Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Robert David Jones. I was born in South Australia in 1990 and graduated from Adelaide University in 2007 as a geologist. I worked in exploration for a while where I got to live in the breathtaking Australian outback. I played in hard rock bands for about six years and got to tour the world in one of them a few years ago. I have always been a writer and originally wrote poetry and songs. More recently I have been studying and writing about mythology, and even more recently began writing my own fiction. I love art, I love to create. To me, it is as important as breathing.
Why do you write?
I write because I have to. If I don’t then I feel like my creativity is being bottled up and then life becomes dull and grey. I think writing is kind of therapeutic, it’s like dreaming, you can spill out everything from your subconscious and work it all out into stories. And then when you look back you begin to understand more about yourself. I guess that is the essence of art. To spill out your own emotion so that another person can pick it up and connect with it. It lets us feel less alone in the world.
Beyond that, I write because I love it! I love to create stories, when you are in that moment of creation, you become alive and enveloped with what you are writing. Your characters come to life and hijack the story. Seriously, they make the decisions and you have to clean up their mess. Then when you are done, you sit back at the desk and just think, wow, I created this world, these people, this story from nothing and yet here it all is… It’s an amazing feeling and I encourage everyone to try it.
What are your favourite books?
The first thing that popped into my head is Dante’s Divine Comedy so I guess I had better mention it. That was a powerful read, both because I have a fascination with history, theology and spiritualism but also because it was a real study in what it is to be human. Plus it’s a wild ride through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. It’s one of my favourite works. Beyond that, I just finished reading the first of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire series and was totally blown away. I can’t wait to read the rest of the books. Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings has always had a place in my heart. When I was a kid, I loved the Deltora Quest books by Emily Rodda… maybe her books are the origins of my love for fantasy?… These are what first come to mind, but there are so many great reads and if you want to keep up to date with what I am reading, follow me on GoodReads, I am on there pretty often.
What’s your writing process?
I’m a trained scientists so I have had logic and analytics burnt into my brain. That is how I approach my writing. I create an overall story in my mind and sketch out the plan. Then I begin to fill it in with ideas of major scenes I want. After this, I start writing and usually the characters decide to change the plot as they go because they tend to want to do things to suit themselves. So then it is back to the plotting board to make changes. This goes back and forth for some time until the story is done. Then it is time for editing.
What is the hardest part of writing?
I don’t know if hard the right word is. Writing is a lot of work, but it is also a joy (except editing hahaha). Actually, there you go, editing is the hardest part. Next question! Seriously though, while writing the Isolde Saga I ran into a lot of problems with names. Isolde’s original name was Velga! The story has a Danish/Viking feel and I wanted to relay that in the names of things. Towns and cities gave me the most grief. I spent hours researching the way in which Old Norse settlements were named. But when I tried, my names looked so unnatural. I decided to use real names (you can find my villages in the real world if you look). I think I had a problem with names because I have a background in mythology. See, in myth, names have a great deal of meaning, for example, Prometheus in Greek means Fore-Thought which is telling of his personality. I wanted to do the same thing and was successful a lot of the time. But it took a lot of research to do.
Are you married?
Soon! I proposed to my beloved fiancée Lisa De Palo on the 28th of August, 2015. She is a beautiful soul, she puts fire into my life in the best possible way and pushes me to keep writing when the dark shadows of doubt come creeping in. Plus, I got to inherit her daughter as my own, and now I can say I have Shanti as a daughter which is so awesome. She’s in high school so I get to bounce ideas around with her about what is popular and how life is for a teenager. She’s a lot of fun, I love her attitude and wit.
What are your favourite things?
Food: I love food. It is seriously becoming a problem… Where do I even begin? When I was a kid, fried rice was my favourite. Now that I am with Lisa, I have loved eating all the traditional foods from her Italian family. Antipasto rocks, eating sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and cheese with some nice wine and good conversation. Now that is living!
Learning: The pursuit of knowledge has always been a big thing for me. I do believe in the adage “Knowledge is Power” and I know that it is true… but power has never been an interest to me. I learn because the world fascinates me. I want to know! I want to know everything! How does the human mind work? What was life like for our predecessors? What are the links between the world’s religions and spiritualities? How does the earth work? What is the meaning of life and death? I read and read and read, and for every answer I find, ten new questions reveal themselves. Learning is a real passion of mine. I think it gave birth to another love, collecting books!
Vacation: I haven’t had a vacation in so long and I am dying to go again. The best place I have ever been is Europe. I drove across the continent with some friends in 2014 and we visited Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria (for 15 minutes when the GPS got us lost in the Alps), France, Belgium, Holland (I think), Wales, and England. That was an amazing experience, I am a huge lover of history and seeing Charlemagne’s great cathedral in Aachen was a real highlight. Anyway, that was a few years ago now. Lisa and I have been talking about visiting the US for our honeymoon, we want to road trip from LA through the south and then maybe up the east coast. That would be amazing.
Season: Winter has always had a spot in my heart. It is the melancholy feel of dark and dreary days and nights. Hearing the rain fall on the roof when you’re rugged up in bed. The smell of wet grass and leaves and composting earth. Sitting inside with a crackling fire. To me, winter is ripe with emotion. Plus I actually love the feeling of the bitter cold wind licking at my skin. I tried to capture that feeling in The Black Witch where Isolde is enjoying the same thing.
Holidays: Christmas! Everything about it is amazing. I love the lead up all through December where you can feel the world around you excitedly pulsating to the ideals of charity and community. I believe in God, but no one in my family is overly religious. But we all respect the significance of Christmas. It is a time to appreciate what we have. For me, that is most definitely family, and I love everyone getting together for dinners and drinks.
One thing you would change about yourself?
I think one of my greatest weaknesses is also my greatest strength. When I get a mind to do something, I obsess over it to the point where it is the only thing in focus for me. For example, when I wrote Mythology Unveiled which was my first real book, I think I stayed up all night every night for over a year just to write the thing. And then, because I publish independently, I spent just as much time working out marketing and advertisement and websites and everything else (which I am still doing). I would talk about these things non-stop too (and still do because I love it) which drove my family crazy. Just ask them, they’ll tell you all about it.
Sometimes I think I live in a zoo (and between you and me… I love it). When I moved in with Lisa, she and Shanti had this tiny little dog called Chiko. He is a Miniature Pinscher and is probably the bravest thing I have ever seen. He had his heart set on eating me once. Then we got Bear (he’s my baby). The cutest English Staffy you will ever meet. He just wants hugs 24/7. Recently we got a yellow Indian Ringneck Parrot called Malibu. She’s a feisty little girl who seems to hate everyone except me. I don’t know why but she has decided that my hair is a good nest. Then we got a second Indian Ringneck, he’s the most beautiful blue and is a little older. His name is Alaska. Malibu doesn’t like him (she’s playing hard to get). Their relationship evolves daily, but fingers crossed they’ll get married and give us baby birds one day.
Plans for the future?
I guess in my writing world the plan is to keep producing fiction, I want to finish the Isolde Saga story but I also have a few other ideas that I want to explore. I have been musing with the idea of writing a few short stories and see which ones people love the best and then maybe write the popular ones into full-length books. In any case, writing is the plan for my writing future. For my personal future, I want to get married! But we’re still saving the money to do that. I also want to buy a house and see the world.