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Author JB Lucas

 Author JB Lucas

About JB : 
JB has lived and studied in eight different countries so far, scattered across Europe, East Africa and Latin America. Passionate about high level politics, he studied the inner workings of the European Union as an undergrad with a view to eventually working in the arena of international border disputes. Although his career has (obviously) taken a rather different route, he is now writing about the obsession which has captivated him his entire life – the tectonic movements of states. JB is now resident in the darkest depths of leafy West London, where he writes using the inspiration of the India-Pakistan split, the founding of Israel, the identity crisis of Brexit and the maelstrom within the EU.

Questions –

1. When did realize that you wanted to be an author?

I remember being in my teens, hammering out a series of detective novels whilst on a study summer in Germany. I haven’t got a clue where they are now, but that feeling of completing a good story still is very tangible. Well, that and the frustration of typewriter ribbons.

2. How long does it take for you to write one of your books?
The first trilogy (The Lost Emperor) was actually one novel which my publisher recommended that I break into a three-book series. The first manuscript took me perhaps six months, because I was working full time as well and my kids are still young. The more recent book (Loreticus Intrigues: Convenient Murder) only took a month.

What surprises me is the amount of time it takes after the first draft, and not just all of the different types of editing. Once done, there’s proofreading, beta readers, typesetting, early review copies, pre-launch marketing, and a host of other elements to consider and plan. After launch, there’s ongoing marketing and sales monitoring. It really is a business.

3. How do you balance your work schedule when you’re busy writing?
I don’t. I’m appalling – if I’ll be remembered for anything, it will be workaholism. I have a day job (CEO of an international dotcom), a noisy family, but if I don’t write then I live in fear of forgetting a good story. It’s also very cathartic to write and be in control when everything else is managing the interests of various other people.

4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I also find and print faces and locations, and have them pinned up around me. Every character is based upon one or two celebrities or characters from obscure films.

5. How do you come up with ideas for your books?
The real world, believe it or not. When I first wrote The Lost Emperor trilogy, I was travelling a lot to Israel, and I have a long-term love affair with India. Both have had fundamental shifts in their borders and their national psyches over the last century. Then came Brexit, Trump, and now Catalonia. I wanted to explore what happens to that person who has lived as a proud and loyal national of one country for his entire life to suddenly find out he’s now known to the world as something different, and his neighbours were always people he now no longer recognises. This is true for almost everyone in London post-Brexit, for Democrats in the US as they are represented by Trump, for Spaniards who have lived for decades in Barcelona. Suddenly, their home has changed and they don’t have another home to go to. What changes in their character then?

6. When did you write your first book?

When I was very young, perhaps around eight. I’m not sure that it was a real novel, mainly because I seem to remember the last few pages in the scrap book each contained one word just so that I wouldn’t leave any blank.

7. What are your hobbies when you’re not writing?

Other than family and reading? I live in London, so there’s a wealth of things to do here, and I travel a lot with work. Often I’ll walk rather than take a tube or cab, and that in itself is a very refreshing past-time.

8. What does your family and close friends think of your writing?

My family are very encouraging, although it’s certainly not their usual genre. I haven’t told more than a handful of my friends. Some things are best savoured as secrets.

9. What was one of the most interesting things that you learned about yourself when you published your first book?

When Loreticus came out in August, I thought that I would be disappointed. After all, what is more mundane than a middling author boasting about those books of his which sold “fairly well” several years ago?

I know now that I’ll continue writing without a glance at sales figures. The occasional positive review is warming, and I understand that my sales volumes are incredibly good for a debut author. But it’s a combination of finishing those stories – because who else will tell them? – and the satisfaction that my early readers still show that make me feel justified in my labours. I will always send those first 50 or 60 readers free copies of my books for the help and trust they offered; they made it easy to stay patient.

10. How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
I’ve written about six, many of which are either pre-submission or at the publishers. My favourite is the final installment of the Lost Emperor trilogy, which is an absolute killer. It’s written, but I’ll rewrite it somewhat before I send it to my publisher again. It’s got a lot of surprises in it, especially for those people who will have read both of the other series beforehand.

11. What do you think makes a good story?
Ease of reading, linguistic epiphanies, clever plots made digestible.

12. Where do you like to kick back and write your books?

Honestly, they’re often written in my head and getting them out through the keyboard is just a confessional. So they’re written whenever I’m not solving problems or planning things in my other lives.

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