My name is Natasha Jones, I’m from Portsmouth, Southern England and I’ve by the seaside my whole life. I love nature and travelling. I have a fondness for astronomy. I obsessively watch TV shows. I love a good musical. Period literature has, I think, the most fascinating language. I make silly jokes – ALL THE TIME.
When and why did you begin writing?
I used to parody pop songs and before that I used to make up my own magazine and write the articles for it (on lined paper – I still have the magazine). I took writing seriously when I was 18 and I started to pen this novel.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Does one ever? Don’t we all create stories in our minds on a regular basis? I can call myself an author soon though, which is pretty cool.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
It’s a tragedy with a little romance. It’s historical fiction set in London in the late 1800s. The story revolves around Alexander Vile and is retold through his Journal entries. There’s some ambiguity, so that hopefully different readers take different things from it.
What inspired you to write this book?
I read a lot of Gothic fiction and that spurred me on to conclude the novel. I mainly started out of boredom on my work lunch breaks – I didn’t know this would become such a passion for me.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I like a lot of imagery. It’s a very self-reflexive language style, declarative I’d also say. I’m trying different styles for my future novels though.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
We were studying Virginia Woolf’s ‘Mrs Dalloway‘ at University and my lecturer described Clarissa (the lead character) as having these Luminous moments, luminous thoughts – that phrase stuck with me.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I would like people to not take things at face value and question more (even if silently). Too many people will read something on a social networking site, in a newspaper or on a celebrities blog and will just accept that as fact. In general I think people should think more before they start arguments and debates too.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Some of the thoughts expressed are my own ponderings. It is entirely fictional thought. I’ve started writing a second book which features a character who is very similar to me.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
Jane Austen – she really opened my mind and made me interested in history – I was stuck in the modern world before I discovered her. Jeff Lindsay and Stieg Larrsson got me heavily into Crime Fiction – which is now my favourite genre of Television. Oscar Wilde is the main reason I wanted to write and release this book. His intellectual words were something I desired to be able to replicate. Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Raven’ fuelled my love of poetry and Jonathan Safran Foer first opened my eyes to intercultural fiction.
If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?
The two that are alive from that list – Lindsay and Safran Foer, I would love to meet them and quiz them on their novels.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
I initially approached two illustrators. The first design turned out to convey the wrong theme, it was a little dated. The second really took my instructions and made it his own. His name is Colin Strain.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I don’t think advising on the writing process is entirely essential – if you love writing, you’ll write anyway! Editing (though can be repetitive and tedious) is probably more important than the execution of the writing. In this market, I think networking is equally, if not more important than the editing and writing put together. If you want to build as a writer, network – the more varied people you talk to, who advise, review your work, the better the product you release will be.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I’m one of those annoying optimists – so – I think everyone should smile now, it’ll make you feel better.
I’m sucker for romance and metaphors. I like to leave things to the readers interpretation so an element of ambiguity features in my work. I like writing the nasty nasty characters the most.
The Luminous Memories of Alexander Vile
Cover Designer: Colin Strain