Knox Box of Miscellany

Dawn Knox – A rearranger of words into something hopefully meaningful…

Spotlight on Author, Jim Bates

An interview with author, Jim Bates.

Author Jim Bates
Author, Jim Bates

Although I’ve never met Jim face to face, we’ve been friends for some time, having ‘met’ virtually on Paula Readman’s Facebook group, For Writers only, The Clubhouse. We both regularly write short stories for CafeLit and also record stories which are broadcast on Tony Cranston’s Talking Stories programme on East London Radio and have exchanged emails from time to time. Jim has a new book about to be published and I thought I’d find out more.

Dawn – Thanks for joining us, Jim. Can you tell us about your next book release, please?

Jim – I am thrilled to announce that my next book release with be my FIRST book release! LOL!! Its publication has been slowed due to the pandemic but it is scheduled for release later this year. It’s a collection of 27 short stories, most, but not all, previously seen on CafeLit. Its title is “Resilience” and it’s being published through Bridge House Publishing. Next year, I will also have a collection of Flash Fiction coming out in 2021 published by Chapeltown Books. I’m very excited!

Resilience Cover. Book by Jim Bates
Resilience by Jim Bates

Dawn – I know you’re a prolific writer, but how did you first become interested in writing?

Jim – I enjoyed reading as a kid and always wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first story while in the fourth grade which, of course, was horribly awful. My father told me that after I grew up and had more life experiences other than playing hockey and blowing on the trombone, I’d have more to write about. He was right! It just took me over fifty years to get around to starting.

Dawn – Do you prefer to write in any particular genre and if so, which?

Jim – I prefer literary fiction such as flash fiction and short stories. I like working with characters, putting them in situations and seeing how they will react in those situations. I’m very comfortable in that genre. That being said, I do enjoy dabbling in drabbles, and writing some horror and fantasy and science fiction, primarily to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone. 

Dawn – Are there any genres that you avoid and if so, why?

Jim – I’d take a stab at any genre, just for the challenge, but if I did romance or erotica, I promise you that the end result would be extremely embarrassing!!

Dawn – Is there a genre that you haven’t yet tried which you intend to and if so what’s holding you back?

Jim – Nope. I’m pretty much open to trying anything.

Dawn – Of all the stories you’ve written, which is your favourite and why?

Jim – Right off the bat, “Remembrance Day” comes to my mind. It was the first story accepted for publication by CafeLit, the first story of mine that ever appeared on-line and it’s the first story in my collection. It’s the first story where I really felt I began to find my voice. My story “The Jump” also in my collection would be second choice because it’s kind of funny.

Dawn – Have any of your characters ever decided to take things into their own hands and write themselves a bigger part or a different part than you’d intended? If so which one?

Jim – That’s a very interesting question, and my answer is YES. Last year I started writing a science fiction series for the fun of it that was planned out to be ten episodes long. Not only did I find a publisher for the stories, but the characters wouldn’t let me stop at the planned ten episodes. I’ve written two more episodes and have ideas for more. The characters keep evolving and I’m not in the mood to let them go, so who knows how long the series will go on? LOL!

Dawn – Is there a specific word count to which you usually work either intentionally or unintentionally?

Jim – No. You’d be surprised how many of my stories start out as 75 pieces that I sent to Paragraph Planet. I can then take them and craft them into a 100 word drabble and/or expand the drabble to a flash fiction or longer story. It’s really fun. My earlier stories were much longer, some at 12k or more!! I don’t limit myself to word count unless it’s some sort of restriction based on where I’m submitting. 

Dawn – With my latest publication, ‘The Macaroon Chronicles’ in mind, I’m going to ask you a few fun, food-related questions! So, here goes! Does food feature greatly in your current release or work in progress?

Jim – LOL!! Only in the back of my mind when trying to put off having a snack!

Dawn – Do you like macaroons? If so do you prefer coconut or almond?

Jim – I love macaroons, specifically coconut. In fact, I wrote a short story once about a guy with celiac spruce (intolerance to gluten) that mentioned coconut macaroons. It was published a while ago on CafeLit if I recall correctly. (And, yes, I have celiac spruce.)

Dawn – In ‘The Macaroon Chronicles’, on the Isle of Macaroon, there are Meringue Mountains with chocolate waterfalls, cheese mines and a custard river. Imagine you were to visit the Isle of Macaroon which one of those sites would you visit first? And why?

Jim – I’d head for the chocolate waterfalls as fast I could run. I love chocolate. My treat in the afternoon is a hot cup of coffee and a bit of a peanut butter/rice crispy bar with chocolate lathered on top of it. I get them at the grocery store. Love them! So, yes, the chocolate waterfall would be my decadent downfall!!

Dawn – Well, my thanks to Jim Bates for taking the time to join me today on my blog to tell us a bit about himself and his writing. I wish him the greatest luck with his new release, ‘Resilience’, when it’s published.

In addition to the soon to be released collection of Short Stories by Bridge House Publishing entitled “Resilience”, Jim will also have a collection of Flash Fiction coming out in 2021 published by Chapeltown Books.Find out more about Jim on his blog The View from Long Lake