Author: J Bryden Lloyd
We lured Bryden into our lair today and found him simply delightful. We at Tears of Crimson are fascinated with science fiction and have to admit it was difficult to allow him to leave because his stories were so compelling. Pull up a bar stool and come discover this incredible author.
TOC: Space adventures, now that's an interesting topic. How did you come up with the ideas for Jenson Quest?
JBL: Jenson Quest actually started life as a series of short stories that were all about the Zyll (the bad aliens) and the Keepers (the good aliens). The original idea was that the Keepers were protecting inhabited worlds from the Zyll. Over time this developed and the idea that there could be some species able to help the Keepers was included. It took a while longer for me to create the idea of all the human realms and the Great Drak. The first book, The Rise Of Va'kaar, is actually two of the shorts rolled into a single book.
Jenson himself is named after a real person, the son of a friend of mine (he'll be about 4 now).
TOC: I have to ask, when you were a kid did you dream of going into space?
JBL: Sort of. I had a very keen interest in space from the age of 6, and then Star Wars came along and that was it for me! By the time I was 9 I was drawing cartoons (not very well I might add) and I had a huge collection of Lego Space toys.
I was one of "the believers" who thought that, by the time I was in my 30s, space would just be another trip anyone could make.
TOC: So what can people expect when they read your work?
JBL: I throw a lot of my young self into my books. I loved the action and emotion of old sci-fi; things that the modern movies and books rarely capture. I like my readers to be involved, to think how they would relate to my characters. And I hope that is what I offer with my writing. But I'm not lost on the way modern sci-fi has taken over the genre. I have my fair share of reality in there to keep the balance. Even Jenson Quest has to have a normal life somewhere.
TOC: I know the Jenson Quest books were written for a younger audience, but what about Meet my Shorts?
JBL: The Jenson Quest series is certainly aimed at YA readers, though I have found massive positive feedback from older readers, so I guess it has something for everyone.
Meet My Shorts, and the second instalment, Meet My Other Shorts, both have a bit of everything; from an old poem I found to true stories from past present day, and a fair amount of fiction too. I have tried to make these appeal to a wide audience, although I added a story called "Shhh" to the second book, which may be a little too much for younger readers. The next in my shorts series will be Meet My Bloody Shorts... I don't think there will be a great deal in that one for the younger reader.
TOC: Word has it that you flew in from this interview from across the world. Tells a little more about where you live and the differences of being a writer in the UK.
JBL: I did, I did... I flapped all the way here from the wilds of North Wales. On a map of the UK, find Liverpool and trace a line due South. Just across the water is North Wales, and a few miles from the coast is a little village called Northop. That's where we live. It's lovely and peaceful here. In fact, as I write this, I am sitting in my living room with the windows open, listening to golf balls being struck on the course across the road... and when I have finished this interview, we are all off out to join in the village litter-pick.
Writers here seem to be very anonymous, left to our own devices. The UK is quick to recognise failure but not so fast to encourage effort, so unless I sell and make millions, I will remain happily unknown... and if I do make millions, the vast majority of the UK populous will be willing me to fall flat on my face.
I've got the bug now, though. So as long as there are people who want to read my work, I'll keep going.
TOC: Most writers have been influenced to some extent by other authors. Who is your favorite author and how have they inspired you to write?
JBL: I have so many favourite authors this is not an easy one to answer. I love Asimov and Arthur C Clark, as well as Pratchett, Garth Nix, Eoin Colfer, Kevin J Anderson, Barbara Hambly... even Rowling is on my list... but, at the same time, I enjoy Ian Fleming, Robert Ludlum, Agatha Christie and a variety of others.
I don't think other authors have really inspired me to write. Certainly, they have inspired me not to be afraid to write, and to think of my stories as three-dimensional, but my inspiration to write goes back to my infant school teacher, Mrs Blacknell.
I was 6, and we were learning to read. We had to open a book at a page and pick out one word that we liked. I cheated a little, because I knew which word I wanted. At the fourth or fifth attempt I found it... "ocean". She then asked me why I liked that word... and my answer, which I thought sounded a little silly at the time, was "It's a small word, but it means something very big, and it looks and sounds nice."
We did that for weeks, different books, different words, different reasons... and then we were moving away and she took me to one side and gave me the first book, the one with 'ocean' in it, and told me to read it properly one day.
It was about 2 years later when I finally read the book, and when I got to the end, I found that she had written on the last page "...always read because the gift of words, written or spoken, are a gift from one heart to another."
TOC: You not only write books, but edit them as well. How has this experience helped you with your own writing skills?
JBL: I have edited (on and off) for a number of years, but until recently, this has only been short stories and technical books. Editing novels has opened my eyes to how some writers structure things when they put them in draft, but also has highlighted to me some of the things I needed to do differently. I think I've learned more in the last 6 months, than in the 19 years before. Everything from dialogue structure to setting up sounds in my descriptive has changed from things I have seen other writers do.
TOC: Since you been brave enough to venture into the Tears of Crimson Lair, I have to ask this question. What are your thoughts on the Supernatural?
JBL: I do occasionally read the supernatural, though I personally feel that Stephen King has slightly lost his way in recent years and needs to take several good steps back and write for himself, rather than his deadlines.
I enjoy reading atmospheric stuff. Stories that really pull you in and make you feel part of the tale are always appealing to me, and good supernatural works do just that. I'm planning a future book, in collaboration with another author, which will dabble in this genre and I hope it will appeal to readers from a number of other genre's as well.
TOC: Thanks for stopping by to talk with us. Before we let you plan your escape tell us how we can find you and your work.
JBL: At the moment, all of my books are available only on amazon. All are available for Kindle, and my first book is also available in paperback through Createspace. I have 5 works in total...
The Chronicles Of Jenson Quest - #1 The Rise Of Va'kaar
The Chronicles Of Jenson Quest - #2 The Realms Of Jurrii
The Zubot Master - Time Slip (the first of 4 childrens robot sci-fi series chapter books)
And coming soon, Jenson Quest #3 The Cause, and Meet My Bloody Shorts!
Thank you so much for inviting me today. I guess I'll go and get back into the duck suit and start flapping.