Thursday, October 18, 2012

Interview with J.S. Watts, Author of A Darker Moon

Today I will be interviewing J. S. Watts, author of A Darker Moon.

What are your favorite book(s)? 
Ooh, you've started with a difficult question. I just love books, in all their diverse shapes, sizes and formats, styles and genres. I'd struggle to pick out one or even a few. I can, however, remember the first 'proper' book I fell in love with as a child. It was Tolkien's "The Hobbit". I was really too young to read it by myself, but I brought it home from the school library and demanded that my mother help me read it. She did and then I read it for myself and then I read it again, and again...

Who is your favorite author? 
I'm afraid I'm going to have the same problem with this question as I did with the one about books. I don't really have one favourite author and my list of favourites is extensive. I'll have a go at listing some of them, but with the caveat that I'm bound to miss off a few and to them I can only apologise profusely. So, in no order of merit, here goes: Ray Bradbury, Alan Garner, Rosemary Sutcliffe, J.R.R. Tolkien, Roger Zelazny, Philip K. Dick, Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Philip Pullman, Terry Pratchett, Hilary Mantel, Bradley Denton, William Shakespeare, Charles Causley, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Emily Dickinson, John Donne, T.S. Eliot, Alice Oswald... and I could go on, but I guess I'd better not, or this interview will turn into just one very long list.

Where do you get your inspiration from? 
Things around me, life. Landscapes can be an influence, as can images. Also, I've been fascinated by the myths and legends of different cultures from an early age. As a child I was always getting books out of the public library on the subject. Many of those stories have resonated with me into adulthood and have influenced my poems and short stories. There is a strong mythic element to my new novel, 'A DarkerMoon'.

Where is your favorite place to do your writing?
I guess most of my writing takes place in my study, but I am a bit of a gypsy when it comes to places to write. I also write in the lounge, in the kitchen, in bed, in the garden (weather permitting), cafes, libraries, parks, friends’ houses (until they kick me out): wherever I have the time, space and inclination (and something to write on and with).

What made you decide to write A Darker Moon? 
I've always had the urge to write. For many years it was poetry and short stories, but there was this nagging doubt at the back of my mind as to whether or not I was up to a novel. Then, when I went freelance, I thought I'd give it a try. I was looking for ideas and came across a portrait in The National Portrait Gallery, Louise Jopling by Sir John Everett Millais, which gave me the first spark drawing me towards the story that became 'A Darker Moon'. My love of myths and legends also played a part, as did my interest in mental health issues. Put all that together and I guess 'A Darker Moon' was inevitable.

What was the hardest part of writing your novel? 
As a poet and short story writer, I'm used to writing in short, sharp bursts. The long-haul slog of writing a novel and then re-writing and editing it and then re-editing and editing and editing some more was probably the most challenging part, but it was a challenge I clung to. Notwithstanding the sheer effort of writing a novel, I actually enjoyed the experience. I must have done, I'm now working on another two.

Tell us about your new novel. 

'A Darker Moon' is a dark psychological fantasy set in London, a mythical tale of light and shadow and the unlit places where it is best not to shine even the dimmest light. The lead character and narrator of the story is Abe Finchley. Abe is a damaged man, an orphan with no roots and no family ties who has spent his life chasing after the image of one particular woman. When he finally finds her, he finds not just love and overwhelming passion, but also a dark and violent family history that spans generations into humanity's deepest past.

Eve is the woman of Abe's dreams; but dream is just another word for nightmare, and Abe knows all about those. Amidst a confused web of lies and secrets, Abe is trying to discover who he is and make sense of what he may become. But more than just his future and his new-found love is at stake. When he discovers that he has a brother, a man who thinks he is bound by a mythic destiny to kill him, Abe realises he is going to have to make a difficult choice. It's choice that might redeem the world or a choice that might destroy it.

'A Darker Moon' is published by Vagabondage Press and is available in the US and the UK both as an e-book and as a paperback. You can find it at all the usual outlets including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It's also available from the Vagabondage website at

About the Author. 

I'm British and a Londoner by birth. I was born and brought up in North West London: Wembley (of Wembley Stadium fame) to be precise. I left London to go to university, where I read English at Somerville College, Oxford and subsequently spent many years working in the British education sector. I've also been involved, on a voluntary basis, with various mental health organisations in Britain. These days I'm a freelance writer, editor and consultant living near Cambridge in the UK. My poetry, short stories and book reviews appear in a variety of publications in Britain, Canada, Australia and the States including Acumen, Envoi, Hand + Star, Mslexia and Orbis and have been broadcast on BBC and independent Radio. I have been Poetry Reviews Editor for Open Wide Literary Magazine and, for a brief while until its demise, Poetry Editor for Ethereal Tales. My debut poetry collection, "Cats and Other Myths" and a subsequent poetry pamphlet, "Songs of Steelyard Sue" are both published by Lapwing Publications. My novel, "A Darker Moon" is published by Vagabondage Press.

If people want to know more I have a website at and am also on Facebook at

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