Please welcome Stephen Lloyd Jones to the blog! His new book, THE STRING DIARIES, just came out last week, and he was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about this rather awesome book (trust me, it is.) We’ve also got 3 copies of THE STRING DIARIES to give away to 3 lucky winners, so check out the details at the bottom of the post!
Congratulations on the new book! Will you tell us a bit about THE STRING DIARIES?
My pleasure. It’s the story of a young woman, Hannah Wilde, on the run from a man who has murdered the last five generations of her family. All Hannah’s knowledge of him comes from a string-tied collection of journals, notes and letters written by her ancestors. They represent everything the family has managed to discover about this horror that stalks them.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? Will you tell us more about yourself and your background?
I’ve wanted to be a published writer for as long as I can remember. I received my first rejection slip when I was fifteen. There was a long period, as I concentrated on my media career, where I didn’t write a thing, but the dream never went away.
Why do you think readers will connect with Hannah Wilde?
Faced with an almost inconceivable threat, Hannah’s sole concern is her daughter’s future. She’s prepared to sacrifice everything to secure it: her life, even the lives of others she loves. That doesn’t stop her contemplating the agony of those sacrifices or her ability to make them, and it doesn’t dull her terror of what’s coming.
I hope readers will be able to connect with the idea that taking a particular path, even when you know it’s the right one, can be monumentally difficult.
What kind of research did you do for the book?
Some scenes take place in nineteenth century Budapest, and those took the longest to write. I travelled to the city, spent months researching Hungary’s history, and pored over old maps and photographs. It was great fun to bring it all together on the page.
What is your writing process like?
While writing THE STRING DIARIES, it was chaotic. I was working as the director of a London media agency, with all the hours and politics that entails. Writing was either done incredibly late at night, or during snatched lunch breaks in coffee shops around the corner. Now things are much calmer, as I’m writing full time.
What was the hardest thing about writing THE STRING DIARIES?
The book spans three time-lines and three major sets of characters. Tying them all together in a way that wouldn’t confuse readers was definitely the greatest challenge.
THE STRING DIARIES has plenty of creepy/scary moments, but what’s something that you find truly terrifying?
I’m a husband, and a father to three boys under five. The thought of being unable to protect my family from danger is terrifying, as is the prospect of another long road-trip with them accompanied by the soundtrack from Frozen.
What, or who, most inspires you to write?
I love the idea of someone I’ve never met enjoying something I’ve written. Literary heroes include Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Tolkien and Dickens.
What’s one of the first things you can remember writing?
When I was six or seven years old, I filled three school exercise books with my retelling of THE HOBBIT. I can’t remember why I thought that might be a good idea.
How did you celebrate when you found out THE STRING DIARIES would be published?
With an Indian takeaway and a couple of beers. When it was published in the UK nine months later, we threw a huge launch party for friends and family.
When you’re not writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
Any time that isn’t spent defending myself from three boys armed with light sabers is dedicated to reading, gaming and avoiding the soundtrack from Frozen.
What’s next for you?
I’ve just delivered my second book, WRITTEN IN THE BLOOD, to my publishers. It’s a follow-up to THE STRING DIARIES, and will be out in the UK this November, and the US next summer. Now that’s done, I’m about to start work on a stand alone novel. It’s an idea I’ve had for a while, and one I’m incredibly excited about.
Want to win a copy of THE STRING DIARIES? Courtesy of the lovely folks at Mulholland, I have 3, and it’s open to US addresses. Fill out the widget below and I’ll pick a winner on July 16th!