The gorgeous Natasha Johnstone (married, boo! hiss!), who you can find at this website, recently put me under the spotlight and refused to let me go until I answered her questions. That’s why I’ve been away for a couple of weeks, I’m stubborn. Anyway, she gave me a copy of the transcript when she booted me out and told me not to tell anyone, clearly I just can’t be trusted… But you knew that.
1) Why did you decide on a pen name like Jams N Roses?
A while ago, when toying with the idea of setting up a website to showcase some screenplays that I’d done, I typed in JamesRoss.com (my real name) and discovered the domain name was already taken… by an author! Further investigation led me to find another two James Ross’ who put pen to paper, so an anagram of my name (and a borrowed N) had to do.
2) What do you do when you have writer’s block?
Scream. Shout. Throw things. Sleep (have nightmares). Lift weights (light ones). Promise myself that I’ll never try to write again. No, seriously, there is no one answer for that one. I would say, that leaving your work at the point you are blocked, and then coming back to it after a sleep, or anything else that takes your mind of it, can be the best thing to do. After wasting an hour or so writing next to nothing, I’ve gone back to the computer after a good sleep and carried on as if there was never a problem – struggling to even remember what the problem was, the night before.
3) If you could meet any person in the world, who would that be?
It would have been Christopher Hitchens, if he hadn’t passed away, of course. The guy was a legend in my eyes; super intelligent, quick-witted and not too timid to point out the wrong-doers in the world. There are many people alive who know much more than I do, so I’d be happy to meet anyone who could broaden my mind and open my eyes, that sort of thing. They wouldn’t have to be famous, just knowledgeable, honest and kind.
4) If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
The USA. Why? I’ve always had something in me that wanted to know more about America. It’s a major player on the world stage, and compared to other parts of the world, can be classed as peaceful. The variety over there also shouldn’t be ignored. It isn’t just the easy option either, because it is English-speaking, if that’s what you think! I’ve lived in Spain, I live in France now; I’m not scared of language barriers! I can just honestly say that America appeals to me.
5) Tell the readers something they don’t know about you?
I’m writing this whilst wearing only my boxer shorts. Seriously, it is uncomfortably hot in the south of France at the moment. The wind isn’t blowing at all and technical difficulties mean there isn’t a functioning fan in the Jams N. Roses household.
6) Who would play your characters in the movie version of your book?
I couldn’t tell you. I’ve thought about this question many times, probably over thought it, and still got no closer to who would play who. I’d leave that to the professionals. I had a guy talk to Ben Drew (Plan B) at one point, before he really blew up, to play the lead in Get Clean. Ben Drew is a star, but I thought he was too chubby to play a cocaine addict! Turns out he had bigger and better things to be doing anyway…
7) Who inspires you?
My son. Full stop. The little man, just being in my life, is the proverbial kick up the backside that I needed to get up and start doing things in my life. I owe him a lot, and have every intention in repaying him fully.
8) What was your journey to publishing like?
Long winded. I started out writing screenplays, and anyone in that game can tell you how hard it is to get noticed. I had good feedback, someone was interested in producing Get Clean, but funding fell through and that was the end of it. Amazon gave my writing a lifeline; it gave me the control I wanted in my writing, without having to satisfy the tastes of an agent or publishing house, not many of whom are keen to take a punt of a new name who writes in a brutally blunt fashion.
9) If you could give any advice to aspiring writers what would that be?
Sit down and write. Don’t stop writing until you’ve typed the last full stop and don’t think about going back over your work for at least a week. Then, you’ll see the obvious mistakes you’ve made, as well as general improvements you could make to every page.
10) Who is James Ross as a person?
I’m one of the good guys, a single dad, trying to make my way in a foreign country; doing battle with French bureaucracy and a crazy ex most days of my life. I’m an honest man, looking around and seeing the not-so-honest being rewarded for their shenanigans, wondering if lady luck will ever step in to relieve me of the struggle of the daily grind. I’m the one with his fingers crossed, which doesn’t always help, when I’m tapping the keys of my laptop, late into the night, hoping that my next book will be the one that takes off and changes the game.