Meet FSF Net Author, Will Macmillan Jones

Have Frog, Will Travel, by Will Macmillan Jones

Have Frog, Will Travel, by Will Macmillan Jones

Today on Meet the Author, please join me for an interview with Fantasy Science Fiction Network (FSFN) member, Will Macmillan Jones. Will stopped by to talk about writing his hilarious novel, Have Frog, Will Travel.

A. R. Silverberry: Tell us a little about yourself?

 

Hi, my name’s Will and I’m an authorholic, (a term coined by another writing friend, one M T McGuire. But she didn’t copyright it in time, so I’ve nicked it. There’s a lesson in there, somewhere). It means that I’m so addicted to writing that it would be dangerous to my health to stop me: a fact I frequently pointed out to my ex-wife whenever she wanted me to mow the lawn or take out the trash… Other than that I’m a fifty something single parent, who loves blues, rock, and jazz and watching International Rugby on the TV. I live in Wales, a lovely, green and verdant land full of mystery and magic. I do my best to support our local culture by drinking local beers and shouting loudly at the TV whenever the Rugby is on.

 

If not watching Rugby, or drinking beer, I’m out walking the hills and fells and peering into caves in the hope of meeting a dragon. Obviously not the ex, I’ve already met her.

 

A. R. Silverberry: What inspired you to write Have Frog, Will Travel?

 

Primarily it was the contract to supply another installment in my Banned Underground collection of fantastically funny fantasy books. I’m supposed to write two of these a year, to keep both publisher and public happy. Oh, you meant the subject matter? You should have said so at first. Well, the main character is a witch: she’s supposed to be a good, or white witch, but has a bad temper, a bad attitude, and a bad habit of turning people into frogs for a short spell. (It could be for a longer spell, but she isn’t very tall.) For this book, I wanted to see how she would react to being tempted/blackmailed towards joining the Dark Side, and to see what she really felt about being good. And what being ‘good’ in magic as opposed to being good at magic really meant to her. More importantly, I had a substantial collection of jokes left over from the previous book that I wanted to use up.

 

A. R. Silverberry: What does your heroine, Grizelda, yearn for?

 

To be really, really, honest I think she yearns for a better broomstick, and a really high-class pond for her collection of exotic frogs. Did you know that there’s actually a Wolverine frog that can suddenly have claws appear from its joints? It’s true, that is, although sadly (for the girls) it looks nothing like Hugh Jackman. But mostly I think she yearns for me to give her an easier time in the books. That is so not going to happen, but don’t tell her I said that. A week in a pond doesn’t appeal to me.

 

A. R. Silverberry: What’s the novel about and who would enjoy it?

 

Of course it’s about a moral dilemma. Or maybe an immoral dilemma? But it’s also about the setting of that dilemma, and the way the various other characters have interacted to set the circumstances for that particular piece of soul searching. After all, no one wakes up one morning and decides to go off for three days to think about their life, do they? Or maybe they do: I normally only do that after a late night snack of cheese and merlot. My rubbish is usually read by those who find that they have looked at life and seen the joke: and like to laugh at the passages where I am trying to point a finger at some of the ironies and idiocies of life around us. After all, when the whole point of living is to die, what else is there to do but laugh at the absurdities we’ve created for ourselves along the way? Like the repair crew holding a birthday party for a well-known pothole in the road. Not telling you what the strippergram they hired did at the party…

 

A. R. Silverberry: What do you think makes for great fantasy fiction?

 

That’s a really simple answer: imagination. A good fantasy writer – and I know a few, and have read books by a lot more – has to have a vivid imagination, and a skill with words to bring that imagination glowing white hot to the page. After that, anything is fair game, isn’t it? Imagination should have no limits.

 

A. R. Silverberry: Who are some of your biggest influences as a writer?

 

Hahahahaha! You thought I was going to say Tolkien, didn’t you? Oh, wait, I am, actually. But more immediate for me than JRRT come Alan Garner, Robert Rankin, and Sir Terry Pratchett. Alan Garner, author of The Wierdstone of Brisingamen, The Moon of Gomrath, The Owl Service and many others wrote tales aimed first at children: but from such a background of celtic lore that I was blown away when I first read his books. In fact I’m citing him first because it was his work that made me want to start writing. Robert Rankin, owner of a seriously bizarre imagination which should really have a cultural preservation order slapped on it, showed me that fantasy could be about fun instead of just a bunch of seriously muscled blokes (possibly underendowed in other, important, areas and overcompensating) hitting at each other with improbably large swords: and finally Sir Terry has taught me that it is quite possible within a fantasy book to show a great deal of who you really are as a person, as a writer, as a human. I’m going to try that.

 

A. R. Silverberry: How do you approach crafting a novel?

 

You think what I do is crafted? Really? The only craft I employ is in convincing my publisher that hidden inside the insane number of gags in each of the books is a plot line. He actually proposed once when we were down the pub together that we should have a competition amongst the readers, with a prize for the first one to spot the plot. Ha ha, I told him. I’m the one who’s supposed to be the comedian, not you. Actually, I can remember the first time I was told I was a comedian. It was my Bank manager when he was looking at my application for a mortgage but I think it still counts.

 

A. R. Silverberry: What’s ahead for you?!

 

The next Banned Underground book, due next year and called Working Title (no, really, that’s not the working title, it is called Working Title) is going to touch on another subject that’s quite close to my heart. But I’m not going to tell you what it is, I’d rather you all went out and bought the book and found out that way. I can promise the usual crowd of jokes, puns, slapstick and wit though, as two competing rock n roll bands made up of my fantasy characters go out on tour. Cue for another poor review on Librarything I expect, like the last one – ‘I could not find it funny or believable that the bass player was a dragon. His claws would just get in the way on the frets, I know this because I’m a bass player’… Oh dear. And I’d been worried about stereotyping.

 

About Have Frog, Will Travel:

 

“Tolkien meets Spinal Tap!”

 

More speculative fiction from The Banned Underground collection: in this sixth outing for the series, Grizelda (the off-white witch) is forced to speculate about her future in fiction when the Dark Lord tempts her with his cookies, and then threatens her with eviction from her cottage if she doesn’t join The Dark Side.

 

Tempted, Grizelda sets off on a journey of self-discovery, but whatever is she likely to find, apart of course from a few frogs?

 

Is it Good to be Bad? Or is it Bad to be Good? Or could there be a Third Way? Frogs, vampires, and assorted witches and wizards all have a different view on her predicament, and the only certainty is Grizelda’s uncertainty … and the usual stream of gags, one-liners and slapstick jokes provoked by her thoughts on philosophy.

 

‘Lord Of The Rings as written by a stand up comedian to the soundtrack of Led Zeppelin IV’ said a reviewer on The Guardian’s Books page.

 

Purchase Have Frog, Will Travel:

 

Amazon.com

 

Amazon.UK

 

Barnes and Noble

 

Kobo Books

 

About Will Macmillan Jones:

 

Will Macmillan Jones lives in Wales, a lovely green, verdant land with a rich cultural heritage. He does his best to support this heritage by drinking the local beer and shouting loud encouragement whenever International Rugby is on the TV. A fifty something lover of blues, rock and jazz he has just fulfilled a lifetime ambition by filling an entire wall of his home office with (full) bookcases. When not writing, he is usually lost with the help of a satnav on top of a large hill in the middle of nowhere, looking for dragons.

 

His major comic fantasy series can be found at:

 

The Banned Underground

 

Information on his other work and stuff in general at:

 

willmacmillanjones.com

 

There’s a blog. There’s always a blog, isn’t there? willmacmillanjones.wordpress.com

 

And Twitter : @macmillanjones

 

And Facebook

 

The Fantasy & Science-Fiction Network  (FSF Net) is dedicated to helping fans find the very best fantasy & sci-fi books for children and adults (both young and old) that do not exceed a PG-13 rating. FSF Net seeks to be a primary source for the latest G/PG/PG-13 fantasy/science-fiction (sci-fi) news. Follow them on Facebook.

 

Will Macmillan Jones, Author of Have Frog, Will Travel

Will Macmillan Jones, Author of Have Frog, Will Travel

7 Comments

  • Posted October 9, 2014 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Nice interview and Will, obviously you will be hearing from my lawyer… Oh alright, look everyone, I’ll forgive Will if you all go and buy one of his books.

    Cheers

    MTM

  • Posted October 10, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    What a fun interview with a fun author! I’ve read some of his work and he’s brilliant.

  • Posted October 10, 2014 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    If lawsuits in the States could only be settled so effectively, MT! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Posted October 10, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for stopping by, Lalo!

  • Posted October 10, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    3 mm, will?! LOL!

  • Posted October 10, 2014 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Knowing Wales, and particularly Anglesey and RAF Valley I found this book and references to these places highly amusing.

    Something slightly The Goon Show about The Banned, and loved the interview too.

  • Posted October 11, 2014 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    Cool, Caro, sound like Will nails it with this one! Thanks for stopping by!

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