Hello, everyone! Welcome to the Bass Instinct Blog Tour. I’m happy to have Will Macmillan Jones here to talk to us about the latest book in the Banned Underground Series.
Tricia: Welcome back, Will. For those who might not have read our previous interviews, can you introduce yourself?
Will: Hi Tricia, nice to be back with you! For those who don’t know me (which is most people, of course,) I’m a fifty-something lover of blues, rock and jazz. One day I turned my wordprocessor on by mistake, and can’t get the blasted thing to shut down at all now unless I keep typing stuff into it. I’m a slave to my computer.
Tricia: Who are The Banned Underground?
Will: Ah,The Banned. They are a motley collection of blues musicians who came to live with me one sunny day when I was on top of High Street Fell in the Lake District ( that’s in North West England, for the international audience, and genuinely one of the most beautiful places on earth). Ever since then, they’ve been eating my pizza, drinking my beer, and in return providing me with the raw material for my fantasy series. Don’t let them know I said this, but I actually quite like having them around. They’ve provided me with a lot of laughs.
Tricia: What is the premise for your newest book, Bass Instinct?
Will: At the time I was writing this book, my long term relationship was in its last months before we parted, fortunately as amicably as I suppose is possible. So the question of relationships was in the forefront of my mind, and I wondered what would happen to my dwarf musicians ( and their Bogtroll saxophonist) if I suddenly threw an attractive female dwarf with an enormous bass guitar into their midst? I needed an excuse to do that, and so The Dark Lord and his dragon receptionist entered the fray. After that, it was mayhem as usual.
Tricia: What’s next for the series?
Will: Next up is The Satnav of Doom. I’m supposed to have it finished in the next few weeks, so it’s just as well that I’m well into it. The dragons’ romance might just heat up a little here yet, I’m not sure. This one has the world’s economic crisis behind it, the frantic efforts of the government and some mystical bankers to profit from the issues, and The Dark Lord’s attempt to get in on the act. Then comes Have Frog, Will Travel. By popular demand, that will see the return of ‘The Fridge’ from the first book.
Tricia: With numerous published novels to your credit, how has your writing evolved? Do you find yourself writing with a more editorial eye?
Will: That’s an interesting question, Tricia. You see, I never really feel like I’m an author with a back catalogue, even though that is slowly becoming the case. I look at each book that I’ve had released, and think to myself: I need to do better than that next time. As far as the mechanics of the writing are concerned, I’m actually a bit more disciplined now. Safkhet have suggested some basic parameters to me on page count, and the publisher has developed a ‘house style’ for the presentation of manuscripts to them: I need to format my text in a particular way for them and have a target page count for the work. This means I have to apply a little more discipline to the structure of my work than might be readily apparent, and I think it works to make me just a little bit more professional in my approach. But my typing is still rotten, and luckily they are very tolerant of that from me!
Tricia: Do you ever suffer from writers block, and if so, how do you overcome it?
Will: Yes, of course I get blocks. Everyone does, if they are being honest. I get over mine by writing Flash Fiction pieces. (That’s short stories of less than 1000 words.) Lots go straight into the bin, but quite a few I keep around. Some I offer to anthologies, others I keep back as they provide the inspiration for complete works of their own.
Tricia: If you were to put together a playlist for Bass Instinct, which songs/artists would be included?
Will: Because there is a new bass player around, as she’s not always too confident on stage with the experienced guys, there would be a lot of rock n roll and blues standards in this list. Mustang Sally, Sweet Home Chicago, Jailhouse Rock, some Clapton and early Fleetwood Mac, probably.
Tricia: Besides Bass Instinct, do you have any reading recommendations?
Will: The rest of the series? Am I allowed to say that? And of course, I dabble a little in the paranormal/horror field as well these days. The thing I like about The Banned Underground novels is that they always have a ‘feel good’ touch to the stories. The Dark Side have (and are) as much fun as The Banned really, which is great. The other stuff lets me play with the genuinely dark side of my mind, which I don’t want intruding here.
Tricia: Can you share with us one of your favorite scenes?
Will: My favourite scene remains the opening of The Mystic Accountants: The rain is pouring down on the hills and valleys, in the mist haunted fells a line of eldritch and mystical beings forms before the enchanted doors to the dwarfs’ underground mansion…and there is security for a Banned Underground gig, doing normal security stuff. Then the gig takes place: and the guitarist gets blown across the stage by feedback, only to crash into the magical Throne of The King Under the Mountain and smash it apart.
Let’s add something new though, this time from Bass Instinct.
Gloria, dragon receptionist to The Grey Mage, has ensnared The Banned Underground’s bass player, but is concerned about holding him prisoner in the office cellar…
The Grey Mage, local Dark Lord and accountant to several evil covens and (interchangeably) a number of nearby solicitors, looked up from his desk as his receptionist entered.
“How’s our guest doing?” enquired The Grey Mage.
“Not bad. But he’s got through the third Series of “Cheers” and we need another delivery of chocolate digestives.”
The Grey Mage threw his pen down onto the desk.
“What, another load? The supermarket only just delivered a van full at the weekend!”
“Well, there’s not much for him to do in that cavern.”
The Grey Mage leered at Gloria, who scowled back.
“No” she retorted.
“But you like him anyway,” wheedled The Grey Mage.
“Yes I do. That’s why I let you talk me into this. But if he’s going to be of any use to you, you are going to have to get a move on with the plan.”
“Because, if he gets any fatter on those chocolate biscuits, we’ll never get him out of the cavern.”
“Fair enough,” replied The Grey Mage. “I’ll contact Geranium, and let her know that time is short.”
“Geranium? What sort of cover name for a spy is that?” demanded Gloria.
“Well she’s a plant, and I like geraniums.”
“You’re the Dark Lord, boss. Shouldn’t you like something more appropriate? Like, like, like… Poison Ivy, perhaps?”
“Good grief, no. That would just remind me of my wife.”
“Anyway, I’m just warning you that there’s an effective limit on how long I can keep Dai holed up here.”
“Point taken, Gloria” sighed The Grey Mage. “Take some of the petty cash, and buy a couple of “Friends” dvds for him.
“Well, it will remind him that there are better things he could do than watch dvds for a start.”
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