Welcome to this year’s fun spotlight introduction of Blog Battlers!
Every month we’re shining the light on a participant.
Welcome, Mark Huntley James!
|How long have you been a writer?||About 40 years, on and off. The “off” was when I went to university and then started that day-job thing, which took up most of my time for nearly ten years.|
|3 random facts about you!||1. I live on a small farm in Cornwall, south-west England, so I swapped shovelling corporate poo for moving the real thing. |
2. My partner calls me a cat whisperer – three out of four of our cats are strays or ferals that turned up here and decided that I was OK. Except for Piper who I got to know over the space of a year only to have him decide that my partner was OK.
3. I used to do English Civil War battle enactments, camping in (usually) muddy fields and running around in period costume, waving period weapons at people.
|What genre(s) do you write?||I write fantasy, science-fiction, and random anecdotes about the cats or other animals around the farm.|
|What is your favorite BB story/entry you’ve written? What is the URL?||https://markhuntleyjames.wordpress.com/2020/05/11/short-fantasy/|
|Have you published any books? Self/Indie published? Traditional? Hybrid?||I have three books in an urban fantasy series (Hell of a Deal, Road to Hell and Hell of a Bite) and a collection of flash-fiction based in the same world (The Letter Hex) which comprises six letters written by my narrator on things like a complaint about a bad magical nose job and planning permission for the new mountains in his garden. I also have a space-opera (Streamrider) where I reigned in my riotous sense of humour a little.|
|If you have published books, where can people go to buy your books?||Hell Of A Deal http://relinks.me/B01N94VXBC |
Road To Hell http://relinks.me/B07BJLKFSS
Hell Of A Bite http://relinks.me/B07SBPDNDC
The Letter Hex https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/992539
|Who or what inspired you to start a blog and share your writing?||This is all my partner’s fault. She told me that I had to have a blog to promote my writing, and I ought to do a piece on “writing” each month. I really couldn’t face that, so I wrote about the first thing that came to mind, which turned out to be my ongoing chat with a feral tom cat when I put food out in the barn for him. After “Feral Conversation” in January 2014, February presented me with Butch, the alpha-ram who lost a fight and discovered that from being top of the pile he was suddenly at the bottom. I wrote that up as “Reached The Top” because I suddenly had Disney’s “Jungle Book” in my head. That pretty much set the tone, until I came across BlogBattle in 2018, and started adding fiction to the blog.|
|Any advice you could share with your fellow BBers?||Have fun, experiment, do something you wouldn’t usually do. When I skimmed back over the last couple of years, I found I’d done something in rhyming couplets about car trouble and a monologue from a serial killer contemplating the heads in the freezer, which are definitely not my usual territory. So, go for it, let your hair down, even if you don’t have as much hair as me.|
|If you could write from anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?||Here. This is it. We moved to Cornwall in 2005 as part of an unscheduled downsizing. We bought the farm in 2001 expecting to retire around about now and move, and instead we did that fifteen years ago. In the winter I hunker down in the lounge with the stove burning, fending off cats that want to sit on my laptop, and in the summer I sit outside fending off cats and chickens. Perfect.|
|In your own reading, who has been your favorite protagonist? Why? What makes them stand out?||Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan [from Miles Vorkosigan’s Adventures series], because he is just insanely relentless, and I suppose that resonates firstly with my peculiar sense of humour, and secondly the many years where I worked with equally strange people, including a fair number of chronic over-achievers.|
|Where are you strongest as a writer and feel like you could offer help and advice to fellow BBers?||This has to be one of the trickiest questions going. I spent years as a working scientist and then in IT, which all takes a very analytical mind, but when I write it is all seriously intuitive and seat-of-the-pants. That’s probably a large part of why I baulked at the idea of blogging about how to write, because really I have no idea how to do it. I sometimes post “advice” on SFF Chrons (https://www.sffchronicles.com/) but that’s very much me offering my own experience on a particular issue.|
|Where are you weakest as a writer and would like to get more feedback and help with?||And this is the other trickiest question, because that whole intuitive writing thing means I have no real idea where my weaknesses are. I mostly relying on my partner reading stuff and saying “that doesn’t work.”|
|Share any social media links you have where you’d like to connect with fellow BBers and readers.||I hang out on Twitter very occasionally as @MarkH_J. I used to be moderately active there, but found it was sucking too much time. I do have a Facebook account somewhere but I can’t remember when I last logged on.|
|How did you discover BB? (If you’d care to share!)||I don’t remember, but my betting would be Twitter.|
Thanks so much for sharing, Mark!
And keep your eyes peeled for the next Prompt Word coming Friday, April 2nd!
Please take a moment to ask Mark some questions in the comments section.