A Few Quick Questions With…D.I. Jolly

D.I Jolly’s Mostly Human was the first novel I read this year — and it’s one of my favorites so far. I’m very glad I finally got the chance to ask the author a couple of questions. As is the norm, I kept it short and sweet, because I’d rather he work on his next book than take too much time with me, y’know? Some really good answers below.

If you can without ruining anything you have planned, tell me about the island setting for Mostly Human — why there?
Syn Island has actually been the principal location for all the books I’ve written. It started with my very first novel A Guy, A Girl and a Voodoo Monkey Hand. Which I wrote when I was 19. I knew I didn’t want to set my story in the USA because I felt like everything happened there, and I didn’t want it in England because I didn’t like the weather. South Africa (where I’m from) is just too isolated. So I decided to invent my own country, also it meant I wouldn’t have to do geography research.

Although my books so far are stand alone and don’t faction in the same universe. They all give a bit more information about the island. For example the burnt out bar where Annabel meets Frank Oslo. The destruction of that bar takes place in A Guy, A Girl and a Voodoo Monkey Hand. And in Counting Sheep and Other Stories (my second book) the main character Kester reference reading about some of the things Alex does through his life.

Love that answer.

I don’t want to ask where you get your ideas, but how did you get to the point that from the dozens of ideas floating around your head you got to the point where you said, “You know what I want to write about? A Werewolf Rock Star.”

It started as I wanted to write about a brother and a sister and a werewolf. Even at the first what I thought would be the most important factor was their relationship not him being a werewolf. I then started to trance back on their time line to find out how they got to where they were. If she had a job and he could just sit around all day, how does he afford it? then what if he was actually a child when bitten, what would their lives look like?

I came up with most of this while driving from lunch with my sister to my mother’s house which was about 2 and a half hours away.

What surprised you the most about the writing of Mostly Human?
How much I wanted to keep going as soon as I was done. I already knew how I wanted to start the sequel and where I’d start and take the story as its own book rather than just continuing to write more of the first one.
Your day job is with a publishing company — what impact has that had on your approach to writing?
I don’t know if it’s had much of an effect on my actual writing, but it is very interesting to know both sides of the coin. And it definitely changed the way I think about marketing a book and myself. Which I’m not sure I ever took seriously enough in the past.

Also, at the moment it’s more correct to say my day job used to be in publishing. For the next few months at least, I’m a full time writer. So keep an eye out for Mostly Human 2.

What’s the one (or two) book/movie/show in the last 5 years that made you say, “I wish I’d written that.”?
Whole projects none really, but occasionally I hear or read a really good line or concept which strikes a chord. The most recent of those was in Transcendence starring Johnny Depp which I only recently watched. Johnny Depp’s character is dying and he’s sitting with his best friend and sees his wife through the window and says. “I know I’m a dead man, but I’m scared I’m going to miss her.”

Loved it.

Can you tell us what books/writing projects you’re working on and when we can expect them? Bonus points if any of these involve Alex Harris.
At the moment my principle writing project is a thing called Poetry Club. On Monday nights myself a few very talented friends and anyone who cares to sit close enough to listen, meet in a bar in Berlin and read out short stories and poems that we’ve written that week based on the chosen theme or topic. We’ve been at this every week, without fail since July and after a year we plan to collect all the stories and poems and publish them as an anthology.

But as I said, I’ve also taken some time to get a few other things done and Mostly Human 2 is on the cards. I am about 41k words into it so far so maybe a third.

Sounds interesting — and you do score the bonus points.

Thanks for your time, D. I. (and thanks for Mostly Human!)

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