing myself and my work a bit more. Using Instagram more (if it would work for me, currently not working on my mobile!), blogging more, might even look at submitting a short story.

Or… I might just take a break. When my Master’s Degree starts in October, I don’t think I’m going to have much time for anything other than university work and working part-time!

*Wishes on a miracle*

 

No one likes you! – A short story.

A short story,
Based on a true events.
By Penny Hooper (aka The Girl Who Whispered)

Early 90s

“Are you okay?” said a big scary woman in her strange blue clothes said as she bent down to look at me.

I nodded viciously, hoping she would just leave me alone. It was easier to just sit here quietly. I wouldn’t get in trouble if I sat and stayed quiet. What if I wasn’t allowed to speak to strangers? I didn’t know this woman. Even if she looked like she worked there.

She smiled at me and just walked off. I sighed. And tried to calm my beating heart as I sat on the hard plastic chair in the corridor of the hospital.

But I didn’t know what to do. What do I say? Do I say something? Do I sit and wait? Do I find him? Or had I been left here? I had no concept of how long I was sitting there panicking. I knew I was there to think about what I had done. Dad was angry with me the moment he burst into my room. I hadn’t even got in his way yet. Or said something wrong to him. But I had an idea of what it was I had done. He tried to get me to speak. I refused. He got angry.

But I couldn’t think about what I had done. I only sat, tried not to cry – I wasn’t allowed to cry – and hoped that he would come back for me. Eventually.

I couldn’t forget what happened to me though, even though I wasn’t thinking about it at the time. I hoped one day I might forget. A kid at school had trapped me in tables and chairs. The teacher had called us all over, I think it was reading time, but the kid, he was ignoring the teacher and was instead moving the tables and chairs to trap me. I don’t know why. Was this a game? He was laughing. Or had I done something wrong? But the teacher had called us, she wanted us all over to her, we would get told off if we didn’t!

I got told off. For not going over to her. For playing. I didn’t know I was playing. I was trapped. I couldn’t go anywhere. How could I explain that to her? But I just wanted to go home. I didn’t want to be there anymore. What did I do wrong? How could I have done that differently?

I had decided not to talk anymore. The grown-ups didn’t listen. They didn’t see and they didn’t listen. I was just a kid. But it was okay, that kid was a boy. Boys will be boys after all!

But why did I feel so bad?

I had gotten home after school and refused to talk to mum. Mum didn’t like it. But dad was angry at me. I don’t remember exactly what happened, it all went by in a flash; he took me in his car and drove me to the hospital, told me to sit, I obeyed and then he walked off. Taking a cigarette out and walked off without even looking back at me.

After what felt like hours, I saw out of the corner of my eye, dad was coming back. I felt a little relieved. I hadn’t been left here. I wasn’t going to have to live on this plastic seat for the rest of my life. But I was also nervous. What if I did that wrong? What if I sat here wrong? What if I was supposed to do something? What if he yelled at me again? What if he forced me to speak again?

Early 2000s

I sat in my class, staring at my book and scribbling notes hurriedly, trying not to look at anyone. I didn’t want to grab someone’s attention and then they pick on me. If I ignored everyone, maybe they’d leave me alone. I already had a bad day in my previous lesson. Physical Education. PE. I hated PE. It meant changing in a room full of other girls and playing sports that I hated and wasn’t even good at. It was a good lesson to have others laugh at you too. At least if you’re writing and got your head in a book, the other students can’t see how terrible you are. I was stupid after all.

PE was up there with Drama. I hated Drama too.

“Oi, you talking yet?” I heard someone whisper behind me. I felt every muscle in my body go tense. I hadn’t been small enough. Someone was talking to me. I pretended I didn’t hear.

“I thought you had a sore throat?” another kid said from behind me, I recognised her voice, “Been going on for a few years now hasn’t it? Faking it much?”

I gulped as I felt the tears in my eyes again. I had already fought the tears back after my PE teacher told me off for having an attitude. I didn’t have an attitude. I didn’t hear her call my name and then turned round to see her staring at me angrily. I got called into her office. The smelly PE office. She told me off for ignoring her. I wasn’t ignoring her. I crossed my arms, not knowing what to do with them. They felt suddenly heavy and in the way. I got told off for crossing my arms.

I can’t do anything right.

“She’s such a looser,” said one of the girls behind me and the other one giggled as if it was the funniest thing her friend had said.

I stared at the same word on my page in my school book, attempting to control my shaking and my beating heart and blinked away the tears. I wasn’t sure what was worse, the popular kids name calling me and throwing things at me or the kids that weren’t popular, the smart ones, calling me names now too.

I sat and pretended I was somewhere else. Anywhere else than here. Well, maybe not home.

Late 2000s

I heard whispering and giggling from behind me as I sat on my computer. I looked round at the two girls that used to be my friends. They stopped and turned round as if suddenly getting caught doing something wrong. They had.

Were they upset with me? What had I done? I know I was hanging out with my two guy mates more. I got on with them better. We had more in common. It was cool to hang out with them. But I had no idea that the girls didn’t like me anymore. I still said hello to them, asked them how they were. Although one of them completely ignored me that morning. I didn’t know why.

I looked back round at my computer, I was trying to figure out this problem. I was starting to think college wasn’t for me. My two mates sat next to me were happily tapping away on their keyboards, they looked like they knew what they were doing. But I couldn’t get past this one bit. How could I do a whole two years of this?

I sighed just as I heard whispering and giggling again. I turned around and noticed the two girls were looking at me again.

“Do you have a problem?” I said loudly, everyone in the class looked round at me.

But to my joy, the two girls stopped, went pale faced and looked back round at their own computers. They left me alone from then on.

I felt proud. I’d spoken up for myself.

I found out a few days later why they didn’t like me. I had said something to one of the girls. Apparently she took offense. I didn’t mean to be nasty, I was just joking with her. Had I of known I upset her, if she told me, I would have apologised. But instead she decided to pick on me. But I had enough of that at school.

College was supposed to be different.

Sometime between 2012 and 2013.

My heart dropped when I saw the text message that my boyfriend had been deliberately trying to hide from me. I know he had. He said he didn’t. But I wasn’t stupid. But when I read the text message over his shoulder I saw why he was trying to hide it from me. His brother had text him to tell him that I need to suck it up and go to the New Year party because he wanted to see his brother.

I snapped. I was angry. Hurt. Upset. Both at his brother and at my boyfriend too.

“That’s it, I’m not going now!” I said.

He looked at me in shock.

“I’m not taking that!” I said, “I’m sorry! But that is just an asshole thing to say! I’m not going to make a scene there! I was just worried about that guy being there, he doesn’t like me, and you know I’m nervous in big groups of people!”

I remember the day I met the guy in question. It was about a year ago. I was at my boyfriend’s parents’ house. He at his brother had decided to have a few friends over for a barbeque, I met a load of his friends for the first time. I was stupidly nervous. I was trying to fit in, feel included. A song came on that reminded me of an ex and I told my boyfriend’s brother he was a chav if he listened to that song. It was a joke. He thought it was funny and turned it over. His friend didn’t. He had a go at me. Thought I was calling him a chav for liking the song. What was worse though, I went inside feeling stupid and all eyes were on me. Everyone hated me. My boyfriend followed me in, asked me what was wrong. He was there, he heard what went on. But had no idea why I was upset. He even told me that I was being rude for calling him a chav. I never called him a chav. I called his brother a chav. It was a joke.

But we had been invited to a New Year party at my boyfriend’s brother’s house, only that guy was going to be there. I was nervous. I was worried that he was going to have another go at me. I also wasn’t doing too well. I was lonely, missing my very few friends back home who were slowly forgetting me. I had moved far away from my hometown. I was upset too and struggling to stay happy, I had lost two grandparents and another grandparent was seriously ill and my childhood dog had died. I was tired too. Always fighting battles.

And now, I felt even worse because I felt like I was the bad person for not wanting to go to a New Year’s party and my boyfriend was starting to resent me and none of his friends liked me.

This was supposed to be a happy time of my life. I had escaped my parents. I had moved in with my boyfriend. We were living together in our first house. It was supposed to be new and exciting. But I was still miserable. I was starting to believe that I was supposed to be miserable. I must have done something really bad in a previous life to deserve this.

I just wanted to be happy.

Present day

“Why you taking your phone? To take a selfie in the bathroom?” my dad jeered as I stood up to go to the toilet. We were in a bar.

I looked at him in utter shock. Did he really think I was one of those girls? Who goes into bathrooms just to take a photo of herself? I wasn’t one of those girls.

“She doesn’t have any friends to show it to anyway!” my mum commented and I snorted and just walked off.

Any normal day, it would have been funny. It would have been me that said instead of her.

But today, it wasn’t a normal day. I wasn’t in the best frame of mind to take those jokes. But I couldn’t complain. I couldn’t fight back. It was best I just said nothing. Or just made a joke back, pretend I thought it was funny.

I walked into the bathroom and sat on the toilet, staring at my phone.

It was true. I don’t have any friends. Aside from the odd one or two I sometimes speak to. I looked at my last text message on my phone. The last text message was just an automated message with a code to log into a service. Probably PayPal. That was two weeks ago. The last text message I actually got from a friend was six months ago.

I sighed and locked my phone up. It was pointless having a phone. No one called. No one text. It was my parents’ choice that I had a phone. I was happy without one. At least if I didn’t have one, I wouldn’t have a constant reminder that I didn’t have any friends. I didn’t have anyone that cared. I was alone. A loner. A loser. Billy no mates.

Even my dad didn’t like me. Didn’t even know who I was.

Maybe I should have changed those settings on Facebook. Then I’d get a few people who would notice me today.

Today was my birthday. No one remembered.

No one liked me.

~~~

Check out my other works:

Read Chapter 1 of ‘It’s My Mistake’ here.
Or buy on e-book here or paperback here.

Read Chapter 1 of ‘I Fell in Love with a Psychopath’ here.
Or buy on e-book here or paperback here.

Check out my Prologue for Rose Garden Sanatorium here.

Read how I come up with character names, here.