Today I am interviewing author Jonathan Gould. I recently reviewed his book, Doodling. Welcome Jonathan!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I live in Melbourne, Australia, which as I write is kind of cold and wet. But we Melbournians love to complain about the weather so that makes me happy.
I’ve been writing for over ten years now. I started off writing comedy sketches for the theatre – particularly for university reviews (for my friends across the Pacific unfamiliar with this, university revues are sketch-based comedy performances put on at universities - they’re very much an English tradition which has been taken up in Australia and they’ve been the launching point for numerous important writers and performers in both countries, including Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, the Monty Python crew, Douglas Adams, and Rowan Atkinson) and for radio-based comedy shows.
Enjoyable as this was, my real love is writing in prose form so, and this is what I’ve been concentrating on for the last few years. I’ve had a couple of children’s books published in Australia, primarily for the schools market, as well as quite a few near misses with major publishers. This year I’ve decided to go alone and get my books out there direct via epublishing.
What are some of your hobbies?
I have one very large hobby which takes up a lot of my time. It involves going to a university from 9 to 5 on weekdays and doing things on computers. Luckily it’s a paid hobby because it takes a lot of time away from my real job, which of course is writing.
Between this paid hobby and my (regrettably mainly unpaid) real job, I struggle to find time for much else. I do have a guitar which I pick up now and again – until someone in my family tells me to put it down again very quickly.
What age bracket do you write for?
People always ask me this question. I never know quite what to answer. I never write with a particular age group in mind. When I write, the first person I look to please is myself.
Now I don’t exactly know why (some people may suggest I have an issue with maturity) but the stories always seem to come out looking as if they should be for children. I have a natural voice which is quite simple and clear and I like to write about things that on the surface are a bit funny or silly. But I also like to look at ideas that are maybe a bit more serious when thought about more deeply.
So, I really like to think my stories can be read by a wide variety of ages, from 8 to 80. The feedback I’ve gotten so far seems to confirm this.
What are the characters like?
Pretty silly really. I’ll usually have at least one sensible character who wonders around not having the faintest clue about what’s going on (a bit like me most of the time). Then I’ll have a bunch of oddballs, each of which will have some sort of quirk or eccentricity. The fun part about writing is often to see what sort of quirks will work best in opposition to each other, and also to find ways to use those quirks to progress and resolve the story.
How do you go about researching and developing ideas for your book?
I have one tried and true research method. It’s called “make stuff up”.
Seriously, research and development happens all the time. It’s called living. Reading a book, or a newspaper article. Watching TV. Talking to people. Everything you do can be turned into ideas for stories. And when you’re writing humour of a satirical nature, living in a strange and absurd world provides inspiration all around.
Do you ever spend the day in your pajamas?
Not usually. Although I have been known to wear a dressing gown over my clothes during a long day’s writing.
Other than revenge, what is a dish best served cold?
Ice cream. Tried it heated once and it’s definitely not at its best.
Summary of Doodling by Jonathan Gould
Neville Lansdowne fell off the world.
Actually, he did not so much fall off as let go. The world had been moving so quickly lately and Neville was finding it almost impossible to keep up.
Doodling is an engaging comic fantasy which relates the events that befall Neville after he finds himself abandoned by the world and adrift in the middle of an asteroid field. Douglas Adams meets Lewis Carroll (with just a touch of Gulliver's Travels) as Neville wanders through his new home, meeting a variety of eccentric characters and experiencing some most unexpected adventures.
Jonathan Gould is a Melbourne-based writer and doodler.
He calls his stories "dag-lit" because they're the sort of stories that don't easily fit into the standard genres. Some might think of them as comic fantasies, or modern fairytales for the young and the young-at-heart.
Over the years, his writing has been compared to Douglas Adams, Monty Python, A.A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, the Goons, Dr Seuss and even Enid Blyton (in a good way).
You can find Jonathan Gould in various places across the internet. Check out his blog, twitter, facebook, and Goodreads pages.