I’m delighted to be hosting Oli Jacobs today. Oli’s novel Deep Down There is currently crowdfunding with Unbound. Find out more on the Unbound website.
Today you can find out his inspiration for Deep Down There, his author influences as well as the best (and worst) parts of his writing journey and much more. Enjoy!
The quiet residential community of Anton Court is a relatively boring place. That is, until their communal garden is replaced by a perfectly round, perfectly deep hole. As the residents – including single mother Hannah Suggs – decide what to do with the hole, they all become obsessed with it, and eventually decide to investigate it. Especially if it will stop the bad dreams and strange sounds at night…
Welcome to Jera’s Jamboree.
What was the idea/inspiration for your novel?
I came up with the idea for Deep Down There, as I do most tales, while on a walk to work. I was intrigued at the time with the idea of horror from the mundane, and the thought of a hole suddenly appearing, and the madness that ensues from such an event in a relatively calm surburban environment, began to bubble away. What began as a short story soon turned into the tome that it is today.
Who would you cast in the role of your characters if your book were optioned for a movie?
I actually had a clear idea of Deep Down There’s main character – Hannah Suggs – from the start: Freema Agyeman. I’m not sure why, but she perfectly matched the look and attitude of Hannah for how I imagined her overall character. When writing my books, I do sometimes fantasy cast, and for Deep Down There I did end up creating a whole ensemble while outsourcing some artwork. Let’s just say I was humbly ambitious…
Did you do any research Oli?
As Deep Down There revolves around a very, very deep hole, it was important to make sure that some aspects of dimension and plausibility were in keeping with reality. Or at least a little bit, anyway. I looked into the history of caving, and what deep parts of the Earth existed, such as Krubera Cave and the Mariana Trench. I also looked into the basics of materials used for such escapades, but deliberately kept it basic as from the point of view of the main characters, the knowledge would be limited anyway.
Do you have a theme for your book covers? Who designs them?
While there is no overall theme, I do have a couple of artists I regularly use for my book covers: CM Carter and Elaine M Will. CM Carter (http://www.cmcarter.co.uk/) is my main artistic muse, whose unique style brought to life the likes of Filmic Cuts and Kirk Sandblaster. Elaine M Will (http://blog.e2w-illustration.com/) was introduced to me through a mutual friend, and is an award-winning graphic novelist from Canada. Both are always excellent and I thoroughly recommend them to anyone looking for a unique cover design.
Which authors have influenced your writing?
My immediate answer is HP Lovecraft, whose Horror work is absolutely essential for any fan of the genre. The way he unnerves you not through gore or action, but through description and mental manipulation, makes him unsurpassed in the genre. The only one who comes close – as is wildly seen as a cliché answer to this question – is Stephen King. He may be a popular answer, but is that for good reason.
What are you reading now Oli? Opinion?
I’ve started reading The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndam, having read it when I was younger and wishing to re-visit. After that I’m torn between Stevyn Colgan’s A Murder To Die For, or a bit of JG Ballard.
What has been the best part of your writing journey so far?
Having people tell me they’ve read my work, and enjoyed it. It is absolutely incredible having people highlight particular passages that you’ve created, and pick out parts that were just fleeting sentences at the time for yourself.
… and the worst?
Marketing. It is all well and good writing the work, but from an indie point of view, it is nothing without people reading it. Getting your work out there, in a sea of other aspiring scribes, is a large task these days, and often quite demotivating.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Another cliché answer, but write, write, and write some more. If you have a story, tell it. Even if you don’t think you’re a good writer, write it anyway. You’ll be amazed how your style evolves and, if you really enjoy it, how much pleasure comes from crafting a whole new world.
Finally Oli, what are you currently working on?
While I have a writing list of over 70-odd titles and stories, I am currently focused on finishing my next piece of Horror, Wilthaven. It is written in a file format, about a strange town ruled over by a malevolent God. While there are comedic elements, it is more than a little… off.
Thank you for being my guest today.
Wishing you success with your Unbound campaign.
Don’t forget to head over to Unbound where you can find out much more about Deep Down There and the campaign.
Oli Jacobs has been publishing his writing since 2012, starting with the first of his short story anthologies Filmic Cuts: Sunshine & Lollipops. Since then, he has delved into Scifi (Kirk Sandblaster), Comedy (Strange Days in High Wycombe), Horror (Little Thwopping) and whatever Bad Sandwich is. He is currently publishing his latest work, Deep Down There, with Unbound (https://unbound.com/books/deep-down-there/), and being a loving husband to his wife, and willing slave to his dog. He can be bribed with either curry or whisky.