April 28th and 29th
Kate Glanville, Cheryl Rees-Price, Anne Signol, James Morgan, Robert Walton, Sam Smith, Colin Parsons, Graham Watkins, Peter Barker, Mary Prowles, GB Williams, Jewan Gill, Thompson Authors, Judith Arnopp, Lisa Shambrook, Thorne Moore, William Scott Artus, Judith Barrow, Dafydd Wyn, Nicola Beechsquirrel, Carol Lovekin, JK Samuel, ThunderPoint Publishing, CISP Multimedia, Cambria Publishing, Cyfoes
Meet the participants of the #LlandeiloLitFest / #LlandeiloBookFair: Will MacMillan Jones
Today we're meeting a favourite of the previous Book Fairs: Will MacMillan Jones. He will be present at the book fair on both days, and his popular and excellent talks and performances at the previous Book Fairs will be topped this year by a full hour long performance on
£2,71Darkness RisingPrepare to be thrilled, chilled and slightly scared by local poet and master storyteller, Will Macmillan Jones.Darkness Rising is a selection of darker tales and poems for teenagers and adults. Bardd lleol yn darllen straeon arswyd llawn cyffro.
Here is our Interview with Will. Welcome back Will, Please tell us about the books you’ll be bringing to the
I’ll have up to eighteen titles with me, spanning a range of
genres. First up: my comic fantasy collection, The Banned Underground. Next the Horror/paranormal series, then some
collections of short stories and poetry – these will form the basis of my hour
set in The Angel Inn on 20 April as part of the Festival, some childrens’
fantasy books and finally – if it is finished in time – my first Scifi
Which genres do they belong to?
The Banned Underground is a comic fantasy collection of
stand alone stories, based on the adventures of a dwarf Rock N Roll band and
their friends and enemies in a world that is almost our own – well, mainly
because it is our own world really. The music just spreads, you know? Full of
puns, gags, one liners and even a few subtle jokes; one of which made Jasper Fforde laugh a couple of years ago!
Suitable for anyone with a sense of humour (not supplied with book) and a
delight in the joy of living.
The Mister Jones Mysteries are an unfolding tale of horror.
The unfortunate Mister Jones has been pulled from his comfortable life by
horrors raised by his family’s dabbling with the occult. In a series of
adventures he slowly learns more about his family’s dark history – and himself.
Described by reviewers as tightly
written’; ‘oozing a constant stream of dread’; ‘a classic horror style reminiscent of de
Maupassant and Denis Wheatley’. Perfect reading by a fireside, while a storm
The poetry and short story collections come from two
backgrounds. The poetry: I’m a third of
The Tin Plate Poets collective from the Gwendraeth Valley. I specialise, I
suppose, in the darker themes in my poetry for what poet is not touched by the
darkness? I’ve won some awards with my Flash Fiction (that’s stories of less
than 1000 words) and these collections contain those and other tales with a
As I grew up loving childrens’ fantasy stories, especially
about dragons, I just had to write some and the first two will be with me at
the book fair.
What are the characters and plots like?
I love characters, all
sorts of characters and much of my work is character driven rather than plot
driven. In the fantasy stories I like the interplay between the not wholly evil
baddies and the not entirely squeaky-clean goodies; and that recognising their
own faults can make the characters both uncomfortable with themselves and
uncomfortably comfortable with each other. Oh, and there’s an on-off romance
between two dragons. What’s not to like?
In the Mister Jones Mysteries I have a very introverted,
quite formal main character who suppresses his emotions and usually feels
entirely inadequate to cope with the situations he falls into. Rather like most
of us, most of the time, I suspect. I enjoy mistreating him to try and provoke
a response! In these stories, the plots and the underlying story arc in the
collection – which can be read in any order up to now – are central to Mister
Jones main task – to understand himself by solving a series of problems. That
each problem is potentially fatal to him and to those around him just adds some
Tell us about your newest book.
Space Scout of The Free Union, which should be available by
the Festival, is a new departure for me. Scifi. I was invited by a publisher to
write a piece for an anthology about the First Contact between humans and
another species. When I was a teenager I was a huge fan of Scifi (yes, I’m a
geek to the core!) and I wanted to write a piece in the style I recalled from
the 1970’s – quite retro, I admit. A simple, uncomplicated adventure, with a
touch of humour and a twist in the tale at the end. Anyway, I found that I
enjoyed writing the piece so much that I forgot to stop, and suddenly found
that I had written an entire short novel around that setting. One editor called
it ‘Clint Eastwood in Space’ and I hope that she was trying to be
Which of your books are you’re most proud of, and why?
The Showing, the first of the Mister Jones Mysteries, was an
important work for me. First because it was a departure from writing jokes, and
secondly because the inspiration and setting are in fact real. My grandfather’s
house was either haunted or possessed, and this was a way of writing my
childhood terror of the house. There’s a lot of fact mixed into the fiction
there – and the book fought me every word. The manuscript had to be
continuously saved in three different places as it kept being corrupted or
vanishing; finishing it was cathartic. And it has been very well received.
The Satnav of Doom from The Banned Underground is probably
(with The Vampire Mechanic a close second) my favourite book – it certainly has
my favourite gag; but Working Title touches on things close to my heart. I’m
fervently anti racist, and the difficulties and prejudice experienced by those
just a bit different to ourselves is the underlying subject.
What is the best thing that has been said about your books?
I’ll cheat with three: conversations at book fairs last year and the year before;
‘Thank you so much for showing my daughter that there is a world of books she
will enjoy beyond Tracey Beaker as she gets older.’ Followed by ‘I read that one and had to sleep
with the light on for three nights.’ Or possibly ‘I bought one of those books
here last year. Can I have a copy of everything else you’ve written?’ All are true. Honest. Trust me, I’m a fantasy
Why did you decide to come to the Llandeilo Book Fair?
I’m a local author, I live just a few miles away. My
youngest daughter, now at University, went to school here. How could I keep
Do you have a special connection to Wales?
Oh yes. I wasn’t lucky enough to be born here – that was one
of my distant ancestors, who (according to family legend, there’s no
proof!) fled after being found stealing
sheep… But I’ve spent most of my life walking in the Welsh hills, valleys and
mountains, except for the years I spent jumping off them loosely attached to a
hang glider. The Celtic legends and folklore are part of my DNA. I couldn’t
wait for a chance to move here, and will never leave.
What is your personal background?
When I tell people that
I’m an International Taxation Consultant they all laugh. It’s very wounding,
because it is true – and one reason why the evil wizards in The Banned
Underground operate under the cover of being Chartered Accountants. Beside
that, I’m a storyteller and performance poet and as I said earlier, one of the
three Tin Plate Poets… I started writing my first novel when I was twenty four.
I still have it somewhere, together with all the rejection slips. Which, I may
say, it richly deserved.
Who are your favourite authors?
Oh, so very, very many. It
can vary according to mood. Today’s five, and in no particular order: Richard
Bach, for Illusions and Jonathon Livingston Seagull. Lindsey Davis for the Falco series of books,
bringing Ancient Rome – another passion of mine- to life. JRR Tolkien. ‘Nuff
said. Roger Zelazny, one of the greatest speculative fiction writers ever – his
novel Lord of Light has always been a major influence on me for the quality of
prose and width of imagination. Graham Greene. Again, the prose in The Quiet
American is a joy; and his stories are just astonishing.