Marcia James, author of hot, humorous romances

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The James Gang


Neal James

November James Gang Interview

Each month, I interview authors or publishing insiders who have some form of “James” in their names or in their books. My November James Gang interviewee is author Neal James, whose slogan is Neal James - Welcome to the world of Mystery, Suspense and Crime!

1. Let’s get the most important question asked first: Why James?

I’m an accountant by trade, and using my real name, Philip Neale, just didn’t seem to have that ‘edge’ which an author name needs. After much pondering, I decided to use my son’s name, drop the ‘e’ from Neale, and ended up with Neal James.

2. What fiction genre(s) and/or sub-genre(s) do you write?

As a short-story writer, my styles have varied, and Short Stories Volume One, my second release, illustrates that. Romance, crime, sci-fi, horror, humour and fantasy all feature in it. However, all of my novels have been crime-related, and I find it easy to write in that genre.

3. Tell us about your latest release.

Day of the Phoenix (August 2014 release) is a spy thriller, and the sequel to my debut novel A Ticket to Tewkesbury. Here’s the Day of the Phoenix blurb:

Steve Marshall was ready. This time there would be no mistakes–no one to derail the plan and no one to step outside his ideas for the perfect Britain. Anyone standing in the way of progress would be unmercifully mown down. Infiltrating the British Democratic Party was the ultimate solution to the establishment of a Fascist state–a state controlled by him and him alone. Robert Grafton, the party’s current leader, was going to be the perfect tool in the fulfilment of a dream, and would be just one more stepping stone on a path reaching back as far as the end of the Second World War.

Marshall had toiled hard and long at the plan since the debacle of 1992. The Organisation had come within a whisker of success, and but for some strokes of outrageous fortune, MI5 and its head, the imperious George Watkinson, would have been all but consigned to history. This time it would be different.

Neal James takes this sequel to A Ticket to Tewkesbury into a frighteningly possible future. A future built upon the use of the ballot box to further the aims of a radical political society, and where the lessons of history are all too easily forgotten.

4. Is there a core story and/or a theme(s) in your books?

Yes; I try to write in an exciting style which forces the reader to turn the page. My chapters are short for that purpose, and I keep the reader moving along with the plot by shifting the scenes of the action in much the same way as you would see in any TV crime drama.

5. Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?

Characters in my writing tend to move between books, thus forming some continuity to what is becoming a series. I suppose Dennis Marks, my detective, is the main ‘linking’ identity, and I’m slowly building him up into something approaching a real personality.

6. What do you enjoy most about being an author?

There is a buzz to seeing your books in a shop or on a library shelf, and this is what makes writing worthwhile. Everyone, they say, has their 15 minutes of fame–maybe this is mine; certainly readers seem to take me very seriously.

7. Do you have any awards, reviews or kudos you’d like to tell us about?

No awards, but there are numerous reviews of all my books on Amazon, and this is another thing which gives me a real sense of excitement. These have come from all over the world, telling me that my style of writing transcends cultural boundaries.

8. How do you promote your books and your author brand?

I have my own website––and I use this extensively. I also give reader group talks up and down the UK, maintain a database of book shops and libraries, and use social media on a regular basis to let fans know of upcoming works and promotions.

9. What is your next project?

Next year (2015), I am departing from crime and venturing into the world of science fiction. The Rings of Darelius tells of an advanced race at the brink of extinction from forces beyond their control. Their only hope lies in the search for a cure to a virus against which they have no natural defence:

10. Do you have a bit of wisdom you’d like to impart or a favorite quote?

Never lose faith in your own ability as an author, and try to write what you know about rather than what you believe readers want. Don’t over extend your knowledge, because there will always be someone out there waiting to trip you up. Finally, never, ever try to edit your own work–it always ends in tears.

Thank you, Neal! My December James Gang interviewee will be romance author, Kellie James!


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