Interview with Will Macmillan Jones

Today's guest is Will Macmillan Jones, the author of The Banned Underground series. The third book in the series is scheduled to be released on October 31, 2012. 

Let's have a look at the premise for this new, exciting book:

Oh dear. Santa's not-so-little helpers have "borrowed" his sleigh on their way to a Banned Underground concert – and crashed it on the way. Can the Banned help them before Santa finds out? But the mechanic who services the sleigh is a vampire, and getting the job done could be a challenge. If that's not enough, the Dark Lord's Mercedes is getting a bit long in the tooth too, and he fancies the sleigh as a replacement. And will Grizelda, the off-white witch give back the reindeer after using one to win the local show-jumping competition?

With the vampire mechanic in the clutches of the apprentice Dark Lord and Grizelda's dreams of blue ribbons, the Banned will have to go like a Bat out of Hell this time…




Tricia: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself? 

Will: I’m a fifty something lover of blues, rock and jazz. Music is important to me, and as a single parent I’m working hard to instill that appreciation into my teenage daughter. I’ve just taken her to see the film of Led Zeppelin’s last gig, and she’s suddenly realized what a real rock band can sound like. Even when they are older than me! (Next week we’re off to see Alice Cooper. She’s been begging me for tickets for Alice for two years, so I think I’m doing something right.)

Tricia: We’ve visited before and chatted about your first two books in The Banned Underground series. For the benefit of those who may not have read our previous interviews, can you tell us about the premise for the series? Who are The Banned Underground?

Will: A couple of years ago, whilst trying to write a serious high fantasy, I came across a dwarf blues-rock band hiding out underground in the Lake District. They took over the book, and as they like a laugh as much as I do (OK, and a drink, and some pizza, but we won’t go into that) the book swiftly had a rewrite and became more focused on their antics and adventures, and the series flew on from there. And turned into an honest, if surreal, comedy rather than a serious work.

Tricia: Vampire novels are very popular. How does The Vampire Mechanic differ from the ‘typical’ paranormal or horror novel?

Will: Well, my vampires aren’t very horrible, to be honest. I was a bit cruel, and gave them both manic depression and a rather scary witch as their psychiatric counselor…so there are no blood thirsty scenes, just some terrifying jokes instead. Other than that, it’s business as usual.

Tricia:. Have you introduced any new characters in The Vampire Mechanic?

Will: Oh yes, I get a real kick out of letting some new guys out to play. This time we’ve got Notsanta. The exact opposite of Santa Himself. You don’t want to meet him, but I suspect he’s going to appear again. Plus, we meet Freya. (Pauses to breathe deeply for a little.) She’s a red hot blonde dwarf with a demonic Telecaster bass guitar called Paige. A gag for the musicians, there… She’s definitely back in book 4, Sax and Thugs & Rock N Roll. I can’t put her down. Sorry.

Tricia: Can we expect more adventures for The Banned Underground? Are any other books in the works?

Will: Well, Sax and Thugs & Rock N Roll is almost finished now. That’s for next April. Following on will be The Satnav of Doom, and then Have Frog Will Travel. Each of those concentrates on the adventures of different characters who have developed in the series. And for the fans (surprisingly I actually seem to have some!) by popular demand the Fridge is back in book 6, Have Frog Will Travel.

Tricia: What is your favorite scene and why?

Will: I’ve got a lot of favourite scenes, to be honest. Probably one of the best is a brief scene where an RAF fighter meets my dragon – who is carrying his Fender Bass guitar – at 800 feet over South Wales. That still makes me laugh, now. Or the time The Banned’s guitarist gets blown off his feet on stage by feedback, and crashes into the Throne of The King Under The Mountain, which disintegrates. Did you know that actually happened to Ronnie Wood once? Not the bit about the throne, obviously. But I’ve chosen a segment which I think is a perfect reflection of the books. It shows the way my world integrates with the real world, and gives a flavour of my terrible sense of humour.

Tricia: What are you currently reading? 

Will: I always have a few books on the go, as I like to read to suit my mood. I’m presently reading White Mountain by Sophie E Tallis, a brilliant new high Fantasy, and The Na├»ve & Sentimental Lover by John Le Carre – worth a read for any author, as it’s about one.

Tricia: Where can my readers go to find out more about The Banned Underground?

Will: The best place is my website: www.thebannedunderground.com. From there, links to other reviews, and to Amazon and the reviews there are all available.
Tricia, may I thank you for having me back? It’s always great fun doing one of your interviews!


Tricia: Thank you, Will. It was wonderful to speak with you. And, thank you for providing this excerpt of your soon-to-be-released book, The Vampire Mechanic:

Much photographed and adored by the professional photographers, and hated in equal measure by those who had to carry the equipment, the mighty Lakeland Fell of Helvelyn stood tall against the storm, the delicate tracery of the attached Striding Edge laughing at the rain, whilst using the lashing water to make sure that the tracks became a nightmare for the next to assay the passage whilst burdened down with responsibility. Plus four cameras, two tripods, assorted lenses, and (crucially) lunch.

Down the slopes into the next valley of Borrowdale lay the ancient Bowder Stone, rumoured to be the trysting ground for various supernatural, mystic or uncanny beings, and in fact the Front Door to the Helvyndelve, the Ancient Dwarf Halls which lie beneath the frowning fells of Helvelyn. And quite a few other fells too, of course, the Mansion of the Dwarfs being frankly enormous (and difficult to heat).  On a night such as this, who would have been surprised at the sight of a large group of eldritch beings, dwarfs, trolls, half-elves and so on swathed and huddled against the rain, gathered together there?  Their conversation could have been, should have been, mystical, magical, occult or paranormal, or indeed all of them at once.

“I don’t care who you are, if you aint got a ticket, yer can’t come in,” said Security.

“But I’m with the Band!” said the first in the queue.

“They all say that,” replied Security, in the form of two dwarfs clad in full body armour and bad attitudes.

“I’ve got a T shirt on.”

“All it says is ‘Let me in ‘cos I’m with the Band’,” pointed out Security.

 “See?” insisted the would be concert-goer.

“£9.99 at the supermarket.  Everyone’s got one.” The dwarf opened his cloak and revealed a badly fitting t-shirt stretched over his armour.

“Come on.  Some of us behind you are getting soaked, waiting out here!” came a complaint from further down the queue.

“Not my fault they didn’t put up any awnings,” replied the ticket-less one.

“Show us yer ticket, or go away,” insisted Security.

“Alright, I haven’t got a ticket.”

“Should have said so.  Then you could just have bribed me straight off, instead of standing out there getting wet.”

There was a chink, as several coins passed hands.  A derisive snort and several more joined the first set vanishing into Security’s secure pockets.  The queue moved on.


Inside the Gate Chamber, a large dimly lit cave underground beneath the Bowder Stone, more security awaited the intrepid visitors.


“Helvyndelve Security.  Please leave your spears, swords, staffs, wands, knives and other weapons at the desk, to collect on your way home,” said the banner.

“Good bit of spell casting that, Milim,” said the first underground guard, another medium sized dwarf who was also fully armoured.

“Getting the banner to talk like that saves us a lot of work, Daran,” replied his colleague, through his enormous beard.

“Pity it had a Yorkshire accent though.”

“Can’t have everything.   No, sorry Sir, got to leave that over there, collect it on your way out.”

“But it’s cultural!” objected the gig-goer.

“It’s also banned completely in most countries,” Daran insisted.

“It’s recommended for police use in the others.”

“But not here, so leave it.”

“ Guard?”

“Well done Sir.  Identifying me as a guard wins you a prize.”

“Great! What did I win?”

“The right not to be assaulted gratuitously until you are on the way out again.”

“Guard?  I’ve got a press pass!”

“Press past me and you will know about it.  Get in the queue with the others.”

“Guard?”

“Yes Sir?”

“Says you have to leave your weapons here.”

“That’s right.”

“I‘m an expert in unarmed combat.”

“Then just leave your arms with the other weapons.”

Daran and Milim watched the guest, empty sleeves flapping, join the wanderers down the dimly lit corridor into the heart of the Helvyndelve.

“I dunno, Daran, it’s not rocket science is it?”

“And he’s armless now.”


Will Macmillan Jones lives in Wales, a lovely green verdant land with a rich cultural heritage. He does his best to support this heritage by yelling loud encouragement at the TV when Wales plays international rugby. Having been an accountant for much of his working life, he now writes in a desperate attempt to avoid terminal atrophy of his brain. A fifty something lover of blues, rock and jazz, he has achieved a lifetime ambition by extending his bookcases to fill an entire wall of his home office.



Please visit the following links to find more about his work or to purchase copies of his books:



Comments

  1. Fabulous interview! Well done to Tricia for pinning down the master of bog trolls and Grey Mages, Mr. Jones! As always, a fun filled laugh riot! Well done guys. :D xx

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