Wow, you never know who you’re going to meet on the Internet! Thanks to the power of Twitter (can you tell I am a rabid fan?), I have connected with today”s author, Jonathan Gould. who hails from Australia. If you’re looking for something along the lines of The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, then Jonathan’s book is a must read!
Hello and welcome to Writing to Save My Soul.
- Buy Doodling here
What is your book about?
Doodling is an absurd comic fantasy about a man who falls off the world
(because it’s moving too fast). He finds himself marooned in the middle of an
asteroid field where he meets a number of peculiar people. But just when it
seems he’s found a nice home at last, he gets thrown into a most unexpected
adventure in which the very survival of the asteroid field is at stake.
I like to describe it as Douglas Adams meets Lewis Carroll (with just a dash of
What was your biggest challenge in getting your book written and out for the
world to see? How did you overcome that?
My biggest challenge is always finding the time to get my writing done.
Doodling was written in dribs and drabs over more than ten years. The good
thing about this was it meant I’ve had a lot of time to come back to it and
refine both the storyline and the writing so by the time I got around to
publishing it I think it’s in really tight shape.
As far as getting it out, I’d been shopping it around to publishers (in Australia)
for years without success. They seemed to really like it but none was prepared
to take a punt. I think they were a bit scared away because it’s a story that’s
hard to pin down into one genre, and it also has appeal across a broad range of
reading ages (which I think is a good thing but which publishers don’t seem to
be so keen on it).
I eventually decided to self-publish it as an ebook late last year and I’m
really glad I did. While sales are still slow, I’m starting to get feedback
from readers and it’s wonderfully positive and encouraging
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever come across?
From Douglas Adams (one of my main inspirations) – Writers should not be in the
business of reinforcing stereotypes. I always think of this as I write and
check myself when I feel like I’m resorting to cliché and stereotype.
The quote is from a wonderful book called Last Chance to See – do check it out.
Who, or what, inspires you?
Lots of things. My friends and family. Things I read or watch (on TV or
movies). Current events. I try to always keep an open mind and think about how
I can turn the things I hear/read/watch/experience into stories
Have you ever read a book that made you think ‘wow’? If so, what book was it
and why did it have such an effect on you?
I’m constantly amazed by what other writers are able to achieve. There are two
that come to mind (if I’m allowed to mention more than one):
The Lord of the Rings – I know it’s a bit obvious – but as a kid it expanded my
idea of the scope that was possible within a novel
The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy – for showing how effectively you could
use humor mixed with great ideas and characters in a written form.
If you were going to mentor a new writer through the publishing process,
what pitfalls would you warn them against?
Be aware of the realities of how difficult it is to be successful as a writer,
whether legacy or self-published. Make sure your book is in the best possible
state it can be – get feedback, listen to the opinions of others and learn. And
then get networking – because your book isn’t going to sell itself, no matter
how great it is.
What kind of promotion have you tried? What do you find to be the most
I’m a real novice as far as promotion goes. My basic strategy is to get my book
out to as many readers as I can through giveaways, blog events and just casual
networking. The more people read my story, the more chance I have. My other
main focus at the moment is getting reviews. Word of mouth is the key and readers
are more likely to take a recommendation from someone who isn’t the writer of
In terms of how effective this is? Ask me in a year – or two – or five…
Tell us a random fact about yourself.
My main character, Neville is based on me, except he’s slightly taller and
Sorry – that wasn’t about me, it was about Neville. But he’s way more
interesting than I am.