Ask the Author: Lex H. Jones
What would you like readers to know about you?
My name is Lex H Jones, I’m a dark fiction author from the North of England. I currently have two novels published along with over a dozen short horror stories featured in anthologies. I have at least one more novel being released at the end of this year, and possibly a collection of my short stories as well. My latest release is my noir crime novel “The Other Side of the Mirror”, for which I’ll be doing some bookstore signings this year.
What is The Other Side of the Mirror about for those who haven’t read it?
The book is a noir crime novel that follows a detective named Carl Duggan, who finds the body of a young woman washed up on the banks of a river named the Styx. As the case unfolds, it transpires there’s far more to it than is first revealed, leading Duggan into the most dangerous investigation he’s ever worked. As well as being a mystery crime thriller, the book has some slightly surreal elements that are intentional but done with a light touch to keep everything grounded.
What has been your inspiration for writing The Other Side of the Mirror?
I really enjoy noir crime and wanted to try my hand at it, so I started seeing if I could write something that was a little like Frank Miller’s Sin City. The more I wrote, the more it moved away from that initial idea, but I kept the noir tone and just let the story take me where it wanted to go. It became its own thing, and the response to the book from reviewers and readers has been really good, so I’m pleased with what it turned out to be.
What was your favorite scene or part of The Other Side of the Mirror to write?
I’d say probably the opening. This is the scene where Duggan and another detective are standing on the banks of a filthy river, looking down at a dead girl, and one of them remarks “She’s beautiful”. To me, you could go anywhere from that opening. It sets the tone and the atmosphere but leaves the story wide open in front of you. I really enjoyed diving into that noir-feel, and the opening scene really made me confident that I could do it justice.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
Probably too many to list, but off the top of my head there’s classics like Poe and Dickens and M.R James, and then more modern authors like Graham Masterton, Clive Barker, Adam Nevill, John Connolly, Neil Gaiman, and of course Stephen King.
My favourite book of all time is A Christmas Carol. I read it every Christmas Eve. I feel it’s the perfect ghost story, which is in itself my favourite genre of story to read.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Firstly, just write it. It sounds so obvious but that blank page is only going to become a manuscript if you actually write. Even ten lines a day will become a book eventually.
Secondly, be ready and willing to take criticism. A lot of it. Everyone thinks that their idea is amazing, and they’re right to think that. If you didn’t believe in it then you wouldn’t spend months, or even years, writing it out. But chances are, however much you believe in it, that idea needs a lot of work before it’s at the level of quality where it’s actually reasonable to expect a publisher to take it. Be open to constructive feedback, don’t be precious about your work, and keep in mind that the end goal is always to give the reader the best version of your story that you possibly can.
Thirdly, patience. This isn’t an “overnight success” game. There’s no X-Factor TV show for authors. You might write ten books before you get one published, and even then, it’s not forced to be successful. Be realistic about why you’re writing, and set your expectations accordingly. But don’t give up. That’s key, particularly when you may be forced to re-evaluate your original expectations. If you give up then the book will never exist. If you want to find it on the shelf in a bookshop (and you really do, it’s the best feeling) then you need to keep going.
My Amazon author page, where you can find all my work both in paperback and eBook formats, are as follows
My Twitter is: @LexHJones