I guess I’ve always dabbled with writing. I started to take it more seriously when working on film scripts while completing my Media Production degree in the North East. That was where I began to learn about structure, pacing and the nuts and bolts of how to write a story. I continued to learn when I worked in the animation industry. You can’t work with scripts and story-boards on a daily basis without picking up a thing or two.
The first thing that I wrote with the intention of publishing was the novelisation of my degree film “Unity” which will become the second book in the Unity series. That was where I really learned how to write a novel rather than a film script. It’s quite a different process and took me some time. When it came to publishing I realised that book was too weighty to be my first foray into self publishing. That’s how the Josiah Trenchard novellas came about. They have done pretty well and I’ve only recently published Unity book one, so the first thing that I wrote is actually the most recently published.
What have you written which makes you most proud?
Out of all my books so far I think I’m most proud of Josiah Trenchard part five: Belatu-Cadros. It’s a prequel and fills in the blanks about Captain Trenchard’s history. Out of all the books it’s the most well developed. It starts from when Trenchard is a child and follows his life right up to the events of the “Might of Fortitude”. It’s a “right of passage” novel and has a certain hero creation element to it. It’s probably the most stand alone book that I’ve written. I generally write episodes that fit into a longer story arc. Belatu-Cadros has a definitive beginning and end.
Do you have a particular process or approach to writing?
I have the storyline mapped out for the whole Space Navy series on the wall at home. I know where it’s heading and what happened in the past. Each book is a snapshot of a tiny section of that story arc. I know well beforehand what I want to do with each book. I start with the basic storyline and then expand that onto coloured post-it notes which I stick to the wall and rearranged as the story develops. Each colour represents a different character or thread to the story. When I’m happy with the whole thing the post-its become typed up into a Word document and each two or three will become a chapter of the book. I try to keep each chapter short, around three to four thousand words. It’s then just a case of filling in the blanks. I like to do my editing before I write as much as possible. That way none of my effort is wasted.
Once the first draft is finished I read it to my wife, who is a teacher. At that point she makes general comments on the story and characters. She won’t let anything past that is out of character or doesn’t make sense. She’s very good at spotting something that doesn’t work. Then I edit the book as per her comments. Finally, she will read the whole book back to me so that I can listen to it as if it were an audio-book. That allows me to submerge myself in the characters and dialogue while she performs a fantastic job as proof reader and editor.
Do you have a current project you’re working on or promoting?
I’m working on a print version of the first four Josiah Trenchard novellas using Createspace. It’s the first time I’ve done that, so it’s taking some learning on my part. I’m also writing Josiah Trenchard part six “Arkhangelsk”. This will see the Might of Fortitude take place in a convoy as an escort to merchant vessels taking supplies into a war zone. There will be a hell of a space battle and the return of some old friends and some old foes.
What do you hope to achieve with your writing?
At a very simple level I want to entertain people. I want the reader to have as much fun reading these books as I did writing them. In essence, I write these books to make myself happy. They’re not to everyone’s taste. There’s lots of violence and swearing, but then again there are comedic moments, action, adventure, love… I’m trying to get as close to a television series in book form as I can manage. Each book is like an episode with its own story but elements that link into the whole. I hope my readers put the book down and think “Well that answered those questions, but I didn’t see THAT coming! I wonder where he’s going to next?” I have the whole of space to play with. That’s why I love sci-fi. You can pretty much go anywhere and do anything. I don’t know any other genre in which you can do the same. Lock and load, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!
Jon Fletcher was born and brought up near Stockport, England. After studying Art & Design at school, he went on to complete a Foundation course in Art at Stockport College and then completed three years as a film student in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. He graduated after making a short science fiction film entitled “Unity”. After leaving the North-East he became a prop maker, set builder and art director working at Cosgrove Hall Films in Chorlton-Cum-Hardy and then Hot Animation in Altrincham. He worked on several shows that included “Brambly Hedge”, “Lavender Castle”, “Rocky and the Dodos” and the first fourteen series of “Bob the Builder”. He finally opted for the good life, became a professional gardener and married Louise, who was the only one that would put up with his nonsense. He is now working as a gardener in the beautiful Northumberland countryside. The one thing that has remained constant throughout is his love for science fiction and for writing. This has reached its conclusion in the writing of the “Josiah Trenchard” and “Unity” book series, based on the idea for his short film.