For my latest Author Spotlight I’m joined by the fabulous BL Jones. We talked about getting inside character’s heads, secret agents, fairy tales, and the series that will always have a place in her heart.
Over to you…
First things first, please introduce yourself!
Ok, cool, intro time! My name is BL Jones and I’m a queer British author who drop-kicked my first book into publication a little over a year ago now. I live in Bristol, England, with my (lovely and very supportive) girlfriend and our pet bunny, Pepsi.
Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
I have a preference for writing in first person, present tense. I like giving my readers the sense they are getting a direct peak into my character’s heads and living the story alongside them. I’ve been told my writing is quite distinctive. I think this is mostly due to my very conversational style, including fourth wall breaks and typically wry, British humour—which for anyone who doesn’t know, means very wit-driven and sarcasm heavy stuff!
Describe your books in only three words.
Unique. Quirky. Heartfelt.
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release?
My latest release was Refractions Of Light, the second book in my FISA Agents series. This series follows British secret agent, Leo Snow, and superhuman assassin, Jack Roth. They start off on opposite sides, Leo working for FISA, a British intelligence agency, and Jack trained since early childhood to serve the villainous agency, Obsidian Inc. When they meet in a dark alley one night, both their lives are forever altered. The romance in this series is very sunshine/grumpy. Leo is a strong, morally good man with a lot of snark and kindness, although he deals with his own trauma from his family and past. Jack is a trained killer, able to control glass with his mind after being mutated by Liquid Onyx, giving him superhuman powers. He grew up being tortured and forced to do terrible things. He has a very barbed and acerbic sense of humour, and his past makes him highly volatile. It’s a paring that shouldn’t work, but somehow does. I won’t spoil any other plot points, but suffice to say, the fate of the world very much hangs in the balance, and it will be up to our hero/anti-hero to save it.
Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
My Liquid Onyx series will always have a special place in my heart. It follows British superhero, Rexley Nova, on his journey to becoming a vigilante and dealing with all the trauma, impossible choices, and tumultuous experiences that come with that. This series is so important to me mostly because of Rex himself. I first created the character of Rex when I was only eight years old. Since then, Rex has been many things in a thousand different stories I’ve written—an infamous space assassin, a mighty pixie warrior, a reborn King Arthur—now he’s a superhero with his own published story. It was truly an incredible moment when I was able to give Rex the spotlight and recognition he deserves. It’s no exaggeration to say I wouldn’t be the person I am without Rex.
What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
I think the first time I was truly enamoured by story-telling was when I began reading epic Arthurian stories and the numerous retold fairy tales. I’m both a lover of happy ever afters and great tragedies. I enjoy both hope conquers all and the allure of darkness, of devastation. I’m drawn to both twisted love and the triumph over fate. Anything with an epic-feel with a lot of grit thrown in I’m interested in reading.
What inspired you to start writing?
I was a weird kid who found making friends incredibly difficult. I was also a bit of a day-dreamer with a very vivid imagination. Put those two things together and you get a young writer.
What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
Not really. I’ve tried so many times to give myself a schedule, but it’s like my brain can’t help but rebel. These days I just write when I’m feeling it, rather than trying to force myself and hate what I’m doing. It takes longer, but I’m also a lot happier doing it, which is more important to me these days.
What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
Oh, wow. Characters, without question. You should see my notes, I have pages upon pages of character notes. I know everything about them, even side characters who barely get a line. Readers may never know their favourite childhood memory or the name of their pet tortoise or what they have nightmares about, but I do. I always do, and it always matters. I think that’s how you build great characters, by not thinking of them as characters, but as people, with back stories and entire lives with a million things about them that maybe no one else will get to see or know but you.
What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
Well, there’s nothing I wish I’d written that I can’t still write. I have a thousand ideas, and optimistically, I like to think I’ll get to them all eventually.
If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
That’s so difficult. But if I HAD to choose, I’d probably go with enemies to lovers. I’m just obsessed with the tension, I love the wall-slamming and bite-kissing and epic banter and the no-one-gets-to-hurt-him-but-me vibes.
What would be your three desert island books?
Grimm’s fairy tales
The Arthurian Legends
If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
I’d have to choose my Liquid Onyx series. As for casting, for Rexley I’d have chosen (age appropriate, as in the age he was around the time he did Queer As Folk) Charlie Hunnam. For Jamie, I think I’d maybe choose Matthew Daddario (gorgeous and also played a queer character in Shadowhunters). For Damon, I’d love Jay Lycurgo (I saw him play Nathan in Netflix’s The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself and I loved him. So sad they cancelled that show. Funnily enough he’s also played Tim Drake, the third Robin, in the Titans show. Both canonically queer characters btw.).
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
I’m a fan of ice hockey, which is pretty difficult when you’re British, ha! My uncle lives in Canada, and I’ve been to a couple games and loved them. I also really like comic books (Batfam ftw) and graphic novels, such as The Sandman series.
Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
I’m going to be boring and go with the good old classic, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Mostly because of Jurassic Park (still one of the best films ever made). Also because of their little arms. They just crack me up.
BL JONES is a twentysomething British author who spends all her free time reading and writing and taming her three much younger brothers. She works as a BSL interpreter in Bristol and lives with a temperamental bunny named Pepsi. She’s been writing stories since she was five, rarely sharing them with anyone except her numerous stuffed animals. BL has had a difficult journey into discovering and accepting her own queerness, and therefore believes that positive, honest, and authentic stories about queer people are very important. She hopes to contribute her own stories for people to have fun with and enjoy.