I’m so thrilled to have Benedict Jacka on the blog today! Benedict is the author of the Alex Verus series (Fated, Cursed, and the upcoming Taken), and was kind enough to answer a few questions for me. There’s also a giveaway of one copy of Cursed to one lucky winner, so be sure to check the details at the end of the post!
Please welcome Benedict to the blog!
Benedict, you’ve already got the Fated and Cursed (both wonderful)under your belt, and Taken will be out very soon! How did you celebrate when you found out Fated would be published?
Went out for a meal, told my friends, and was very happy . . . for a day or so at least, then I had to get back to work! I was right in the middle of exams at the time, and I was completely focused on studying, so I didn’t get to enjoy it much. I did my celebrating after the exams were over – kind of a two-for-one!
When you started Fated, did you have an idea of how many books you’d like to write in the Alex Verus series, or did you just plan to see where it took you?
I had no idea it was even going to be a series. At the time I wrote Fated I’d just come off a long string of rejections – I’d written four novels over the few years before that, and they’d all been turned down one after the other. Fated was the fifth, and I was giving serious thought to just packing it in. If Fated hadn’t sold, I’m not sure if I’d have written anything more for a very long time.
What are some of your favorite books or authors?
Watership Down and Lord of the Rings were my favourites when I was a kid, and I’ve read just about everything written by Agatha Christie. I grew up with the Wheel of Time books too, and I’m also a fan of Jack Vance and Jim Butcher.
If you could read one book again for the very first time, which one would it be?
Probably Watership Down. Though I might give whoever recommended it to me a bit of a funny look . . . “The main characters are all what?”
What are you reading now?
I’ve been reading my way through the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. I love the main character – Miles is hilarious to watch when he gets going!
London plays a very big part in your novels. What do you love most about living there?
It’s really hard for me to say, because I’ve spent so much time in London that I just take everything there for granted. So instead of noticing what’s different about London, I judge every other city I visit about how it’s different from London. London just feels comfortable, for me. I like visiting other places, but I find it harder to relax there.
If someone were to visit you in London for the first time, where would you take them?
I’m the worst person in the world to ask to do something like that. I’m absolutely terrible as a tourist guide, because I have no clue what a visitor to the place would enjoy doing! I’d probably end up taking them through the city centre, hoping desperately that they were happy to be there.
I also read that you spent some time teaching English in China? Will you tell us a bit about your visit?
I was in a small city in Anhui province (‘small’ in China meaning only a few hundred thousand people). The population of non-Chinese in the city was approximately five, which made things interesting – I got a lot of chances to practice my Mandarin, at least! The biggest problem I had to deal with was that the schools I taught in had a little under a hundred students per class.
Ok, I’ve got to know about the ballroom dancing…
I picked it up at university, and was quite surprised to find out that they actually did it competitively. So I joined the team, and spent an fun year travelling around the country going to competitions. Competitions were all-day events – you’d get up in pitch darkness, have a 3-hour coach ride, then spend all day hyped up on adrenaline before falling asleep on the journey back. I had the most fun with latin, but did best at ballroom.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us about upcoming projects or events (or anything at all!)?
I’m currently working on Alex Verus #4, the sequel to Taken! Nothing’s been signed yet, but I’m hoping that it’ll be published next year (though that’ll depend on how the first two do). I’m starting to get a long story arc planned out for the Alex Verus series, and I’m really happy with the way the story’s unfolding, so as long as people are going to keep reading Alex Verus books I’m going to keep writing them. Thanks for hosting me, and hope you enjoy the books!
Keep up with Benedict: Website | Twitter
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