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Author Interview with J C Berry

Biography

I am a local writer living with my family, soon to be husband and our Jack Russell Terrier, Narla. I have lived in Cornwall for 20 years and I am originally from Manchester, but Cornwall is the place I feel at home and I cannot imagine living anywhere else. I love Cornwall and my love for Cornwall is why I am always writing about it.

I worked in medical administration for six years and self-published a comic book series called ‘Native Lands’ as well as two short comics ‘Omen of Death’ and ‘A Sunset in Spring’ that was featured in the anthology ‘All the King’s Men’.

Whilst working in administration I studied a BA in Creative Writing at Falmouth University. After graduating I moved into education administration and marketing, then published my debut novel ‘The Flesh Auction’ in August 2021.

My partner and I love walking and wandering around Cornwall, which is what we spend most of our free time doing. Of course I love to read too and I’m also a (terrible) video gamer.

I write under the penname J C Berry to give thanks to my mum who has read everything I have ever written, even comic book scripts that she had never tried to read before.

  • My favourite book, without a doubt, is Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I love her descriptions and the romantic story she builds between Achilles and Patroclus. I have always been interested in Greek mythology and I find Madeline Miller paints the setting so beautifully. I also have to mention Circe that she wrote too. My other favourites include Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier, Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, Monstress by Marjorie Lui and Sana Takeda, Saga by Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples and Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekback. Have I mentioned too many?

  • The morning I wrote this, I treated myself to a bowl of chocolate crunchy clusters. Normally it would be a bowl of gluten free multigrain hoops which I know is very exciting. I can manage one meal with gluten in per day and the box of chocolate cereal was too tempting, you have to treat yourself now and then.

  • I'm interested if it is fantasy, science fiction, romance or a good thriller. Any of those and I'm willing to give it a read.

  • A UK 9. I usually wear boots or trainers, I can't stand my feet so I don't often go around barefoot. But does anyone actually like feet?

  • I write to get the stories out of my head, most have not made it further than a note in my phone or on word but some I have written half a book for and never shared. It is something that feels natural to me, but some days I can still write nothing at all and still have been thinking about my book for most of the day.

  • I enjoyed bits of English, I loved analysing poems and short stories, as well as writing my own but (you may even be able to tell from this interview) I find the practical side of writing more difficult. I am terrible at over using punctuation, particularly, commas.

  • Like with most of my stories, it was day dreaming. Or sometimes actual dreams. Whenever I walk my dog or I'm out and can let my thoughts drift I am thinking about either the story I am writing or a new story entirely. The Flesh Auction started from two day dreams. The first was about a child with a lot of power who could save or destroy the planet, the second came from a horrifying thought of what it would be like to be another being's food. Those two strange thoughts came together to make the foundation for my book.

  • I would want to be both. Maybe a villain that becomes a hero. I love seeing stories where a character starts good or bad and becomes the opposite. Truthfully I am probably a very generic background hero.

  • My desk, bed or outside (Cornish weather permitting). I have my writing on a hard drive so that I can use the computer or laptop and alternate depending where I want to be. I can be very picky with where I sit down to write, and it is always mood dependent.

  • The coast, the woods, gardens, anywhere green in Cornwall is inspiring to me. I love nature and I think as I write a lot of fantasy, supernatural and science fiction stories that are rooted in world building its always places that give me the most inspiration. I like to use places in Cornwall that I have been and play with the names, layouts or details, sometimes even mixing two together to make somewhere new. Just the beauty of Cornwall is enough to make me want to write.

  • The journey of the characters and their choices, I always start with a general idea of where my story is going and then let the characters take the lead. I will sometimes throw things in their way to push them in the right direction but mostly they are left to their own devices. I love seeing what happens when two characters meet and how much it might throw me through a loop, I expect one thing and get the opposite or something unexpected. I also love hearing anyone who reads my writing and is as passionate about the characters as me, if someone is invested as I am, even if it is one person, I am thrilled.

  • Cornwall is the base setting for all my writing. Somewhere in Cornwall will have inspired me to use it and I will either write the place as I know it, saw it or felt it. Or I will shape it to the story by adding buildings or a pinch of magic. Cornwall used to be just touched upon when I wrote but now it is front and centre.

  • This was a tough one, all I can think about is that I would love to be part of A Nightmare Before Christmas. That, or my favourite character Harley Quinn.

  • I like to think I'm a decent enough book. I'm always willing to try new things and cook them too. I usually make something revolving around pasta, that is my go to. Lasagne, carbonara, you name it.

  • Not until sixth form/college, which I think makes me a late bloomer. I was more of a passionate reader who wished he could write before then but never tried. I never thought I could write anything someone would read. To start with my writing was escapism in college and from there it got out of control. Now I have written so many different pieces, it seems crazy looking back and the amount I am writing just keeps growing.

  • You have nothing to lose, write, read and repeat. I was too scared to write anything and when I finally did it, it was the best thing I did. That was the same with publishing. You just have to be brave and know that there will always be someone who loves your work and someone who doesn't, but as long as you love what you do, it doesn't matter.

  • I have a mischievous little Jack Russell called Narla. She was my partner's dog before I met him and she was named after the Lion King character Nala (spelt wrong by my Cornish partner apparently on purpose, according to him this is the Cornish spelling). Although it might seem strange to have a dog named after a big cat, it is very fitting. She will love you and be affectionate, then she wants nothing to do with you. She is a little princess. The only characteristics that truly make her a dog are her obsession with balls and walks.

  • A dog. Living rent free, meals prepared for me, all the attention. Who wouldn't want to be a dog?

  • I have to listen to whatever feels right for the scene or nothing at all. It varies from very angry rock music to break up songs, then musical numbers and acoustic sad songs. Whatever fits best with the scene.

  • https://www.amazon.co.uk/J-C-Berry/e/B09CYRV2HB?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000
  • https://www.facebook.com/jcberrywriter
  • https://www.instagram.com/jcberrywriter/

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