Coffee with Architects of Worlds Afar welcomes Tony Leslie Duxbury–author of The Adventures of JoJo Smith.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in the north-western suburbs of London, England, but now I live in a small town called Ciudad Vieja in Guatemala, Central America. I’m retired and don’t have any hobbies at the moment apart from reading and writing. I studied Social Science and have a degree in Sociology. Can’t think of any ‘fun facts’ at the moment.
2. When did you start writing?
I started writing back in 1992.
3. Why did you start writing?
For a long time I wanted to do something creative, but couldn’t figure out what. When I was in Further and then Higher Education I found people who encouraged me to try writing.
4. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your novel?
I can’t remember exactly when, sometime in 1990. When starting the book I only had a vague idea of what I wanted to put into it, but I was quite happy with the result.
5. Tell us a little bit about your book’s title.
The title of the book : The Adventures of Jojo Smith, came about because I wanted to write something that wasn’t too serious. My first book was really an experiment to see what I could do. I don’t take myself too seriously and I didn’t take the writing of the book too seriously either. It is a boy’s style adventure story, but for adults and I chose the title to reflect that style of book.
6. Does your story have a moral?
The book has no moral content, it’s just an amusing story.
7. Of the characters you’ve created, which one is your favorite?
My main character, Jojo is my favourite. He is an ordinary, down to earth young bloke who doesn’t believe in fantasy worlds, time travel or magic. He hasn’t any special talents or super powers. Unfortunately, he is involuntarily thrust into extraordinary circumstances and it was fun to watch him deal with his situation and figure a way out of it.
8. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
There’s no special time or place that I like to write. I just write when I’m in the mood. Peace and quiet would be nice, but with my wife around, that’s hard to come by. I never set goals or word counts.
9. How do you feel about outlines? Are you for or against them?
Outlines may help other people, but I’ve never used them. That’s a bit too organized for me. I just write and see what happens.
10. What is your favorite book genre?
Sword & Sorcery fantasy is what I like to read and write.
11. What are you currently reading?
I have just got The Shadow of a King by C.M.Gray
12. What is your favorite book?
The all-time favourite for me is The Lord of the Rings. Although I have read some wonderful stuff by contemporary authors, Tolkein still tops the list.
13. Any project in the works?
At the moment I’m having a burst of creativity and I’m working on four books at once. Each is in a different stage of development.
14. How long does it usually take you to write a book?
I’ve never bothered to think about it.
15. In your opinion, what makes a story ‘good’?
A good story is always about the characters, whether one or many. The writer has to engage the reader so he or she can see through the characters eyes.
16. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
If it makes you feel good, just keep on doing it. Whether you get the result you want or not, just seeing your ideas written down will give you great satisfaction. Everything can be revised, polished or deleted.
And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Dogs or cats?
Dogs: cats are so arrogant
2. Being able to travel to the past or being able to travel to the future?
Past: the rate things are going the future looks bleak.
3. Making a phone call or sending a text?
Phone call : I’m not too good at spelling.
4. Working in a group or working alone?
Alone: I have an independent streak
5. Losing all of your money or losing every picture you’ve ever taken and every picture that has ever been taken of you?
Losing every picture taken of me: Most are bloody awful anyway!
6. To find true love or to win the lottery?
I’ve already found true love: it has to be the lottery, she’s costing me a fortune!
7. Being Spiderman for a day or being Batman for a day?
Batman: like his toys
8. Reading or writing?
Reading: writing means more thinking, which hurts.
9. Bungee jumping or going on the slingshot ride?
Bungee: I think?
10. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
Mankind: I like to know when I’m being insulted
11. Being drawn into a tornado or being drawn into a whirlpool?
Tornado: I don’t like cold water
12. Going without internet access for a week or going without watching any movies/television shows for a week?
Definitely going without TV/ movies
13. To never speak again or to never eat solid food again?
Never to speak again: I don’t have much to say anyway