This week, it’s the turn of JP Gadston to sit in the Thursday Throng hotseat. JP spends his time doing yoga, running, wing chun, chi-kung and meditating. He is a big advocate of personal development and believes that no matter how bad it gets, you keep on moving forward.
What is one thing people wouldn’t usually know about you?
That I got treated for sleepwalking once.
What did your best review say about your work?
“An excellent debut novel by J P Gadston which kept me enthralled during a long weekend of lengthy train journeys and which has left me hoping for another. A clever twist to a plot which mixes sci-fi, psychological thriller, intrigue, gang violence, murder, conspiracy, family values, loyalty and love into an easily readable and fast-paced story. I loved it.”
What did your worst review say about your work?
There isn’t one (hopefully I won’t get any!).
How important are the names of any characters in your book?
The character names are just everyday names that people can relate to, nothing too extravagant.
How did you choose a title for your book?
It started off as being ‘The Plan For Disorder & Serfdom’. I then sent the book title together with what imagery I wanted for my book cover, to a graphic designer (who has done numerous covers). She said it sounded better as just ‘Disorder and Serfdom’, and then it went on from there. I don’t want to give anything away about the story, but it’s in relation to the book’s theme.
Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer?
Yes, it’s a lot of hard work. In addition, it’s not something you can rely on to make a steady living. Obviously there are those who go onto making a wonderful living from being a writer, but they are in the minority. I know I’m sounding like the profit of doom here. However, it’s not good to be stuck with your head in the clouds. I do like to be practical when it comes to writing. If the book does delivery a healthy amount of sales, then I will be churning out the novels. Until that time…
Have you ever wished you could do, or be, something else?
I would love to be a full time writer. But at the same time, I’m totally fascinated about the mind and human potential. That’s why I’m currently training to be a hypnotherapist. if I could combine making a living from writing and hypnotherapy, that would be even better. Perhaps somewhere down the line I can incorporate a hypnotherapist lead character in a future novel?
Do you think there is any elitism attached to different book genres?
Yes, I suppose there is. Literary fiction, I feel, is quite elitist in the way it’s written. I read quite a lot literary fiction at university, having studied English literature (which was at times a bit of chore). I like to read stories that flow, without it being too pretentious. Having novels with language that’s too flowery, together with plots that try to be overly complicated and sophisticated aren’t really my cup of tea. I like to be entertained, not bored into submission. Obviously it’s all about choice at the end of the day, whatever floats your boat.
What is the biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?
The constant inner critique in my head. Hearing questions like, ‘Why am I doing this,’ or ‘This is a lot of blood, sweat and tears for nothing,’ made the journey quite difficult. My developmental editor helped me out immensely during the process. Without her, the progress would have been a lot tougher.
Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?
Just go out there and do it! You never know where writing a novel will take you. What have you got to lose?
How do you remain sane whilst writing?
I do quite a lot of physical things to keep the blood flowing around my mind. I run a lot, do yoga and kung fu. I also like to sit still and do transcendental meditation everyday too. All these things can contribute towards mental well-being, and we can all do with a bit of that can’t we.
What has been the best experience of your life so far?
When I went to Australia and New Zealand four and half years ago, for a three week whistle stop tour all around. Just fell in love with both countries. I went there during a difficult time, not long after my dad passed away, and it was the perfect tonic for me. That only thing was coming back, I was living in a crummy part of London at that time, which was difficult.
Are you jealous of other writers?
No. I give full respect and admiration to any writer. It’s a tough, uncertain market out there, if anyone can make a living as a full time writer, then fair play to them.
Where do you find your inspiration?
This might sound corny, but it just comes to me. Obviously I plan the plot and characters, etc, but yeah, it comes from someplace. The quantum field maybe?
What was the most important thing you learned at school?
I attended a school in the east end of London. I went to school to learn. But due to the environment, it was difficult. Why? It was seen as breaking away from the fabric of that environment to have any leanings towards any sort of academia. It was very tough going to school in that atmosphere. I was basically peer pressure into being an idiot, like most of the others that were there. It didn’t sit comfortably with me. I do get annoyed when I think back to that time, a lot of wasted potential. I did eventually go onto studying for a degree, I graduated at the age of 42.
Which book would you like to have written?
1984. It’s just so cleaver and ahead of its time. Obviously Orwell had the regime of Hitler and Stalin as main focuses of influence towards the subject matter. You could apply the principles from the novel in the society we live in now. Clearly what’s happening in the world today is not as extreme as during world war two or the Soviet Union under Stalin. However, we as human beings are expected to conform and become uniform in our approach to modern day life. There’s the constant bombardment from the media, in addition to propaganda from politicians, and all the power that the big multi-national corporations weld. There’s a lot of sinister stuff going on in the world, and 1984 is still relevant today as it was way back in 1948 when it released.
What is your favourite film or TV moment of all time?
My favourite TV show of all time, I’d have to say Breaking Bad. An amazing plot from the beginning to the end.
As for film, there are so many to mention. My favourite sci-fi movie is Blade Runner, just incredible visually, a glimpse of the future that’s so scary (artificial life becoming a threat to humanity). Although I just discovered it’s actually set in this year of 2019! A bit off the mark with how Philip K Dick saw the future I think! Although it was wrote in 1968, there was a lot of space travel going on at the time. Another favourite is Saving Private Ryan. This movie really takes you on a journey and shows a glimpse of how disturbing wars are. The sacrifices that those men made during world war two were immense, and it should never be forgotten. Finally, Once Upon a Time in America. Just an amazing story that grips you, one of the best gangster movies (along with The Godfather). I could go on here, but we’ll leave it at that!!
Tea, coffee, water, juice, beer, wine or ‘other’ – what do you prefer when writing?
I do love my cups of tea (with the occasional coffee too). With a couple of biscuits thrown in too!! I have decaffeinated tea and coffee at home, too much caffeine doesn’t help me at all.
Are there any habits you wish you didn’t have?
I can be a bit of worrier, and also get a bit negative at times too. That’s only due to events that have happened in the past. I’m learning how to overcome this habits, and will be free of them over time. Just got to have faith in your own abilities.
If you could commit the perfect murder where would you ‘bury’ the body?
Not into murders, I’m a man of peace!!!
Where can I find out more about JP and his book?
You can find Disorder and Serfdom in paperback and Kindle format.
You can meet JP on his website here: http://jp-gadston.co.uk/
WHY ‘THE THURSDAY THRONG’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.