Monday, 25 June 2012

Author Interview: Darren Jacobs

Darren Jacobs has co-written Lazarball.

1. What is your name and where do you call home?
My name is Darren Jacobs. I was born in Yorkshire, England, but I now live in Hollywood, USA, but I still call Yorkshire home (but it feels more like a holiday when I visit my family now). Plus I get fed. :)

2. What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or less words, what would you say?
Anumal Empire: Lazarball
Thundercats meets Planet of the Apes, with elements of Tron, but with action packed writing and a unique plot.

3. Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
We are just about to rewrite book two of the Anumal Empire series (which will be seven books in total.) We penned the first four books, but we have to do massive rewrites as a lot of the plot and structure was changed in Lazarball. We also have a couple more series that have all been developed, but need writing. The ideas, concept artwork, plots etc have all been finished…we just need to do it now.

4. What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
This is my first novel that I co-wrote with my best mate from back home, and I trained as a performer. I studied in London and New York on scholarships, and was lucky enough to travel the world as an actor working with fantastic directors and with great companies such as Disney, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures. I have always had an expressive streak running through me, and writing was a great way for me to still be artistic when I was doing long runs of shows. Sometimes I would be doing the same show eight times a week for a year, so going home after the show and writing would keep my creative side in check.

5. Do you gift books to readers for book reviews?
Yes. Until I have hordes of fans banging on my door to read the next book, then it only makes sense to gift books to get my novel out there into the big, wide world.

6. How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book?
This was a really exciting process for us. David Ayres’s (the co-writer) cousin is a graphic designer called Ben Wilkinson ( who really wanted to be a part of the project. We told him about the world, what colours and textures we wanted, and let him come up with different designs for the logo. Once we finally decided on a logo, he showed us what he thought we could use as a cover…and we LOVED it immediately. I think he has done a great job. The rusty metal sheets shows how the world is industrial, but is worn down and rough, and the blood splatter shows the danger and tension.

7. Would you have different book covers for different countries?
Yes, because different regions like different things. Of course I would like there to be a running theme, and something that links them all together, but I would not against it…unless I HATED the cover. That would be different.

8. How did you come up with the title for your book?
This is a great question as the title caused us a lot of problems. We wanted something catchy, intrinsically linked to the world, and different. And we pondered the dilemma for ages. We knew that we wanted book one to be called Lazarball, but the series name was different matter. For weeks David and I would fire names at each other over the internet, until we finally came up with Anumal Empire. But it really was a hard process.

9. Do you have a book trailer? And what are your thoughts on book trailers?
No, but I would love one. I think that they are a fantastic way to stir hype and get interest. Unfortunately, if they aren’t done correctly, they look naff! And unless you have the money to support you, you are going to find it hard to get enough funding to get the production value right. This could be a double-edged sword…

10. Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hardcovers or audiobooks?
I do prefer a hardcover only because I have to shove the book in my backpack most of the time, and paperbacks get damaged…did I mention my OCD about books? I can’t bend the spine, and many of my books look unread after finishing. It’s quite scary. I actually cringe when I see someone bend the pages around to the back or casually fold the corners.

11. Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it?
Wuthering Heights - It just struck such a chord with me. The Hobbit and LOTR – do I need to comment on that? The Harry Potters - I would reread every book as a new one was released. The Earthsea Quartet – classic.

12. Have you ever bought a specific edition of a book because of it’s cover? (For example a UK, US or Canadian version)
Yes, David Gemmel’s Drenai series. I had the option of buying the book with the old cover or the new cover. I went with the new cover as the other looked so outdated and like a seventies B-movie.

13. Have you ever read a book just based on it’s cover?
Yes, I read Sabriel by Garth Nix because of the cover alone. The cover is such an important element, and many people never realise this. I often just go to the bookshop to study the current trends in the covers. It was amazing when I was travelling the world to see how different regions had different styles.

14. Has the quality of the cover of a book ever put you off of reading it?
Absolutely! It’s a subconscious turn off, and I unless I get it recommended to me then I won’t read it if it has a bad cover.

15. What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky, and I’m really enjoying it. It is a paperback from the local library. I have been using the library more in LA as I promised myself I would not buy any books until I am more stable in the US. I simply cannot cart around suitcases full of books…which would easily happen if I had my way. My old room in my Mum’s house in the UK is literally like a library.

16. Do you have any advice for other writers? And what’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?
Probably what everyone ever says. Rewrite, reread, judge honestly, and rewrite again. Also, if you are writing for young adults, or children…don’t patronise. The reader will easily take offence. Then just write something that would interest you.
When some people have said they would love to write a book, but they are daunted by it, I ask them whether they think they could write a short story. Most of the time they say YES!!!!, so I reply with, well a novel is only a collection of short stories all encapsulated together. Each chapter is a new short story with a start, middle, and end…that must also have a point. 

17. Where can your readers follow you?

Twitter:           @darrenjcbs

Amazon:          USA-
                        UK -

Barnes and Noble:

Thankyou so much for taking the time to do this interview and allowing us a glimpse into your writing world!

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