This post was first published in July 2015:
Today I am honoured to introduce you to A.J. Sendall who “has been collecting people and places. From the blood-soaked streets of Kampala, the polluted dust bowls of the Sahara, to the pristine ice floes of the Antarctic, he has gathered and filed them away. Some have recently pushed through the bars of insecurity and are now at large in the pages of his first three novels. Others await their future fates.”
I have to admit I cheated with this introduction as I used the one A.J. used to use on Goodreads and BookTourTips. However, this introduction is so intriguing that I just could not better it.
Therefore with no further ado straight into his interview answers:
How would you describe yourself in one paragraph?
I’m an incurable optimist. I see the possibilities and look for solutions.
I think each of us can accomplish many fulfilling goals if we let go of doubt and learn to live with a positive attitude.
A fun fact about you?
After spending much of my adult life travelling, I now live in a remote forest house in Germany with two Mexican dogs, an Icelandic horse, six French hens, and a mermaid who I found at a beach on the north coast of Bequia.
What made you write in the first place?
I started writing when I left England aged twenty-two. During many years of extended travel, I wrote journals and rambling travelogues to friends and family.
It wasn’t until much later in life that I considered writing with the objective of publishing.
When the desire became strong enough, I closed my business, sold my home, and went back to sea in a small sailboat to write.
The ideas and inspiration for my current novels stem from an autobiography that I wrote a decade ago.
Which Author has influenced you and why?
There are many; too many to pick just one. Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, John LeCarre, William Wharton, Bryce Courtenay, are a few of my favourites. It depends on my mood. Each one is quite different to the others, but one thing they have in common is their ability to create a world in which I become immersed, and not want to leave.
What is your favourite book?
Like authors, I can’t narrow it down to one.
Quiet – Susan Cain
Franky Furbo – William Wharton
Seven Pillars of Wisdom – T.E Lawrence
The Power of One – Bryce Courtenay
Sailing Alone Around the World – Joshua Slocum, and there are so many more.
Each of these books has stayed with me, and in some way changed my life. None of them directly influences what I write, but all of them have influenced who I am.
Your writing ritual (if you have one)?
It depends on what stage I’m at, and what the scenes or chapter are like. If I need to get into character, I’ll sometimes watch part of a movie that’ll help take me there. Or sit in the dark and listen to the proceeding chapter, visualising the characters movements and moods.
I write in the boiler room, which is in the cellar ‑ what my family call the KGB room. It kinda looks like that. It’s sparse and hard, how I’d like to keep my writing. It has a single desk light, lots of pipes, valves and pressure gauges and the faint smell of fuel oil.
Your secret “sin” when you write?
If there’s sin, then it’s occasionally levelling old scores. Most of us have met or known people who we would like to change or just get rid of. Writing them in as characters gives me that opportunity. Some I change, others get whacked.
Do you suffer from writer’s block and if, what do you do against it?
I hardly ever suffer from writer’s block. I think that’s partly due to how I write. I don’t plot. I start with a germ of an idea, maybe throw a character into a jam, and then follow what they do.
With Flank Street, I saw a street lined with yellow lights ‑ it’s a Sydney street I’ve walked a few times. In the dim warmth of the KGB room, I watched a man walking down that street in the light rain, then the whole story rolled out.
Your advice for apprentice writers?
Write for the love of it. Write the sort of book that you want to read. Don’t try to ‘write for the market’, your work will sound contrived. Tell your story the way you want to tell it. Not in a style that’s currently trendy.
Most importantly, live! Get out into the world and observe how diverse people react, how they speak, drink, smoke, and fidget. Talk with strangers, get in a scrape and see how it feels.
The best advice I’ve read came from Stephen King. He said, ‘Remember every scar.’ I guess what he was saying is ‘remember how it feels’, every physical and emotional scar you’ve received and inflicted. Remember those emotions and use them to bring your story to life. ”
Thank you very much, A. J. for letting us know about your writing experience
A.J’s book “Flank Street” was published on May 15th, 2015 at Ascend Digital Publishing and this is what it is about:
“Flank Street is set in Australia, mainly in Sydney’s Kings Cross. It’s written in first person from the distorted reality of Micky DeWitt, a shiftless career criminal and world sailor.
Micky arrives in Sydney by boat, broke and on the lookout for opportunity. After taking a job as barman in a Kings Cross pub, he’s eventually approached by a high-end escort who needs something stolen.
Nothing is what it seems, as Micky falls into a honey trap that spins his life out of control.
Some characters from Heather make an appearance, including Mitchell, and the enigmatic Ray Peterson. ” (source Goodreads)
Flank Street on Suspense Thriller Books
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A.J. on Twitter
A.J’s Author page