Author’s Spotlight: Chris Jones Interview

Chris Jones, author of the Mean Lou Green series of flash fiction

1. First, introduce yourself a bit. What is your name (or pen name) and where are you from?

My pen name is Chris Jones and I’m from Massachusetts USA. Maybe once I become famous I’ll be forced to reveal my true name…

2. Next, tell us a bit about your most recent work. Is this your first published book? What is it about and what genre would you classify it as?

I just released the first three volumes of a brand new style of fiction. Each volume has ten separate super-short flash fiction stories about the same characters. This series is called Mean Lou Green: Only Outlaws are Free, and it’s a raucous, untamed Wild West pulp fiction series. It’s only digital right now, but once I have six volumes I’ll release them together in paperback.

3. Tell us a bit about your main character; what are they like, how did they come about, and what are some of their strengths and weaknesses?

Mean Lou Green is a rambling gunslinger who turned to bounty hunting after his family met a grisly end. He’s on a quest to reach the Pacific and dip his dead son’s silver dollar into the salt water to fulfill a promise he made to his wife, but his lifestyle and fears about what comes after that keep him running in circles, jumping from one hair-raising adventure to the next.

4. What was your hardest scene to write in this (or any) book?

I wrote a scene/story about Lou getting a bullet dug out of his guts without anesthetic by a local sawbones. I did a lot of research about Civil War era medicine and amputations, and that was a horrifying process… Made me thankful to have all my limbs intact!

5. Did you go the traditional route when publishing your book or did you choose to self-publish?

Self-publishing. Both because I’m too small at the moment to work through a publisher and because I like to have complete creative freedom over my writing, distribution, marketing, and everything else… Especially since my work isn’t exactly PC or made for the masses.

6. What would you say is the most difficult part of your writing journey and what advice would you give to other writers?

Writing consistently every day. A quote by Faulkner I always keep in mind is: “I only write when I’m inspired. Luckily, inspiration hits at 9am sharp every morning.”

7. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I’ll be writing in all different settings and genres so the series will be disconnected, but I’ll be writing many volumes in each series. I want my readers to know that whether it’s cowboys, pirates, Vikings, or knights, they’re in for an action-packed fun ride.

8. What are some of your favourite authors and books and what inspired you to become a writer in the first place?

Robert E. Howard’s Conan is a huge inspiration. Raymond Chandler’s pulp novels are the best and set the standard for my style. It’s a bit cliché, but I didn’t decide to become a writer… I’ve actually run from it my whole life, but I’ve always known since I wrote my first story about sea-raiders ransacking a medieval village when I was around eight or nine that it was what I was born to do. I wrestle back and forth with it, but in the end, it feels like my inescapable fate.

9. What would you say has been the best way to market your books?

I’ll let you know once I’m a bestseller 😉

10. Are there any tropes, clichés, or writing styles that you dislike and, if so, what are they and why?

I don’t like long, difficult writing that I have to slog through. I quoted Faulkner earlier, but his books are actually the worst I’ve ever (not) read. I like fast, fun, and easy. If I wanted verbose intellectual meanderings and cumbersome vocab (like that) I’d read a textbook instead.

11. Do you read reviews of your book and, if so, how do you handle negative feedback?

Yes, the negative ones are actually the most valuable, especially if they’re from someone you know. I’ve made enormous improvements in my writing after getting negative feedback. Positive feedback is a little hit of pleasure, but negative feedback is a GOLDMINE.

12. What are some of your quirks as a writer? Do you like to plot everything out or do you prefer to just “wing it” and see where the story takes you? Do you listen to music when writing and, if so, what do you listen to?

I’ve tried plotting and failed… Tried again and again, failed… I can’t do it. It’s not how my brain works. That’s why I’m developing a completely new style of fiction around the way I write. I get a quick idea, then I sit down and hammer away at the keyboard while the story tells itself in my head. I never plan events, endings, characters, nothing. I just let the story unfold in my mind and try to put it down accurately on paper. I think that’s what gives my writing such a light and wild feel. I rarely go back and edit storylines, rarely spend much time polishing. I let the story tell itself. I’ll never write a Game of Thrones, and that’s just fine by me!

13. What is the best advice you’ve ever had when it comes to writing and what advice would you give to new writers?

I think it’s crucial to prioritize execution and not try to be the next Cormac McCarthy. Writers often get caught up in trying to put out some grand Shakespearean masterpiece and agonize over every little detail, and 9/10 times it never even gets released. I try to live by the Pareto Principle and focus on action, speed, and RELEASING my work, even if it’s only 80% perfect. There will be plenty of time later to edit and release second editions. An imperfect work that gets released is infinitely better than a “masterpiece” that you never hit the Send button on. You’ll keep learning and improving as long as you’re releasing and getting feedback, and eventually the masterpieces will flow out effortlessly. Everything is all about just building up that momentum and never letting it die.

To put it very bluntly: Perfectionists never get anything DONE.

14. What’s next for you? Are you currently working on any new books or stories?

I’m slamming out as many of these short volumes as I possibly can, across all different settings and genres. I’m starting a new pirate series now. Adventure and conquest on the high seas. I plan to completely revolutionize the modern fiction and entertainment industry and bring back the epic, fun, heroic tales from the 20th century, in a format specifically designed for modern readers who are losing their taste (and attention spans) for long-form.

I’ll soon be bringing on other writers, as well as artists and designers and storytellers of all kinds. Together we will spearhead a new era of entertainment and make fiction great again.

15. Finally, feel free to plug your social media, website, and links to Amazon, GoodReads, and other relevant sites below, and detail any current offers available for your book/s:

Right now I’m most active on Instagram as I’m growing my new business. I post lots of art and cool graphics that I like to create an awesome and aesthetic atmosphere on my page.

You can check out my work at my website. It goes to my Gumroad store for now, where you can download my various flash-fiction volumes for dirt cheap. Mean Lou Green Vol. 1 is FREE, so anyone can check it out and see if they dig my style. They’re formatted super clean for mobile, PC, or e-reader so you’ll be able to read them easily.

You can also snag the first three volumes of Mean Lou Green on Amazon (Kindle only). Each volume is $1 on Amazon since I can’t make it free there.

So if you like lightning-fast stories, high adventure, and pulse-pounding action, then strap in for a wild ride with Chris Jones Pulp Fiction Empire.

If you’d like to be featured in an interview, please check out the interview submissions page to submit your answers.

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