First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
I’m predominantly an independent film director, however, writing is a big part of my world in terms of being able to concoct stories and also having the ability to read screenplays and turn them into feature films that are (hopefully) appreciated by a theatrical audience. I come from an artistic family, and I’m attracted to the visual side of things, having grown up sketching, painting, and developing skills in photography. All of this seems to have been a good basis for filmmaking. I also use a visual style and influence when I embark on writing novels, most recently, Andaluz Blood.
What inspired you to start writing?
During my progression from photography to video production, and now feature film, I became interested in reading all sorts of material from non-fiction accounts, to novels and screenplays. From here, I felt compelled to write a novel based on my travels and experiences. I like to write using real-life encounters and observations as inspiration from which to draw creative ideas.
Tell me about your journey to publication
My journey to publication is a familiar one: some close encounters with big, established publishers – ‘near misses’, I guess you’d call them – and then settling for self-publishing. I have to admit that, in the early stages, I had some reservations about the whole idea, but then some good comments came in … and then more. Not all of the feedback was positive, but there was enough good energy for me to continue promoting, and now I guess I’m one of those online authors lucky enough to have found a niche fanbase for my book.
In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?
Andaluz Blood is essentially a ‘travel thriller’. Strangely enough, it’s broadly based on a route I often take from various parts of England to Gatwick Airport, on to a marina near Almería in southern Spain, and then back again. The journey is full of contrasts, and as an observer and writer, I began to thread a story of a seemingly ordinary chap who takes this route and becomes embroiled in drug smuggling across the Alboran Sea in the Meditteranean.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
The title is somewhat tricky for those unfamiliar with the Andalucía region of Spain. As I understand, ‘Andaluz’ refers to the people of the region and the ‘z’ is pronounced with a ‘th’ and a touch of ‘tz’. So, when the lead protagonist, Charles Hale, becomes romantically involved with a local woman from Andalucía, he is – from the perspective of the local male population at least – crossing boundaries, and mixing it up with Andaluz blood.
How did you celebrate publication day?
Publication day for us self-published online mortals is more work and promotion than any celebration. That said, it was a relief to have the book finally launched, and somewhat exciting as well, since people from across the globe would now be able to read this rather unusual tale … and provide their thoughts.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
I’m tied up with developing and producing a number of full-length feature films at present, however, there is a voice in my head (as there is with most novelists) reminding me that I should be writing in anger! Indeed, if I can find a window, I’d love to write another thriller. Some readers have urged me to write a sequel to Andaluz Blood at the earliest opportunity, but I have little mental block on that: I feel the current story resolves well and any continuation might lead me down a dead end.
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!
I read more technical film-related material and screenplays than novels, but I do enjoy non-fiction epic accounts. I love anything by Mark Bowden (Black Hawk Down) and I must see what he’s been up to lately. Strangely, I’m not a big reader of fiction, however, books by Harlen Coben and John Grisham often pique my interest.
What are you reading just now?
I’m currently (June 2019) reading One of Us by Åsne Seierstad about the terrible massacre in Norway. I saw the film by Paul Greengrass and was interested to read more about the details of what happened. I only have about half an hour to read at night, so I’m finding it tough going, but the film was so captivating that I will definitely persevere.
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
I would take The Moon’s a Balloon by David Niven. I haven’t read it for donkey’s years, but I know that it would raise more than a few laughs and would be ultimately re-readable!
Is there a book you’d like to see made into a film? Who would be in your dream cast?
I’ll be really selfish and say that I’d like Andaluz Blood to be made into a film, maybe with Tom Hiddleston as Charles Hale and perhaps María Valverde as Marta.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
Twitter is good for authors, so you can connect with me on @jsmithwriter and @AndaluzBlood. I am also @jsmithwriter on Instagram.
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
I’d like to be Doctor Dolittle in any of Hugh Lofting’s books, since I remember him inspiring my young mind to believe that anything was possible and that travel was great!
From the back of the book
Englishman, Charles Hale, is on the run from crippling debt and his own demons. He lives in a conspiratorial world in which no one is quite who they seem and from which he yearns to escape.
Inevitably, Hale’s double life must be exposed, and a complex web begins to unravel when the tenacious Inspectora Jefa, Rosa María Díez, of the Policía Nacional investigates a death at a Spanish marina.
AND DEATH IN ANDALUCIA
Andaluz Blood is available now in paperback and as an ebook. You can order a Kindle copy online here: Andaluz Blood
Watch the book trailer for Andaluz Blood