Another Writer Wednesday has crept up and pounced upon us!
Just a quick note before we get started properly. I link to a lot of other articles in my posts, so WordPress users please check your Spam folders in your Setting Menus and approve any links/pingbacks that you find from me to improve the visibility of your own blog posts, as well as mine, it’s a win win for us both 😉
The ongoing Author Interview series is just the ticket for our writing shenanigans both tonight and for that matter any day of the week.
I have had the pleasure of chatting to another very talented author, so how about a very warm welcome for Justin Hamlin and let’s get cracking finding out more about how he crafts his books.
Stay frosty friends, enjoy the interview and as always keep having fun 🙂
Hi there Justin, fantastic to have you here to discuss with us your writing and introduce us all to the intriguing worlds conjured up in your books.
Let’s start with your novels themselves – “Jezebel”, “The Samurai of Gosford Green” and “Tenacity (Castle Book 1)”. Please tell us more about their plots and genres, the motivations of the lead characters and how you came up with the concepts for each of them.
I try to do something in each of my books that hasn’t been done before. ‘Jezebel’ was about a demon – a spirit that inhabits people. In my personal view, the demon is the lest well defined mythological creature of the ‘bad bunch’ that also includes the zombie, the werewolf and the vampire – all of which have been done to death, especially in recent years. Myriads of books, films and TV series have been made about those, yet by contrast the popular image of the demon is sketchy, without even adequate answers to questions like “What is it?” or “Why does it do what it does?” Besides giving me more of a blank slate to work with, I thought the choice of a demon would make the story more entertaining, or less hackneyed at least. Likewise, I also had Jezebel (the demon) narrate, rather than making it/her a supernatural force to be heroically overcome, and even attempted to make the narrator’s voice sympathetic to some degree.
‘The Samurai of Gosford Green’ was about a Samurai warrior on a council estate. People ask me or other writers where we get our ideas from and we must sound rather foolish when the answer comes back “They just come to me.” But truly, has there ever been a male who did not, however long ago, or however fleetingly, fantasise about being a warrior walking the streets with a sword at his belt and his girl at his side, acknowledging the adulation of grateful townsfolk with a magnanimous nod? One influence was the books of Mishima, and in particular his obsession with ‘masking’ and how the concept can be applied by anybody throughout history, including the council estate lads of today.
It came as a surprise to me when ‘Tenacity‘s title was appended ‘Castle Book 1’ by Amazon. I’d like to think they were being optimistic! So far this is my one attempt at a science fiction novel, albeit more of an action thriller that happens to have science fiction elements. ‘Tenacity’ could be viewed as an answer to ‘Gattaca’, the film. That had the tagline ‘There is no gene for the human spirit’. Castle, ‘Tenacity’s hero, does indeed have a gene for the human spirit, and for better or worse he is stuck with it when the company who created him start covering their tracks by killing off their prototypes. One viewpoint I needed to express, possibly a controversial one, is that the production of genetically engineered humans is not necessarily morally wrong. As Rogan the scientist protests, does not everybody practice genetic engineering by making a conscious choice who to mate with? Rather, it’s the possibility of financial investment in custom humans that guarantees evil, for anyone who requests a human clone is, by the very fact of it, up to no good.
So there you have it – a thoroughly anti-capitalist, pinko Commie novel. But I suppose the ‘Samurai’ was a right-wing one, so at least there’s balance…
You also have a collection of Short Stories called “Dog Meat”. Please tell us more about how you decided on the title of the collection, what themes are found in these stories and how they are all linked together/what they have in common with each other?
‘Dogmeat’ has perhaps the dumbest reason a title has ever had. I collected thirty short stories, noticed that five of them featured dogs (like Kurt Vonnegut, I find dogs to be at least as interesting as people) and picked the title on that, with the added ‘food’ metaphor in ‘meat’, as in ‘low grade food for the soul.’ Actually, that sounds really pretentious, doesn’t it? They are merely thirty short stories. Apart from the twist in each one (the twist is very important in short stories) the only unifying factor I consciously wanted was that they be readable and entertaining. While the stories are linked together as you say, with some characters appearing in several stories, that was the result of a late-stage editing manoeuvre in order to avoid reader confusion. If each story had had its own cast list, you’d end up with about 300 characters, which would be way too much. Even ‘Mansfield Park’, a famously over-populated novel, has only fifty! So, people get combined, and sometimes pruned.
If any of your novels were to be made into films (or even a TV series), who would you cast in the lead roles?
It would have to be a talented unknown. Jezebel would of course be a special effect. Her host Jenny is only fifteen. You’d have to have a young-looking 18-or-19 year old, because of the explicit scenes she gets caught up in… Joe Yamagata, the Samurai, is a six-footer with Oriental features. There can’t be many of those around. Castle from ‘Tenacity’ is a former professional midfielder from a nameless city that is heavily implied to be Liverpool, so Steve McManaman would be the obvious choice. And probably not a very good one. After all, the man certainly has many talents, but is acting one of them…?
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you find the easiest?
Starting is the most difficult thing. Likewise starting again after a time without it. Easiest? Just making up scenes and resolving plot points in everyday life – during quiet moments, like in bed at night or just walking to and from work.
Who are some of the authors and historical figures that inspire you?
I’ve mentioned three authors already. Stieg Larsson was another. Iain Banks I have a special respect for because he wrote whatever he damn well wanted and it’s still good. Outside of writing there are Frank Serpico and Nipper Read, two cops, and you know who my heroes were when I was a small boy? David Attenborough and Magdi Yacub (the surgeon!) Though I admit I never attempted to follow them in any way.
What sort of research do you do to write your books?
Doing research for ‘Tenacity’ was difficult as doctors and other medical personnel were probably exasperated by my idiot questions, but as far as I’m aware everything described in the book is at least theoretically possible with modern technology. I did actually do a fair amount of research for ‘The Samurai of Gosford Green’, though I’ll admit there is much which is inaccurate and happily handwaved away with the excuse that since every Samurai clan was different, it doesn’t matter all that much if I got something wrong.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
I couldn’t paint.
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writers Block?
The pressure to write the next one keeps me going on the current one.
You have access to a time machine. What advice would you give to your younger self?
“Don’t follow [NAME REDACTED] around, she’s not into you.” Apart from that, he’s probably going to do all the other stupid things even if it was me (him) telling him not to. So I’d just cross my fingers and hope that my disruption of the space-time continuum doesn’t lead to him getting caught this time.
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
A quick checkup on what’s been going down on the internet can extend into hours. Damn.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
I am currently working on one set in a fictional African country, ‘Zevonia’ (named after Warren Zevon, the musician). Fire, war, blood, slavery and revenge, all the usual cheerful things. This one has a modular design – it breaks down from one novel into three novellae and twenty-one short stories. Each one has its own narrator, and none of the narrators are reliable. I may have bitten off more than I can chew with that one…
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring writers?
PLAN. Plan like a son-of-a-bitch. Some writers will tell you they make it up as they go along. Those writers are the same writers that never get one finished. I can’t stress this highly enough – PLAN every character and every twist before you do your first word. You can embellish later on.
And that’s a wrap! Thank you for spending time with us, your books certainly are an electric and interesting bunch, it is going to be a blast checking them all out 🙂
Justin Hamlin was born in 1971. He has lived in the Tunbridge Wells area of the United Kingdom since the age of seven months and has been writing since his early teens. His work is published as ‘urban fantasy’ but also incorporates elements of crime thriller and horror.
Writing not being a reliable source of income, he works in private security. He has also been employed variously as an HMRC clerk, barman, model, supermarket cashier, rat breeder, warehouseman, bouncer, despatch rider and pantomime horse. In his spare time he enjoys photography and hill-walking, although writing is his true passion.
He is unmarried and is overjoyed to have no children.
You can connect with him via the following Social Media channels:-
LinkedIn:- Justin Hamlin (LinkedIn)
You can buy his books here:-
If you too would like to be interviewed on my blog at TooFullToWrite and you have a book or a series of books that you would like us to chat about then fill out the Contact Me form here with your details and we can arrange a future interview slot.
Still want more? Well, as Justin mentions in his interview above, as writers we really endeavour to inhabit the characters that we put on the page to create an emotionally rewarding reading experience. For more articles on the theme of ‘Inhabit’ then click on the links below:-
1. Inhabit – take a walk
2. A Life Retired Blog – Enamored with words
3. Rubber Slippers In Italy – Will we never ever get enough of these two?
4. Inhabit – Sugunag’s Blog
5. Inhabit – Sharing God’s Story
6. “Travel reflections in a Cody Wy Walmart lot.” – Expedition Overlanding Nomadic Adventures
7. Turning the Corner – The Chicken Grandma
8. Buzz Light Year – The Jittery Goat
9. Exploring the World around us – Clouds and soul
10. Mainline_Matter – Giant Spiders Inhabit Ottawa
11. Faeries: The long winter – Afterwards
12. B*_ live – Deepest Inside
13. Tiny Fawns – knock, knock heart
14. SPEAK YOUR HEART – Rainbow
15. Mood – a moment teller’s
16. YOU – memorite
17. #hashtags – Haiku-a-Day #015
18. Flower Clocks – Every Day the Protagonist Wants to Capture Me
19. The Holly Tree Tales – Sunday Morning Mindfulness
20. Inhabit – huntprayerpoems
21. Inhabit – Aweni
22. Swell Time – Graduating and moving on to college
23. Phenomenal Being – Debbie Gravett
24. Samantha Linda – the good life (3)
25. Home Among the Shadows (poem) – stephentotheplate
26. Save the Dignified Inhabitants – Revolving Around Life
27. sonja benskin mesher – ..dunster..
28. The Glad Game… – Mum’s the Word Blog
29. Every Day Irritations – First World Problems in My Home – Average is Underrated
30. Vinylanimation – speaking up for myself
31. Spirit of Excellence – Zeckrombryan
32. littlegirlstory – Truly Amazing Body Art
33. Passengers’ Choices – justaplatypus
34. WRITE ON SITE – Key to Happiness
35. V. E. Bolton – Which new world to inhabit?
36. The most amazing mansion – Run and Travel
37. Human homes – wordvender
38. A Diary of A Single Man: Midnight Text – Harlem Cafe
39. Detox (The Mind) – Grateful
40. WRITE ON SITE – What Ever You Inhabit
41. WRITE ON SITE – Bruce “The King” Lee
42. WRITE ON SITE – Kennedy Nailed It
43. Do You Over-Worry? #MPBooks – My Peacock Books
44. Momentum of Jo – Big Storms, Big Kids & Big Anxiety
45. Home Away From Home – thedriftingsatellite
46. The Shower of Blessings – Inhabit Your Moments
47. A thought from an inhabitant – Revolving Around Life
48. Tender Devils – Life After Fifty
49. Inhabiting My Own Life – Explorera
50. WRITE ON SITE – Habits Make Life
51. Keepsake – Leigha Robbins
52. Rabbit Politics 101 – Write Away
53. Back Again – andsoitisborn
54. You are welcome – On a mission
55. Palace Views – Call Me Incorrigible
56. Locked In The Darkness – How I Learned to Dance in The Rain
57. Where I Grew Up Is Hidden Away Part 10 – Musing I Can
58. Buried Music – Self Reflection Healing
59. The Hockey Mom Fit Life – Exploring Undredal
60. Inhabit – A “Teacups and Roses” World.
61. Daily Habit – Monkebus
62. Just A Little Side Note – LiveFree & LoveOnPurpose
63. Fluffy Pool – Devotion
64. y – after some time, a
65. Trying To Inhabit My Old Self. – kindergartenknowledge.com
66. First blog post – Angels of Light
67. Inhabit – bob
68. Inhabit – Welcome to the World of Wellness
69. A Land of No People – a nomad in cyberspace
70. Poisoned – Compass & Quill
71. Success Inspirers World – Co-inhabiting planet earth
72. ~236 Of 365~ – ……….365 Days………..
73. My Hypomanic Sprint Inside My Bipolar Brain – My Loud Bipolar Whispers
74. Self Injury is a Very Dangerous and Addictive Behavior (Daily Word Prompt is Synchronize) – My Loud Bipolar Whispers
75. The Normalcy of Medicine – High Soaring Woman
76. Success Inspirers World – Prudence
77. Ladies who Lunch dine like Queens in Saigon – Vivi Foodie Diva
78. Inhabit – Snapshots of Life
79. GOD’S CHAIR – God Inhabits Praises
80. The garden of your mind :Inhabit – Tachispeaks
81. Ouch!! My back hurts!! – Inhabit – My Lace Palace!
82. Joy Peace Harmony – The spaces we inhabit are extensions of us
83. Sand … Stars – the lives words live
84. A World I Once Knew – Flores Adoption Adventures
85. 16 Days to 30th Birthday – New Home After Marriage – passiondesignerblog
86. Making it write – A Flaw in the Design
87. Inhabit My Mind – Thoughts To Words
88. 83 Unsung Heroes – Pandas v Cyclists : Survival
89. Red’s Wrap – Flutter
90. Musings of a Menopausal Maven – What Thoughts Inhabit You?
91. Nothing Compares… – Success Strategies
92. Walk with God – I’m All Nun In!
93. hopeforheather – Inhabit
94. A Little Aide – Just me and us blog
95. Curious Hart – Rhino Between the Lines
96. Small Packages of Joy – Filbert & Smudge
97. The Home of a Hawaiian King in 1845 – Adventures of a Busy Mom
98. Life On The Skinny Branches – Inhabitant
99. Following Him Beside Still Waters – I’m Tickled Pink
100. Is HELL a Real Place – Musing I Can
101. An Unexpected Gift – Divine Contemplations
102. Charmed Chaos – Dwell
103. A Texan’s View of Upstate New York – A Little Absent Lately…
104. Sorry I’m Not Home Right Now- I’m Walking Into Spider Webs.. – They Once Called Her Pumpkin…
105. My Own Little Wars – Inhabit
106. KO Rural Mad As Hell Blog – in habitat
107. Inhabit – Redhead’s World
108. Temple – BONSALLES ART
109. Photos & Video: Child inhabitants, victims of another airstrike in Yemen. – America For Yemen
110. Inhabit – The Inkwell
111. Restored Accent Table – The Mosaic Dragonfly
112. Notes to Women – Young and Divorced
113. Prayerfully Preparing for a Hurricane
114. What Is Love and Life? – Inhabit and Love Your Journey
115. Inhabiting the body of a writer – The Art of Retiring
116. Love Notes – High Soaring Woman
117. Sorry, couldn’t resist – CD-W, Author Flawed to Perfection
118. Giggles & Tales – Gripped By Intense Fear…
119. Meditation – OneAndNone
120. Heaven’s Sunshine – Edward I of England
121. Beasts of Kaas – Don’t hold your breath
122. Inhabit – The Apples in My Orchard
123. The Examined Life – Gratitude
124. Write on _______. – Nomadic Inhabitant
125. Inhabit my soul – In2Lauren
126. Inhabit – A Sawyer’s Daughter
127. Piper’s Adventures – Coastal Bird Observing a Hurricane
128. Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored – What’s The Squirrel Say?
129. A Mixed Multitude – The Place She Inhabits
130. Inhabit – Covert Novelist
131. For Much Deliberation – Thinking ~144…
132. Skin – High Soaring Woman
133. Love Grows – Where Lies the Heart
134. bethlovesblue.com – Life with Ernie
135. Inhabit – All About Writing and more
136. Inhabitants Of Paradise – Islamic Methodologies Made Easy
137. Nan’s Farm-Inside Out – The inhabitants of the car behind
138. Inhabitants of earth – My little storybook
139. Interview with Artist Christina Angelina (aka Starfighter) – Wells Baum
140. Na’ama Yehuda – Be At home
141. United We Stand – LiveFree & LoveOnPurpose
142. The Wonder of Yarrow House – Inhibiting Thoughts
143. Musings of a Random Mind – Whodunit Mystery Solved
144. Roaring Silence… – stoneronarollercoaster
145. mylocalweb – Inhabit my soul
146. Today’s Forgiving Fridays: You Are Beautiful – ForgivingConnects
147. Inhabit Peace – Running Right in the Left Lane
148. A Love Story? – Chapter Twenty Nine – Sketches By Nitesh
149. Inhabit – The Bag Lady
150. Finding my core – Minxin’ It Up
151. An Inch of Muse – 25more
152. 2017: The Good Days – My Wandering Heart
153. Giggles & Tales – The Daily Prompt – Inhabit.
154. Rhyme of Rhyme – Thoughts of Words
155. Live life; make meaning. – Polish
156. SERENDIPITY – COMPANY! HE’S HERE!
157. Lovely Curses – Your Love Inhabits
158. A Life Retired Blog – to inhabit
159. The Proposal – This, That, and The Other
160. Inhabit – Writington
161. The Secret Inhabitant – Words with Walsh
162. Don’t sweat the small dust – Karyn’s Domain
163. juantetcts – Daily Post
164. What Makes You Beautiful – December Rose
165. Changed – Kuma House
166. A Blissful Reminder – Blissfully Bianca
167. Life among the Leaves – Dutch goes the Photo!
168. Being a foreigner – Bird Flight
169. oh, the times they are a changing…or are they? Racism in America ⋆ Obsolete Childhood
170. Light Words – Daily Post Cohabiting With A Sunbathing Sunflower
171. Telling the Truth – An aching void
172. Planning Ahead – I’m a Writer, Yes, I Am!
173. It starts with me – Anxiety of the Unknown
174. Free Verse: All His Black and White – Urban Poetry By Linda J. Wolff
175. Daily Haiku / Senryu : Inhabit – Restructuring Life
176. Last Word on Dragons – A Unique Title For Me
177. life is great despite its troubles – inhabit
178. life is great despite its troubles – The beggars
179. The Cat Chronicles – Feline Inhabiting
180. Could I, should I, why not, no please stop this Lord make it go! – cries from an unkempt garden
181. Flowers and Breezes – Inhabit
182. Weekend in New York – I Am Writing
183. What Has Gotten Into You? – As I was saying…
184. thelonerose – Being Me
185. Inhabit – Project21Words
186. Embracing the now unlocks the richness of life. – Piqued
187. Science Traveler – Chasing Thor Heyerdahl and the Kon-Tiki Raft
188. Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss – Inhabit my world
189. Forgot the title…Doh! – Zombie Flamingos
190. Anna Louise Creative – Inhabit Your Life
191. Dronstad – Gargan’s tent
192. Narcissism – Oh, border!
193. Inhabiting the Paradise – Newton Style
194. the15thday – extremely very!
195. Never Again – Smell The Coffee
196. On the corner in the place I inhabit – findingenvirons
197. Why Mothers Hold On – Unlearning
198. The World Outside the Window – The Rabbits of Newton North
199. lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown – The Divine Right of Kings
200. Deep In The Willowwacks – By Sarah
201. Ancient Bloggers – Wind Kisses
202. Relax – “Legion”
203. Inhabit The Mind – damswriter
204. A Bad Case of the “Uns” – Stew Rd.
205. Science Traveler – Barbuda – The Flat Land of Frigates
206. The Places We Live – Percolating Poetry
207. Mindfulness, Day 1, Goals – Why Weight
208. Small, silent cemetery – poor haiku
209. Scrambled, Not Fried – Beside His Daughter’s Grave
210. Old Recollections – emotionsoflife2016
211. THE ICONOPHILE – Words, Music, Memories
212. Now for something completely different – fibijeeves
213. Poem: your heart and its flame. – Words Not Yet Published
214. Zombie – This Girl’s Got Curves
215. World’s smallest densely inhabited island reached by Rome’s oldest original bridge (honeymoon) – Bird Flight
216. Inhabit the NOW – aroused
217. Common Pursuit – We
218. In the Library – Redux Of Rex
219. emmapalova – Lake Michigan circle tour, part 1
220. Frank Prem – The way in which Barbara can be likened to a particular kind of goat.
221. Designer Sophisticate – Tricky, this one.
222. Scottish Legend’s Blog – You made me
223. The Wandering Poet – A place I enjoyed staying at
224. Strange Places: St. John – Everyday Strange
225. Covered in chalk and gunshot residue. – Individual expressions of a naive mind.
226. Frank Prem – from inside the outhouse
227. Frank Prem – lagoon #13