Featured Interview With J.D.Weston
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born in Essex, on the outskirts of East London. I lived in a small town called Hornchurch, and in a village about ten miles away called Theydon Bois. Theydon Bois and the surrounding countryside played a huge part in my childhood, and the area is featured heavily in my Stone Cold thriller series; it was here that I fell in love with the British countryside.
I moved to East London when I was eighteen, to be closer to my job in Silvertown, and to try life out on my own. The move opened my eyes to the world. I found life in East London so much more colourful than life in the green leafy suburbs, and I think both areas left their mark on me.
I worked in various areas of construction. I was a bricklayer, a plumber, and I worked on cranes. I loved it. I was fit, healthy and life was good. But deep down, I always wanted to be a musician. I was a keen guitarist and dabbled with the ukelele, banjo, piano and a few others.
In my mid-twenties, I was finally able to make money from music. I quit my job and smiled as I finally had my foot on the right ladder. The music career lasted two years. I was broken. I wasn’t sleeping regularly, I wasn’t eating, but I was having the time of my life, and I played with some incredibly talented people. My proudest moment was hearing my song on the radio in a shoe shop with a girl I was seeing.
It couldn’t last.
I put myself through an IT management course to break out of the music scene and soon found myself working in IT, which at the time felt like the polar opposite of where I wanted to be, but I figured, hey, if I do this whole IT thing, I’m going to see if I use it to leave the UK, and try somewhere else out.
When I turned twenty-eight, one year since jumping head first into IT, I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to move to Dubai.
I helped the UK firm start a local branch of the business, then we hired, and I suddenly found myself running the organisation from a technical perspective.
That was ten years ago. I still live in Dubai. The beaches, blue skies, and wild deserts are incredible, I’m never short of places to take a walk to reflect on the direction of my books, or if I need to clear my head.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I read from an early age. Books were a huge part of Christmas or birthdays, and our grandparents encouraged reading, I’m grateful for that. I think my brother and I funded Enid Blyton by having every single book, plus we had access to great classics such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Treasure Island.
I wrote songs in my music days, I always loved the way words work with each other, and how a mood can be changed using variations of a sentence structure and synonyms.
When I moved to Dubai, I began to learn photography. I needed a creative outlet, and cameras are so accessible these days. it wasn’t long before I managed to get one of my images published in a magazine. soon after that, I made a front cover. Wedding shoots followed and I began to sell my work.
The photography was great, but I needed more. I needed something that wasn’t dependant on other people, light, and time.
I began writing my first book ‘Where the Mountains Kiss the Sun’ in 2015. It took more than a year, as I strangely did whilst I completed my Master’s degree.
I loved the process.
I self-published the book and yeah it sold a few, but that wasn’t the point, the point was that I’d found something I loved doing. I remember holding my very first paperback and sitting back thinking to myself that somehow, in my messed up life, I’ve created two albums, had my songs played on the radio, had photos on the covers of magazines, even in Nat Geo, and now I’ve published my own books. If anything, it stands up and supports everything we want our kids to know and believe in. You can do anything you want if you want it hard enough. Sure it doesn’t happen overnight. Sure it may not happen on the first attempt. But keep going. If you really want whatever it is bad enough, you’ll get there if you keep trying.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I love Wilbur Smith’s African novels. If I had to name a desert island book, that one book you get to take with you to be stranded on an island. It would be one of his.
I’m also a fan of thrillers, luckily because that’s what I like to write too. About two years ago, I would have said Lee Child. But now? No, I don’t think so. There are so many outstanding authors out there, that to name one would not the rest justice. As an author myself, it makes my day when somebody gives you a chance. Somebody who hasn’t heard of you takes a chance and buys one of your books based on the reviews or cover or whatever, but then takes the time to write you an email when you’re finished to thank you for writing it. That is how the world should roll.
Who inspires me? Guy Ritchie, Quentin Tarantino. I know they’re not authors, but I love the shock factor their films provide. As artists, they’re not afraid to say what others tend to wrap in cotton wool. That’s exactly how I want my books to be. They don’t have to be outrageous, or even offensive. Just honest.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
I am currently writing book 5 in the Stone Cold Thriller series. Harvey Stone is an ex-hitman, who used to work for a London crime family. It’s hard to say too much without ruining the first four books in the series, but I can say that book 4 saw many ongoing plotlines closed off, which allowed book 5 to open up with a fresh new feel. I’m keen not to let the Stone Cold Thriller series get stale, so I’ve pulled the characters, that myself and my readers have come to know and love, through to a new set of adventures.
The first four books are heavily London based. Books 5 – 8 will be international, but still retain that gritty, cockney vibe that Stone Cold readers love.
I am lucky enough to have traveled fairly extensively so I’d like to bring those far out places into the books and see what Harvey Stone makes of life outside London, or more to the point, see what the rest of the world makes of Harvey Stone.
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