Interview with Jim Cogan

webpic3Tell us about your publishing journey…
Well, it’s a bit of an odd one. I loved creative writing when I was at school, but that all got put aside when I started college and got heavily into music – firstly playing in live bands then studio production. Eventually, I got married and with the arrival of my baby son, I was kind of forced to put creativity onto the back burner for a while. After a while I knew I needed a creative outlet of some description, I got into script writing – all with the aim of actually one day directing the stuff I’d written. My foray into visuals amounted to making one music video for a friends band – alas, I just didn’t have the time or resources to do it properly, but the writing side of things stuck with me. Around that time I discovered self publishing, and within three months I’d produced the first draft for my debut book, The Dirty City. Said book was released in July this year – I’ve gone with releasing it for free as It’s the first part in a series, it’s designed to be the easy to get at introduction. Part 2 is still in production, I’ve been a bit slow on that, but part 3 is already planned out.
What do you love about being an author?
To be honest, I’m still getting used to referring to myself as an author. A lot of this is in the mindset – when you decide that you want to take a creative activity a bit more seriously you reach a point where you have to say I’m no longer someone who does this just for fun or as a hobby, I’m now going to see how good at this I can be. I’m just at that stage. But for me, the joy of writing is creating worlds and bringing characters that existed only in my mind onto the page, it’s like bringing them to life.
If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?
I’m really useless at these fantasy questions! I seem to be in a minority but I don’t ever fantasize about meeting fictional characters from books. And by the same measure I’ve no interest in meeting celebrities either. In reality, I’d be much more interested in meeting someone who achieved something of cultural significance, probably Da Vinci would be good for a laugh, but literary characters? Sorry, there are plenty I’d like to be, but not really any I’d be desperate to meet. I do know what I’d have to eat, though. It would have to be a curry, preferably chicken based, and hot enough to strip paint off the walls!
If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?
Now you’re talking, I’d kill to either see a book of mine adapted – hell, ideally I’d like to write the script myself, one day, maybe… Anyway, if someone were to adapt The Dirty City I’d love to see either Billy Bob Thornton or Gary Oldman take the lead. For leading lady/Fem fatale I’d have to say either Julianne Moore or Jennifer Lawrence.
As a horror writer, what scares you?
I’ll be honest with you, although I can conceive lots of horrible things that people could do to other people that are indeed scary, and frankly the world itself is a scary place, my fears are very local. I think I used to be genuinely fearless, for my own safety at least, I figured life was too short. Then I became a parent so naturally I fear for my child and for what might happen to him if anything ever happened to me. But above all, my son is a cystic fibrosis sufferer, and while thankfully his health is actually really good, I live every day with the fear that is health might take a downturn. While medical science is making such leaps in this area, it’s looking very good for his prospects of living a long and pretty much normal life, but the risk is always there and so is the fear.
If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?
Yikes, where wouldn’t I go! The movie buff in me wants to go to Hollywood in the immediate aftermath of WW2 – that’s such a classic time for creative innovation. But the musician in me wants go back to either London or San Francisco in the 60’s!
What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?
It’s very odd, but my father was extremely pragmatic about pretty much everything, I believe he tried to bestow every bit of life advice on me that he knew before I reached the age of 6! It was well meaning but misguided, that’s far too young an age to be telling your kid how cruel and horrible the ‘real world’ can be. As such, a lot of people I meet who think they might be offering pearls of wisdom are simply telling me lots of stuff I feel I’ve heard before, and a lot of it is actually just common sense! I’ve made lots of mistakes, but usually it’s been me, with the benefit of hindsight, that has noticed they were mistakes first – so few people get the chance to point them out to me. I do wish I’d had someone to really encourage me creatively when I was a kid, though. I remember at the time my parents and teachers were almost obsessively concerned about me not being able to spout off the 9 times table by heart and that my handwriting was terrible. In the end, not knowing the 9 times table did not stop me getting a number jobs in finance, and I write using a word processor, so those things simply didn’t matter in the long run!
If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?
Some kind of elemental spirit that can transform from a normal, human form into some kind of lighter than air, pass through walls, etc, that kind of thing. And why? Excuse me, how cool would that be, why wouldn’t you want to be one of those?
Where do you write best? 
I’ve not really had much chance to experiment, so all of my writing has been done at home, in whichever room my word processor lives in. I’d like to try the whole ‘writer with a laptop in the coffee shop’ thing, but I reckon I’d get to distracted.
What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?
Confession time, I’m a terribly slow reader. I never used to be, but when I started doing the music production stuff I completely stopped reading fiction for a number of years, only reading technical books and texts. When I tried to get back into fiction I found I struggled with reading print. Thankfully, I went and got a Kindle a little while back and my reading has increased, but I feel like I’m making up for lost time. The last book I finished was Deception Point by Dan Brown. I had a few of his books in paperback and started Deception Point years ago, but didn’t get to finish it (as noted above, problems with reading print) so I made a point of getting the ebook and finally finishing it. I thought it was good, his writing is pretty easy to read and he has some great ideas. I look forward to reading more of his books, but they’re in a long queue – I have about 30 unread books on my Kindle right now!
If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?
Well, it’s a bit early in my writing adventure to define ‘my genre.’ I’ve written a horror book with elements of hard boiled detective fiction in it, so even my genre is diluted! I’d love to experiment with more supernatural themed fiction, and sci-fi, but I’d love to write a few comedic gangster books too.
One thing I’d love to experiment with, perhaps under a pen name – and there are a lot of guys trying this, perhaps more for commercial rather than creative reasons, but romantic fiction is massive right now. I’d love to try and put a slightly different slant on that – see if I could develop an audience for it.
Where can fans find you online?
I have a website;
And the usual social media channels;

 

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