close

The Qwillery | category: The Forty First Wink

home

The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

qwillery.blogspot.com

Guest Blog by James Walley


Please welcome James Walley to The Qwillery. The Fathom Flies Again, Wink 2, is out now from Ragnarok Publications.



Guest Blog by James Walley




At the weekend, I threw caution to the wind and booked a vacation for later on in the year. The world is a sombre and fragile place at the moment, so I figured that could be tempered by the prospect of incoming shenanigans in the not-too-distant. My destination? Well, that much was set in stone from the moment I stepped off the plane back in Blighty last September, after a week in Orlando. Some more of that, please.

Spending a magical seven days with my other half, scampering around Universal Studios like excited children is something that left an indelible stamp on me. Some people love sun holidays, sand holidays, sangria holidays. Truth be told, I am fairly partial to all of the above, but what I got under the baking Florida sun this September past eclipsed all of that. Fun, and ultimate escapism. As a writer, I spend most of my time creating places to escape to, unlikely, larger than life vistas in which to lose myself even as I build them. This, however, was an opportunity to play in someone else’s sandbox, and they had left all of their toys out for me.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, the two theme parks hold everything from superheroes to wizards, giant robots to dinosaurs, and all so immersive that you catch yourself grinning every other minute, as something else that until now only resided in your mind, in a book, or a silver screen walks up and gives you a high five (No mean feat for a T-Rex). This was what I strive to achieve with the words I put into sentences, something so immersive and joyous, that people would want to explore these realms too, if only in their minds. Obviously this wouldn’t work in some genres, or so I thought until the sun went down.

You see, we chose to visit Universal in September, because that is when the nasties come out to play, after the kiddies have been ushered off home, and the attractions are much more likely to eat you. Halloween Horror Nights, they call it, and it put me in my place with regard to exactly how far escapism can take you.

Sure, I’ve harboured secret fantasies about loading up my boomstick and striding out into the zombie apocalypse to have some good old fashioned hijinks with the undead, who hasn’t? What lay in wait for us as we crept back around a transformed amusement park however, was so much more. Exorcists, serial killers, boogeymen, ghosts, banshees and demonic gingerbread men (Yes, that’s a thing) were around every corner, waiting to scare the snot out of anyone who had been brave enough to stick around.

And it was flipping incredible.

Again, meticulously created and flawlessly executed - We were actually there, being chased, lunged at, generally ooga-booga’d to ‘shriek like a pre-schooler’ levels. I don’t think anyone heard me though.

I don’t know why I was so surprised, having grown up on a diet of horror fiction and being utterly exhilarated by it. People love to be scared, as much as they love to be wonder struck or delighted, even if it is in an environment where you know you’re not really going to be possessed, gutted or otherwise horribly dispatched.

I put a little more of a creepy element into The Fathom Flies Again for that very reason. Even if it does stand beside silliness and folly, it serves as a reminder that we love to be given a poke in the feels, whether they’re comfortable or not so comfortable.

Last September, I’d never felt so connected to the things that I had until then only imagined, and it gave me motivation to go deeper down the rabbit hole, paint on a bigger canvas, and yes, use some darker colours where needed. Perhaps that will have a knock on effect in the, as yet untitled third instalment of the Wink trilogy, which I am working on at the moment. Maybe a second trip this coming September will serve to further stoke the creative fires.

At least then I can pass off charging around like a squealing kid on a sugar high as “Research”.





The Fathom Flies Again
Wink 2
Ragnarok Publications, February 1, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 286 pages

Guest Blog by James Walley
It's time to wake up and smell the carnage. Just as every night gives way to dawn, all dreams yield to the break of day. For Marty, that's kind of a problem. When you've fought killer clowns, sailed the seven skies, and generally laid waste to your own dreamspace, real life can be kind of a drag. At least, until your nightmares crawl through the cracks and shadows, and take a liking to your town.

When the jesters come a knocking, it's time to man up. When the unmentionables under your bed come a biting, it's time to grab your trusty, pint-sized pirate compadre and lead a charge against the night terrors.

What does this mean for Marty? It means the crew of The Flying Fathom are back, surfing on rainbows, swashing their buckles, and saving the world, one sleepy little town at a time.

Book one of this series, The Forty First Wink brought you a glimpse of utter, rum-swilling madness. Now& The Fathom Flies Again, pushing you over the edge and chuckling at your plummeting screams, before scuttling off to find something shiny to steal.

Remember, if you hear something under your bed, don't move. Don't make a sound. Draw your cutlass and think of something devilishly witty to shout, because things, my friend, are about to get all too real.




Previously

The Forty First Wink
Wink 1
Ragnarok Publications, June 16, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 214 pages

Guest Blog by James Walley
Marty is having a bad morning. Roused from slumber by a gang of polo mallet-wielding monkeys and a mysterious voice in his wardrobe, he must quickly come to terms with the fact that the world outside his door is now the world inside his head. Lying in wait amidst bleak, gloomy streets, deserted theme parks, and circus-themed nightclubs, lurks the oppressive shadow of a myriad of giggling, cackling pursuers, hell bent on throwing a custard pie or two into the works.

Assisted by a string of half-cocked schemes, a troupe of tiny unlikely allies, and (literally) the girl of his dreams, Marty sets out on a heroic quest to wake up and get out of bed.

Early reviews have compared it to Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. Equal parts epic, funny and dark, The Forty First Wink plummets headlong into the realms of askew reality, adding elements of the macabre, and squeezing in an unlikely love story for good measure. It will take you on a journey where not even the sky is the limit, and literally anything could be around the next corner. The question is, do you have the guts (and the sanity) to find out?





About James

Guest Blog by James Walley
Hailing from the mystical isle of Great Britain, James Walley is an author who prefers his reality banana shaped.

His debut novel, The Forty First Wink, released through Ragnarok Publications in 2014 scuttles gleefully into this bracket, with a blend of humour, fantasy and the unusual.

A clutch of follow up work, both short and long (including books two and three in the Wink trilogy) are in the offing, and have a similar demented flavour.

When not writing, James is partial to a spot of singing, the odd horror movie or ten, and is a circus trained juggler.

Facebook  ~  Twitter @JamesWalley74  ~ Goodreads

Ragnarok Holiday Grand Tour - Guest Blog by James Walley - December 19, 2014


Please welcome James Walley to The Qwillery as part of the Ragnarok Holiday Grand Tour. The Forty First Wink was published on June 16th by Ragnarok Publications.



Ragnarok Holiday Grand Tour - Guest Blog by James Walley - December 19, 2014




Cutting a long story short.

It seems to be a point of significant discussion amongst authors, that novels and short stories are two very different animals, holding vastly different page turning appeal, and never the twain shall meet. There is of course the obvious difference between your average twelve pager, and the longer haul of a couple of hundred, but the quick fixes seem to often play second fiddle to their weightier brethren.

I can sort of see why, having dabbled in the world of short storytelling off the back of the release of my debut novel, The Forty First Wink. Whilst Wink is by no means a marathon read, it has time to grow into its story and characters. There's much more opportunity to magnify the hero's huzzah-ness, and the villain's naughtiness, whilst also providing a bigger canvas to paint your world upon.

This is what I found most challenging about spinning a yarn with a word limit, although I firmly believe that you can still put a lot into, and get a lot out of a shorter tale. Think of it as a story told around a campfire, it has to be concise enough to hold thrall over the wide eyed faces staring back, but not rattle on until the sun comes up. In a lot of ways, I think that's more exciting, since you have to hit the ground running, and trust in the reader's imagination to be the firework that you've just lit.

With The Forty First Wink, I spent a lot of time building each character. You find out more about them as the story progresses, and as they themselves change. With my short stories, Santa Claus Wants You Dead and Bad Little Boys Go To Hell, the reader is almost a third party observer of their interactions. It's a case of actually getting to know someone versus watching what demented things a bunch intriguing passing acquaintances get up to.

The same principle applies with the setting. In a novel, you can gradually discover the world within the pages, at the same time as, and with the same confusion/fear/awe as the main characters. With shorter stories, the onus is on the reader to accept that there's stuff going down, and run with it. 'OK, we're in Lapland with a bunch of drunk elves, and Santa's off on a murder spree.' Y'know, just for example.

There are positives to be taken from each journey. You're on a long haul road trip with a gang of rum swilling toy pirates, checking out the theme parks and pogo-ing clown cars along the way, or you're drag racing up a two mile stretch of road, with a demonic Father Christmas as your co-pilot, and a huge ramp at the end that you should probably not try at home, kids.

I had a huge amount of fun writing The Forty First Wink, because I almost felt like part of the crew by the end, laughing in the face of shenanigans, and pitching ice cream out of speeding vans at clowns. I also had a lot of fun writing short stories, in a sort of 'Yep, this is happening, and it's happening right now' sort of way. I certainly feel that the latter of the two is just as pertinent, even if you don't get to stay for lunch.

Of course, novels do look a lot nicer on your bookshelf, but that's a discussion for another time.





The Forty First Wink
Ragnarok Publications, June 16, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 214 pages

Ragnarok Holiday Grand Tour - Guest Blog by James Walley - December 19, 2014
Marty is having a bad morning. Roused from slumber by a gang of polo mallet-wielding monkeys and a mysterious voice in his wardrobe, he must quickly come to terms with the fact that the world outside his door is now the world inside his head. Lying in wait amidst bleak, gloomy streets, deserted theme parks, and circus-themed nightclubs, lurks the oppressive shadow of a myriad of giggling, cackling pursuers, hell bent on throwing a custard pie or two into the works.

Assisted by a string of half-cocked schemes, a troupe of tiny unlikely allies, and (literally) the girl of his dreams, Marty sets out on a heroic quest to wake up and get out of bed.

Early reviews have compared it to Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. Equal parts epic, funny and dark, The Forty First Wink plummets headlong into the realms of askew reality, adding elements of the macabre, and squeezing in an unlikely love story for good measure. It will take you on a journey where not even the sky is the limit, and literally anything could be around the next corner. The question is, do you have the guts (and the sanity) to find out?





About James

Ragnarok Holiday Grand Tour - Guest Blog by James Walley - December 19, 2014
Arriving in the rainy isle of Great Britain in the late '70s, James quickly became an enthusiast of all things askew. Whilst growing up in a quaint little one horse town that was one horse short, a steady diet of movies, '50s sci fi and fantasy fiction finally convinced him to up sticks and move to Narnia — also known to the layman as Wales. Since there was no available qualification in talking lion taming or ice sculpture, he settled for a much more humdrum degree in something vague but practical, and set out to find a talking lion to make an ice sculpture of.

Mystifyingly finding himself behind the desk of a nine to five job, he kept himself sane by singing in a rock band, memorizing every John Carpenter movie ever made, and learning the ancient art of voodoo. Finally deciding to put his hyperactive imagination to good use, he ditched the voodoo and picked up a pen. A few months later, his debut novel, The Forty First Wink, was born. With a clutch of short stories in the offing, James is now loving his new life as an author, and still sings when plied with alcohol or compliments.

He also recently developed a penchant for fiercely embellishing his past. He really was a singer, although The Forty First Wink may not have brought about world peace. Yet.

Facebook  ~  Twitter @JamesWalley74  ~ Goodreads


2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2014 Winner


The winner of the June 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars is The Forty First Wink by James Walley with 80% of the votes! The Forty First Wink was published by Ragnarok Publications.



2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2014 Winner





The Final Results

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2014 Winner





The June 2014 Debut Covers

2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2014 Winner





Thank you to everyone who voted, Tweeted, and participated. The 2014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will continue with voting on the July Debut covers starting on July 15, 2014. Look for the list of July's Debuts on July 1st.


Interview with James Walley, author of The Forty First Wink - June 20, 2014


Please welcome James Walley to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Forty First Wink was published by Ragnarok Publications on June 16th.



Interview with James Walley, author of The Forty First Wink - June 20, 2014




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing fiction?

James:  Thank you for having me. I've always wanted to write, 18 months ago I got to a point where I told myself to stop procrastinating and take the plunge. Since then, I can't stop, it's addictive.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

James:  Whilst I consider myself to be very much a pantser, I don't think that the two are mutually exclusive. I love the freedom to let the story play out like a movie in my head, but also like to have a few waypoints marked out in the plot. It's like planning a trip, and highlighting a bunch of places you want to visit along the way, then just getting in your car, closing your eyes and putting your foot down. It's probably not a good idea to literally do that though.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

James:  Keeping my preference for certain characters in check. I outright love some of the characters in 'Wink', and it's hard not to focus too much on them. I want to give all my characters an equal amount of limelight, but it's difficult sometimes when you just want to write pages and pages about a crazy, fun character that you've just dreamed up.



TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

James:  I am a huge Douglas Adams fan, anything Hitchhiker related that he wrote has had the print read off it and sits proudly on my bookshelves. In terms of genre, I enjoy how authors like Terry Pratchett and Robert Rankin take fantasy, make it even more fantastic, and put a comedic spin upon it. Basically, how fantasy would sound if it were narrated by a demented, talking ostrich.



TQ:  Describe The Forty First Wink in 140 characters or less.

James:  Epic tale of boy dreams world. Pursued by his nightmares and aided by cheeky, pint sized pirates. And that's only scratching the surface!



TQ:  Tell us something about The Forty First Wink that is not in the book description.

James:  I love it when a chapter ends on a good cliffhanger, so prepare yourself to think "Just one more chapter" a few times. At least I hope that's what you'll be thinking!



TQThe Forty First Wink seems to be a genre blending novel. How would you describe the genres in your novel?

James:  It's a bit of a melting pot. It's based heavily in fantasy of course, but has a lot of humour too. There are dark, almost horror flavours, as well as a nod to nostalgia, and childhood innocence. There's even a quirky love story thrown in. If you're going to genre blend, why not use everything in the cupboard?



TQ:  What sorts of research did you do for The Forty First Wink?

James:  I napped a lot, which seemed to help with the dream stuff. Other than that, I researched a lot of nautical, and specifically pirate terminology. Also, there is a mystery character who's dialogue required that I read up on a lot of very specific, and very random information. That sounds very cryptic, and that's exactly what I was going for with the character.



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

James:  Timbers and Oaf were the easiest to write, simply because there were a joy to create. They embody a carefree and mischievous innocence that most of us lose when we are saddled with adulthood. I could go on and on about them both, simply because they are so much fun.

The hardest was probably Mr Peepers, the main antagonist. I wanted to ensure that he was steeped in mystery, whilst also conveying a malevolence and very real fear factor. That was a bit of a juggling act, but I think that he comes across as suitably creepy.



TQ:  Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from The Forty First Wink.

James:
"The demonic clown was suddenly upon them, close enough to shock Marty into losing his grip on the ladder, retaining some purchase with one hand. Wheeling around, he was now face to face with Mr Peepers, who craned closer, his grin now impossibly wide and his eyes even wider. Marty winced as he caught a face full of hot clown breath.
It smelled like candyfloss, he thought. Candyfloss and terror."

"The short corridor which led to the gift shop now felt impossibly long, and seemed to stretch out still further as they charged headlong away from their pursuers. Surprisingly keeping pace with his much taller companions, Timbers drew alongside Marty. "Hey!" the little pirate chirped, in a voice that carried a flippant tone that in no way fit their current fraught situation. "Wouldn't it be awful if one of us fell over now, like you see in movies?" Marty's already whirling mind started a new spin cycle, and he just barely managed an incredulous double take at the tiny scuttling buccaneer before the distraction nearly caused him to fall over, like you see in movies."


TQ:  What's next?

James:  Hopefully a lot. I have a short story entitled "Santa Claus Wants You Dead" coming out in an anthology from Fireside Press later in the year, and I am currently working on a sci fi, post apocalyptic novella called "The Late Outdoors". Both are very much in the same crazy, fun vein as 'Wink'. Of course, I am also raring to go on the second 'Wink' novel, which is already partly storyboarded, and will be part of an eventual trilogy.



TQ:  Is a nod as good as a wink to a blind bat?

James:  Only if it goes with a nudge, nudge. Know what I mean?



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

James:  You're most welcome, it's been fun!





James Walley

The Forty First Wink
Ragnarok Publications, June 16, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 214 pages

Interview with James Walley, author of The Forty First Wink - June 20, 2014
Marty is having a bad morning. Roused from slumber by a gang of polo mallet-wielding monkeys and a mysterious voice in his wardrobe, he must quickly come to terms with the fact that the world outside his door is now the world inside his head. Lying in wait amidst bleak, gloomy streets, deserted theme parks, and circus-themed nightclubs, lurks the oppressive shadow of a myriad of giggling, cackling pursuers, hell bent on throwing a custard pie or two into the works.

Assisted by a string of half-cocked schemes, a troupe of tiny unlikely allies, and (literally) the girl of his dreams, Marty sets out on a heroic quest to wake up and get out of bed.

Early reviews have compared it to Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. Equal parts epic, funny and dark, The Forty First Wink plummets headlong into the realms of askew reality, adding elements of the macabre, and squeezing in an unlikely love story for good measure. It will take you on a journey where not even the sky is the limit, and literally anything could be around the next corner. The question is, do you have the guts (and the sanity) to find out?





About James

Interview with James Walley, author of The Forty First Wink - June 20, 2014
Arriving in the rainy isle of Great Britain in the late '70s, James quickly became an enthusiast of all things askew. Whilst growing up in a quaint little one horse town that was one horse short, a steady diet of movies, '50s sci fi and fantasy fiction finally convinced him to up sticks and move to Narnia — also known to the layman as Wales. Since there was no available qualification in talking lion taming or ice sculpture, he settled for a much more humdrum degree in something vague but practical, and set out to find a talking lion to make an ice sculpture of.

Mystifyingly finding himself behind the desk of a nine to five job, he kept himself sane by singing in a rock band, memorizing every John Carpenter movie ever made, and learning the ancient art of voodoo. Finally deciding to put his hyperactive imagination to good use, he ditched the voodoo and picked up a pen. A few months later, his debut novel, The Forty First Wink, was born. With a clutch of short stories in the offing, James is now loving his new life as an author, and still sings when plied with alcohol or compliments.

He also recently developed a penchant for fiercely embellishing his past. He really was a singer, although The Forty First Wink may not have brought about world peace. Yet.

Facebook  ~  Twitter @JamesWalley74  ~ Goodreads


Guest Blog by James WalleyRagnarok Holiday Grand Tour - Guest Blog by James Walley - December 19, 20142014 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - June 2014 WinnerInterview with James Walley, author of The Forty First Wink - June 20, 2014

Report "The Qwillery"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?

Cancel
×