Sunday, 27 October 2013


BLURB from Goodreads

A man is found murdered.

There’s suspicion the computer system he worked with is involved in an ongoing fraud.

IT consultant Roger Osborne finds himself hurled into the middle of a nightmare when he discovers David Peacock's body in his apartment is Perth. But that is the only the start of a horrific sequence of events that find him and his wife Samantha immersed in fraud and murder as they try to uncover the truth. Only one thing is certain, their lives will have changed irrevocably.

If they survive.

“The idea behind the novel is exciting; Suspense is built masterfully and the characters retain distinct edges.”

British Publisher.

In a similar vein to the films Let Me In & Let The Right One In, there are two versions of this intense thriller, one set in a non-English speaking environment, Saudi Arabia, (green cover); the other set in an English-speaking environment, Australia, (blue cover). The novels are as identical as they can possibly be, the main difference being some of the motivations behind the actions and the scenes.


What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
Jonathan Frame.  I was born in Birmingham and I’ve gradually drifted northwards so I now live in Cheshire.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I never really considered writing as a career when I was at school.  Initially I  wanted to be a software developer, which I did become but after reading the book Dr. Rat by William Kotzwinkle, I began thinking about it.  There are a few similarities between writing computer systems and writing fiction, and probably writing factual work too.  Planning, plotting, logical progression from one scenario to another.  They’re all key components to be producing something successful and user-friendly.

When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
When I wrote my first short story when I was seventeen.  It was a sci-fi short story encompassing an aspect of quantum physics.  It wasn’t a bad effort really although I was never able to place it and it no longer exists.  At that point I saw myself as a writer.

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
Yes!  After trying to get agents and publishers interested, I ended up going down the self-publishing route.  Although in the 1980s I did try a hand at rock journalism and managed to get a couple of articles printed in fanzines.

Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
Yes, I work in the IT industry full-time.  It’s that that pays the bills and the writing is done as and when I can fit it in.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
The last published book of mine is Cat’s Paw.  A description in less than 20 words?  Hhmmmm.
‘A thriller about fraud, betrayal & murder, in two versions, to prove dual-settings aren’t confined to Scandavian-set crime novels.’
(Just did it!)

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
Currently I self-publish but maybe the next one won’t be self-published.
Do you have a "lucky charm" or "lucky routine" you follow when waiting for your book to be accepted by a publisher?
Not really.  Mainly because I haven’t been accepted by a publisher.  Yet!

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Roughly 15 – 20 months.  There tends to be an overlap between the latest one and the last one as I start the new one and alternate between that and redrafting the current one.

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
Cat’s Paw was fairly easy to write because a certain amount of it I based on things I had encountered.  The hardest was the first, Can’t Buy Me Love.  I was attempting satire and on reflection it isn’t really a style that best fits me.  Plus the computer I was using was playing up – I kept having to reinstall Windows!   And work demands were great then so it was written in a bitty sort of way.  This isn’t the ideal way to write.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
A combination of thrillers, historical fiction, anything really.  In fact To Become Like Gods is intended to be the first of a trilogy and I have a number of other ideas waiting to be developed.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I am currently working on another thriller, this one around art forgery. And after that is a more sci-fi-ish/dystopian type of thriller then another historical novel.

What genre would you place your books into?
I would say I don’t intend to stick to any particular genre by choice, it’s just whatever inspiration takes hold.

What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I write whatever I’m inspired to write.   If I had to point the finger, it would be at people like William Kotzwinkle who has written an eclectic mix of books.

Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
I guess Cat’s Paw, the latest one.  I like everything I’ve written.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
Difficult.  Nasser Al-Zori from Cat’s Paw is a character whose role expanded from what it was originally going to be.  It would be interesting to write a book on him.

If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
I don’t think I’d want to be any of my characters.  Not that I dislike them at all!

How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
My writing career is split into 2 phases.  I started off by writing sci-fi short stories and moved up to novels, inspired by William Kotzwinkle and Isaac Asimov.   This would have been in the 1980s/1990s.  All in all, I wrote about 6 books-worth of material, four novels and two collections of short stories.  Then I stopped for a few years while I focussed on my IT career and came back to it, this time away from the sci-fi area.  I worked on both Can’t Buy Me Love and To Become Like Gods at the same time, very different books, then settled down into the groove I’m in today.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?  What/Who is your inspiration?
Pretty much the catalyst is always what if?  I read books from a number of different genres. I enjoy movies across a wide range of subjects. And I write where the creative spark takes me.
This has led me to publish 3 books spanning different genres. My most recent work is Cat's Paw, a thriller. Before that was a reworking of the Daedalus & Icarus and Minotaur myths, To Become Like Gods. And before that was a satirical comedy/drama based around the amateur adult movie industry, Can't Buy Me Love.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
Not really, apart from like quite a lot of writers I rise early in the morning, between 5 and 5.30, so I can do some writing before I go out and earn a living!  For some reason though, I always struggle to be creative on Saturdays.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them? ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
I inveigle whoever I can to read them.  Fortunately friends and family are fans!  At least that’s what they tell me.  It doesn’t stop them from criticising when they feel the need to.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
If somebody asks, yes.  I can do ebooks and paperbacks. 

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes although if it is critical I probably skip through it.  Conversely, if it was positive, I’d spend more time on it.  To be fair, most critics do have a point so I do try and take on board what people say.

What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
One that stands out, and I admit it doesn’t really fall into either toughest or best categories, was for one of my sci-fi short stories.  The criticism was too many S’s.   It reminds me of the comment made by Emperor Joseph II of Austria to Mozart about The Marriage of Figaro – ‘too many notes, Mozart’.  Not that I’m claiming I’m the literary equivalent to Mozart!

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
Not if it was simply critical.  But if I felt they had made a mistake or misunderstood something, I would seek to correct it.  If the reviewer simply said, I don’t like it because of x, y, z then I would accept it.  You’re never going to please everyone.

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?  Who designed the Cover of your books?
I’ve designed all the covers myself.  Can’t Buy Me Love was a composite of images and quite tricky to get right.  In fact, I couldn’t get it exactly how I wanted it, so in the end I had to make do with a compromise.  To Become Like Gods and Cat’s Paw are just single images I liked.  I think To Become Like Gods is the simplest and probably the best, the helmet standing out against a black background.  Cat’s Paw has a techno feel to it and works well with the different colour schemes, (although I am a little colour blind), to distinguish between the alternative versions of it.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
A mixture of the two.  I have an idea and a working title but so far with each of my books, the title changes as the book develops.   With the one I’m working on at the moment, and I’m redrafting it, I haven’t come up with a better title, so this one might stick.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Quite often, especially for non-English names, I go through lists of football teams and amalgamate first and last names from the squads!  And for some of the English ones, come to think of it.

Are character names and place names decided after there their creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
The name tends to come first.  In fact, I can’t think of any situation where I’ve changed a name.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I’ll have a vague sketch of the character’s character then tend to fill it out as I go along.

Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I have an idea and usually the ending so I just need to work out how to get there.   Typically, I might have a handful of scenes I want to incorporate but generally I’ll just allow the writing to flow and that has led to some of my best writing, I think.  In To Become Like Gods, there’s a sea battle in which came in during the one of the redrafts.   And in Cat’s Paw, there’s an interrogation scene in a car park which I think is very good which I developed during a redraft. 
In fact, the last page of To Become Like Gods I did just before it published back in 2011 because I thought the ending as it was before was just a bit too sudden.

How do you market/promote your books?
Any way I can!  I managed to get a radio interview for Can’t Buy Me Love on the BBC.  Generally it’s by trying to a presence on the web, contacting local papers and so on.  Any suggestions and hints gladly welcome!

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
It has to have a flow and follow a logical course.  Think of it like a river that carries you along.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
When I was writing To Become Like Gods, I hit a wall about a third of a way in.  I decided to do something completely different and as I had been reading a couple of Ben Elton, I thought let’s see if I can write a book in that style and that’s how Can’t Buy Me Love came about. 

What do you do to unwind and relax?  Do you have a hobby?
At the moment writing is a hobby!  But I also enjoy running, watching movies, and football.  For a while, I was an amateur football referee too.

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
I’ve used people, or at least amalgamations of people, and incidents in all my books.  Sometimes it works to have these anchors in reality.  The computer system in Cat’s Paw, in fact, is based on one I used to work.

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
There are messages but I wouldn’t say they are hidden, not deliberately so anyway.

Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
I would list three people as influences.  William Kotzwinkle whose book Doctor Rat started me thinking about writing, a brilliantly dark book: Christopher Priest, whose book The Space Machine was the first book I read exploring the idea of an alternative history – a Victorian sci-fi novel, fantastic idea, wish I’d thought of it!  And finally singer songwriter Bruce Cockburn who as well as being a fine guitarist also has a particular style of writing lyrics I admire.

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook, hardback, or paperback?
Paperbacks.  I don’t have an ebook reader anyway but I prefer reading something as a hard copy anyway.

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
I don’t have a favourite book.  There aren’t too many fiction books I’ll reread.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst  book to movie transfer?
They can do.  I’ve not seen that many movie-adapted books where I’ve read the original source.  I thought the Harry Potter books worked well and Lord of the Rings.  I was less impressed with the Hobbit.  Having read HeadHunters, I would like to see that film but what I understand the movie doesn’t deviate too much from the book.  If I’ve read the book, generally I don’t feel the need to see the movie.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.  I’m quite enjoying it but I find I’m looking at how it’s constructed as much as reading the story itself.  As well as figuring out where I would have done things differently – improving it of course ;-)

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
No.   At least not for a few hundred years anyway.   It will need a couple of generation ready via solely electronic devices before printed books become an endangered species.  But I suspect there’ll always be a place for printed books.

Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
In certain schools yes.  But I do wonder if the emphasis on league tables means that children can be left to their own devices, electronic or otherwise, and perhaps aren’t encouraged to indulge in activities that don’t benefit their ability to pass exams.  It’s probably more incumbent on parents to encourage their children to read and write.

Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
I did read a lot.  I didn’t write so much then, mainly because that was school-work.  I did write a particularly gory piece on WW1 which my history teacher complained about.  Many years later, I discovered my depiction of the gore was probably more accurate than the slightly sanitized version he had been promoting.

Did you have a favourite author as a child?
I always like Nicholas Fisk’s work.  Plus the Narnia books.

Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
The one book I recall I really liked was a book I got when I was about 8 or 9 which was an illustrated book about the human body.  Absolutely fascinating.  I think I’d seen the movie Fantastic Voyage as well so the book fitted into that too.

Do you have a favourite genre of book?
Not really.
Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
Anything by Terry Pratchett.  I tried the Colour of Money and got bored with it.  It’s surprising because his work contains a number of elements I should like but I just don’t like his stuff.

Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
Apart from me?!?  To be honest, I don’t really have time to read books or investigate new writers so I honestly can’t comment.

Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
If I was writing Can’t Buy Me Love now, there are one or two things I’d change.  Nothing major.

What do you think about book trailers?
I’ve no real opinion about them.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Writing the book is only half the story!   Drafting and redrafting is critical and you need to have strong opinions about how your book should be marketed and so on.

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
Mea Culpa.  Jonathan Frame is a pen name!  People struggle with spelling my real name so I opted for something that, when you say it, you should have a pretty good idea about how it is spelt.  Also I read somewhere in a bookshop, typically people are initially drawn to authors in the range F – P, because of the layout of the shop.   Of course, there are so many exceptions, I guess it’s probably an urban legend!

If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
I would go with Bill Bryson (I did meet him briefly in Durham and he gave a wonderful lecture).   He is a very relaxed style of writing.  An Oracle technologist called Tom Kyte.  I enjoy working with Oracle databases so I’d welcome the opportunity to pick his brains.  And I’ll go with Bruce Cockburn, (he counts because he’s completing his autobiography!),  as my third guest but I’d ask him to perform a short set too.  I’d also have William Kotzwinkle and Phillip Pullman on standby in case any of the others couldn’t make it.

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