...Jeff Gardiner. Welcome to the blog, Jeff and thanks for agreeing to be put the microscope!
AW What is your current release?
JG ‘Pica’ is a Young Adult (YA) fantasy about our relationship with the natural world. The main character discovers some of the ancient secrets and magical powers that have been hidden for thousands of years. It is the beginning of the ‘Gaia’ trilogy which explores environmental themes.
AW What first got you into writing and why?
JG I’ve always wanted to write – “I write therefore I am”. My head is full of images, stories and events that I need to express somehow before I lose my mind completely. As a kid I wrote terrible stories and self-indulgent poetry. My first real publishing success occurred when an adaptation of my MPhil thesis was published. This gave me the fillip I needed to write some short stories which found homes in magazines and anthologies in the UK and US. And I went on from there. My first novel, ‘Myopia’ was accepted by Crooked Cat, and since then I’ve refused to give up…
AW You write YA and Contemporary novels. Is it all imagination or do you also undertake research?
JG Most of what I write is imagined, but ‘Igboland’ is set in Nigeria – where I was born – and that involved lots of research into Igbo culture and beliefs, as well as the Biafran War, which is the historical context of that novel. It was a fascinating process and when you immerse yourself deeply into a completely new culture it starts to affect your own perspective on things, and your way of thinking.
AW And what about other types of writing? Have you ever dabbled with short stories, for instance, or other genres?
JG Yes, I have a collection of short stories called ‘A Glimpse of the Numinous’, which contained a range of genres: horror, slipstream, romance, comedy and surrealism. Not all my novels are YA. ‘Igboland’ and ‘Treading On Dreams’ include mature themes and episodes. And I even have an erotic novel out under a pseudonym!
AW Famous authors, such as Roald Dahl and Dylan Thomas, had a special space for writing. Do you have a writing ‘shed’ of your own?
JG I wish. No, I have a laptop on my dining room table, or sometimes on my lap (weird!). If I ever become more successful then a writing-shed is something I’ll have built (but the dilemma will be: should I include a TV with Sky Sports or do I want to get some writing done?).
AW Finally, if you had a whole afternoon to yourself and could choose to spend it with anyone, living or dead or a character from a book. Who would it be, and what would you want to discuss?
JG My hero is Gandhi. We could do with his wisdom and clarity on a number of issues right now. Whenever I have a discussion with friends about politics I wonder what Gandhi would say. I’d ask him a million questions and jot down his pearls of wisdom. I’d also love to chat with Herman Hesse for similar reasons. The philosophy in his books is inspiring and mesmerizing. If I could be transported into a book I’d like to visit Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast and get lost in the endless walls of the castle filled with hilarious and lunatic characters.
AW I make that three people Jeff! A tad greedy don’t you think? So I’m going to have to press you because the idea is to spend the afternoon with one person…JG Ghandhi.
Author Bio Jeff Gardiner is the author of four novels (Pica, Igboland, Myopia and Treading On Dreams), a collection of short stories, and a work of non-fiction. Many of his short stories have appeared in anthologies, magazines and websites.
Pica is the first in the Gaia trilogy – a fantasy of transformation and ancient magic, which Michael Moorcock described as “An engrossing and original story, beautifully told. Wonderful!”
“Reading is a form of escapism, and in Gardiner’s fiction, we escape to places we’d never imagine journeying to.” (A.J. Kirby, ‘The New Short Review’)For more information, please see his website at www.jeffgardiner.com and his blog: http://jeffgardiner.wordpress.com/
About the Book Pica explores a world of ancient magic, when people and nature shared secret powers.
Luke hates nature, preferring the excitement of computer games to dull walks in the countryside, but his view of the world around him drastically begins to change when enigmatic loner, Guy, for whom Luke is reluctantly made to feel responsible, shows him some of the secrets that the very planet itself appears to be hiding from modern society.Set in a very recognisable world of school and the realities of family-life, Luke tumbles into a fascinating world of magic and fantasy where transformations and shifting identities become an escape from the world. Luke gets caught up in an inescapable path that affects his very existence, as the view of the world around him drastically begins to change.