I’m delighted to welcome Jim Webster to the blog. Nothing could be further from my own writing than his so, my curiosity aroused, I invited him to tell us something about himself and to answer a few questions:
I’m Jim Webster, fifty something (but not alas for much longer), married with a wife and three adult daughters. I live in South Cumbria, England, just outside the ship building town of Barrow in Furness.
I’m a lover of ancient history, and have been a wargamer and role-player since the early 1970s.
I have no dress sense and a bad attitude to buying clothes.
I’ve been reading your blog, absorbing your biography and looking at your books – none of which, I have to admit, have I read…so far. I find I am intrigued and, if I’m honest, a little out of my depth. So let’s try and keep it simple, for me if not for our readers.
I always get nervous when interviewers claim I’m too deep for them
Let’s see if we can draw you out then. Can we begin by you telling us a little about your background? I understand you’re a farmer.
I farm in South Cumbria/Furness, and live with my lady wife who has put up with me for thirty years this year. We have three daughters who’ve all left home now and are young women with their own lives.
I’ve also been a freelance journalist and writer for nearly forty years as well as occasionally doing bits of consultancy and suchlike
It would seem that in spite of working in agriculture you were ‘called’ to the pen. Not for you the simplicity of sticking to one genre. You’ve been all over the place. And ended up writing Sci-fi – though who’s to say what might be next. A pocket history of your writing career would be helpful here please.
Aged about thirteen or fourteen I purchased Jack Vance’s book ‘The Dragon Masters.’ This blew me away and showed me what Sci-Fi could be like. I’ve bought every book I’ve seen of his since; even if it meant skipping lunch. But one thing Jack Vance taught me is that Sci-Fi and Fantasy are genres that overlap, and that it’s possible to write in the fuzzy borderland between them just as it’s possible to write at either end of the spectrum.
As I mentioned I’ve been a freelance writer for nearly forty years, my first cheque came for an article on the naval war between Peru and Chile in 1879. (A tad specialist perhaps?) I have also written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, everything from opinion pieces to political and economic analysis, but mainly sticking with a rural/countryside focus.
Finally in about 2010 people said I ought to be writing something that was more than providing decoration for the paper you wrap your chips in, and why didn’t I do a book?
So I wrote ‘Swords for a Dead Lady,’ which was my first fantasy novel. It was fantasy because I’d been writing a lot of pretty heavy stuff on animal health, EU agricultural policy and similar, so chronicling the antics of Benor Dorfinngil were something of a relief for me. It was well received so I wrote three further books, and on the strength of that Safkhet Publishing asked me to write for them, and they published ‘Justice 4.1’ in paperback and e-book last year.
War 2.2 is the second book about that sector of space called the Tsarina Sector. To quote the synopsis ;-
“Haldar Drom is starting to worry. The long running insurgency in the Zala Delta suddenly starts to spiral further out of control. Who is arming the insurgents? How and why? Then a leading local politician who is using his influence to try and keep things calm is threatened with assassination. It’s obvious that things are moving to a climax.
All Haldar has immediately available is a third year university student; a young journalist who he convinces to investigate the situation of the ground; and a retired marine librarian whose job is to keep the politician alive. As the investigation proceeds, from the mud of the Delta to the luxurious surroundings of the Drake Islands, Haldar comes to realise that he may be facing Wayland Strang’s counter-attack. Faced with a coup d'état spearheaded by off-world mercenaries Haldar has to react quickly to stop a major war.”
It is the story of both an investigation and the actions taken as the investigation gets underway. Hopefully it’s a good story. In it you get to meet a man who discovers he’s become one of the lowest forms of life, a marine librarian with a liking for high necked blouses and a third year student who gets a degree project she’ll never forget.
Tell us a random fact about yourself – and then be good enough to expand on it.
I no longer wear glasses. Two years ago, after a lifetime of wearing jam-jar bottomed glasses, I had cataract surgery and now only need them for reading. Indeed my optician announced that ‘As for reading glasses, Poundland has your prescription.’
Thank you, Jim. It’s been…an experience