Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Getting to know ... Jeff Gardiner

What genre would you say your books fall into, or do they defy classification?
Myopia is a YA/adult crossover novel which explores bullying amongst teenagers. It’s contemporary, gritty realism but also includes fantastical – or slipstream - elements when Jerry starts daydreaming and imagining himself having super-powers. Myopia becomes a state of mind; something to give him the confidence to stand up to the vicious thugs making his life so miserable.

My collection of short stories, A Glimpse of the Numinous, is a real mixture of genres: horror, slipstream, psychological realism; romance and humour. And yet they all have a strand of the numinous in common (go on ... look it up).

What made you choose that genre?
I’d rather not be pigeon-holed as being a writer of just one genre. Being classified as a horror, YA or romance author might then limit the way I am perceived by my readers. Roald Dahl managed to be an adult and children’s author. Michael Moorcock writes literary and fantasy novels. In fact, his literary novels are arguably his best works and yet he is always labelled as a fantasy author (or, ironically, a science fiction writer – even though he’s written very little pure SF). I might well be a marketing nightmare but why should business shape what I write?

How long does it take you to write a book?
It’s pretty much a year’s worth of work when you include the ideas, planning, drafts, changes, rewriting, editing and then months of trying to find a publisher. As I’m not a full-time writer I find it takes about six months to get a good draft of an 80,000 + word novel. That’s just to get to the editing stage. I like to edit for structural changes first; secondly for continuity and character development; thirdly for style and for adding descriptions, before doing a proper detailed line edit. I prefer to have too many words so that I can then hone it and cut out the many unnecessary bits. This needs real objectivity.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I prefer to focus on one thing at a time, but this never works out. At the moment I have at least four projects on the go and have to juggle them (not always successfully). I have two days a week (between school runs) for writing, but often find that my ‘other’ job interrupts and stops me concentrating purely on the writing.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?
My imagination.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
When I was about 10 I was determined to write a book about birds. I got as far as describing avocets then gave up. As a student I wrote some pretentious plays and terrible poetry. My first completed novel came late in life at about the age of 35 (after many false starts and abandoned attempts). That first one remains unpublished.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Apart from spending time with my kids, I watch lots of films, football and cricket. I love rock music – especially progressive rock – and try to go to concerts when I can.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How bloomin’ hard it is to get published! I have huge respect now for published authors.

How many books have you written?
Five novels; one work of non-fiction coming out later this year, and lots of short stories, which can be found in various anthologies, magazines and websites.

Which is your favourite and why?
I’ve just completed a YA novel with stronger fantasy elements which I’m very pleased with. It needs a bit more work, but it has great potential.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Work with birds of prey or in a wildlife sanctuary looking after animals – particularly owls and eagles. I missed my true vocation and became a teacher instead.

What are you working on now?
I’m trying to get publishers for my novels – particularly the YA fantasy and an adult romance novel set in Nigeria during the Biafran War. I’m also working on a screenplay, which is a bit different and challenging. Another of my current projects involves working with a local software company in developing children’s stories and other resources for primary schools. I like to keep busy.

Author Bio
Jeff Gardiner is a UK writer whose collection of short stories, A Glimpse of the Numinous, was published last year by Eibonvale Press.  A.J. Kirby of The Short Review commented on: “Gardiner’s excellence as a writer.”

His contemporary novel, Myopia, explores bullying and prejudice – recently published by Crooked Cat Books. The novel was described by The Little Reader Library as: “an intelligent, skilful and well-written treatment of a serious subject.”

Both are available as paperbacks and e-books. Many of his short stories have appeared in anthologies, journals and webzines. His non-fiction work The Law of Chaos: the Multiverse of Michael Moorcock is due to be published later this year by Headpress.

For more information please see his website at and his blog:
A Glimpse of the Numinous: Amazon UK   Amazon USA

Critique Service for Writers
Flash 500 Flash Fiction Competition
Flash 500 Humour Verse Competition

1 comment:

Nancy Jardine said...

Enjoyable interview, Jeff. The timescale for writing a novel very much depends, as you say, what amount of time can be regularly devoted to it. More or less, so long as you get there is great - that's my current mantra anyway!