Beyond Books Exclusive Author Spotlight and Cover Reveal: Jacob Prytherch
Jacob Prytherch has been making up stories since he was a child, even when he should have been paying attention in school. His influences include Ray Bradbury, William Gibson, and Neil Gaiman.
His first novel The Binary Man, published in 2012, has since gone on to be the #1 cyberpunk bestseller on amazon.co.uk on two occasions.
Check out our exclusive cover reveal for Jacob’s upcoming The Devil Has Dry Feet at the end of this interview!
Beyond Books: Hi Jacob, so tell us a little bit about yourself?
Jacob Prytherch: My name is Jacob Prytherch (the name is Welsh, do not attempt to pronounce it). I have always had an overactive imagination and an underactive body, both of which I try (unsuccessfully) to control. I look forward to meals more than anything else. It may be an addiction. I live in Birmingham with my wife and two daughters, all of whom I talk about until they become an annoyance, but I love them so I don’t care.
BB: What inspires you?
JP: Dreams are quite often goldmines for ideas, although you have to filter out the dross too. Reading inspires me. Marks on a page make images appear in your head, isn’t that fantastic? It’s magic. Also non-fiction, newspapers, articles, word of mouth. Humanity has everything you need for inspiration, good and bad.
BB: What are you working on at the moment and what can you tell us about it?
JP: I have tried to confine myself to six projects this year, all of which I’ve mentioned briefly on Facebook last year before frittering them away. If I get stuck I move onto something else, then come back. I still don’t know if that’s the best way to work, but it stops me going crazy. This year’s priorities are a short story for the follow up anthology to A Matter of Words (http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/a-matter-of-words/), and hopefully two novels – The Alchemist and the Idiot King and The Devil Has Dry Feet (which is in massive-rewrite-second-draft stage already).
BB: What genres do you write and are there any genres you would like to write?
JP: I’ve written mainly horror and sci fi so far, but I’ve also just written and illustrated a picture book for my daughter which is getting some decent feedback, so I may see if I can get it trad published, just for the craic. The Alchemist and the Idiot King will be a fantasy, which I haven’t tried before. Fantasy was the genre that sparked my interest in writing so I really hope to make a decent fist of it.
BB: When did you first realise you wanted to become a writer?
JP: I used to love story time (I can still remember visualising Shelob from Lord of the Rings when my mum read it to me) but I first tried writing a book at the age of seven, after I read a ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ thing about two kids cycling into a vortex and ending up in a medieval world. I actually wrote and published my own ‘interactive novel’ (as I have to legally call it) a couple of years ago. It’s called Shy, and is based on Japanese horror and mythology. It was great fun to do. It has twenty eight ways to die! I’ll do another one at some point soon.
BB: What is your favourite book?
JP: That’s a very hard question. It depends on what you would call favourite. I have re-read Terry Pratchett’s books more than any other author. Comedy is a great vehicle for drama. Feet of Clay was fantastic, and Night Watch. Nick Cave’s Death of Bunny Munro had a massive effect on me, but I can’t bring myself to re-read it. It was too painful the first time. I also just picked up a Ray Bradbury anthology that somehow passed me by in the past. I was crazy about Bradbury as a kid. I’ve got to go for The October Country. Short stories are a great discipline to get right and there are so many gems in there. The Small Assassin, what a story.
BB: What is your favourite movie?
JP: Another hard one. Should I go highbrow? Brazil. Outstanding film, black comedy gold. If I’m honest though the film(s) I’d have if I could have no others would be the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I could watch them forever. Although the film I’ve seen the most is probably Tremors. True story.
BB: What do you do when you’re not writing?
JP: I’m not yet in a position where I can solely write, so I also work as a retail manager. It’s tough but I do enjoy it. I’ve got a great team. I also read, spend time with the wife and kids, do gardening, play a bit on my PC and do some gaming with my best buddies. I’ve known them for close to twenty years now. I pad out the rest of the time with sleep. I’m pretty dull. All of my adventures are in my skull.
BB: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
JP: Just keep writing. You can’t edit a blank page. You don’t have to show anyone anything until you want to, so don’t hamstring yourself. It’s liberating to know you can write any old rubbish. It helps you to get better.
BB: What book are you reading at the moment?
JP: I just finished The Penultimate Truth by Philip K. Dick, but my ‘to read’ pile is so huge it’s daunting. I’m probably going to read Wool by Hugh Howey. It’s good to know an indie can become a big success. Despite selling far more e-books than paperbacks, I only read paperbacks myself. As Neil Gaiman said ‘Books are really good at being books’.
BB: What do you think makes your books stand out from the crowd?
JP: I’ve always found it hard to sell myself to be honest (which is a real fault if you want to be a successful writer – promotion is essential) but I’ll give it a go. I try to inject reality into every unreal situation to give it a grounding and make it relatable. I try to create vivid characters and situations that will stick in the mind. I hate plot holes and will do everything I can to make my plots watertight. My stories have to be logical, (even if that logic is an internal, ‘fantasy’ logic, it must still be consistent). I want people to love my stories and try to make it happen. I may not always succeed, but I promise that I try really bloody hard!
BB: Describe your writing style in ten words or less.
JP: Descriptive narrative infused with the energy of black coffee.
BB: Do you have a favourite character in your books?
JP: I really enjoyed the character of William Crouch, from my short story The Uncanny Mr. Bones. When I began writing the story I wanted to create a loveable rogue, slightly unhinged (as for most of the story he’s alone… or is he?) so he could talk to himself without it being forced, but he took on a life of his own halfway through and became so much darker than I had planned. I also have a soft spot for the character of Aleister Ward from Cuts of Flesh. He just wants a simple life but his morality won’t let him rest. Your questions are too hard to answer!
BB: Tea or coffee? And how do you take it?
JP: Coffee, strong, black, with half hot and half cold water so I can down it straight away. I’m sad to say I use it more as a drug than a drink. I just had another cup.
BB:Do you have any pets?
JP: No, but my daughters have been asking about one recently so we might have to get a hamster or something, although when I think back to my childhood pets all I remember is the pain when they died. In a way they’re just hairy lessons in mortality.
BB: Who or what has made the biggest influence on your life?
JP: Getting married and having kids made me grow up (in some ways). They’re a constant source of joy but every moment of happiness is coloured by the fact that our time together cannot last forever, and that realization has forced me to knuckle down and get work finished. It took three years to write my first book and another two to have the guts to publish, but my second book took two months. I was frantic. I write from fear of my own mortality and lack of legacy. As an atheist I view every moment as precious, although I still don’t make the most of them. Sorry, this is all a bit dark. This is why I write horror!
BB: If you were invited to the Oscars, who would you take with you?
JP: My wife, and the kids if they’re old enough. They’re the reason I get up in the morning.
BB: If you could be any animal what would it be?
JP: A long living bird like a flamingo, as long as it isn’t in captivity. The exhilaration of flight, warm weather, and many years to enjoy it all. And hot pink feathers.
BB: Which is the best Chris – Pine, Pratt, Evans or Hemsworth?
JP: Nolan. Actually I did love Guardians of the Galaxy (can’t wait until my kids are old enough for that peach) so I’ll say Pratt. I know I need to watch Parks & Recreation but still haven’t.
BB: What are you most looking forward to in 2016?
JP: Getting The Devil Has Dry Feet finished. It was so painful to write but the process is important and I know the result will be good. I think I know. Maybe. I also look forward to Tom Waits NOT dying. I couldn’t handle him and Bowie going in the same year.
Where you can find Jacob online:
Everything is possible, somewhere in time and space. All it takes is the right viewpoint. Yannick Meyer’s life seems locked in a downward spiral of ill health and worse luck before a knock at the door changes everything. Offworld opportunity beckons, a release from the rampant pollution and social decay of Earth, or so he thinks. He will soon find out that the bright lights of Washington station hide their own shadows. Two engineers stumble upon a signal that holds a promise of inescapable violence. One man sits alone, pleased with his work as he watches the funeral of someone that only he truly knows, losing count of how many have died before. All these stories come together, bound by the power of The Binary Man, the first true magician.
Where to buy:
Jacob was also kind enough to send us the covers and short teasers for his upcoming stories The Alchemist and the Idiot King and The Devil Has Dry Feet. The Devil Has Dry Feet is an exclusive cover reveal given to Beyond Books by Jacob and it will be the first time you will see this cover anywhere.
Fly crawls through the spider hole, paying the toll with his memories to its cuboid masters. The price is too high. With nothing before or behind him and the cliff at his feet, he chooses death. A hand pulls him back, granting him a future and setting him on the path of a fantastic journey through the twisted land of Owne, as he seeks to uncover the mystery of The Alchemist and the Idiot King.
EXCLUSIVE COVER REVEAL
When Kerouac Jones is dragged to a sleepy town on the edge of the Okefenokee swamp he expects to spend his teen years kicking his heels in the mud. What he finds is a woman, dried out like a dead spider, and threads that lead from her to unraveling the seedy mysteries of the town of Constance.