Monday, 6 February 2017

Author Spotlight: John Marrs

Today it's my stop on The One blog tour, which I'll be reviewing soon, but first I'm shining the spotlight on author John Marrs.

John Marrs is a freelance journalist based in London, England, who has spent the last 20 years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines.

He has written for publications including The Guardian's Guide and Guardian Online; OK! Magazine; Total Film; Empire; Q; GT; The Independent; Star; Reveal; Company; Daily Star and News of the World's Sunday Magazine.

As part of this spotlight feature, John has written a confession that I'm sure most writers can relate to.

I don’t read many books. In fact, I have only read five in the fourteen months. I’m actually quite embarrassed to admit it.

It’s not often that writers confess to such a crime, but I’d like to think it’s more common than you’d think. I’d also like to tell you that one of my New Year’s resolutions to read much, much more, but I’d be lying. Because unless by some miracle an extra day is slotted into my week, then I don’t see it changing much over the next twelve months. 

Many of us who are only just beginning our careers as authors already hold down full-time jobs to pay the bills. Mine happens to be as a journalist. So my days are spent interviewing television actors, actresses and presenters for magazines like OK!, S Magazine, Saturday Express, Total Film and GT. Day in, day out, from 9.30am until 5pm, I am glued to my keyboard or Dictaphone either transcribing interviews or carrying them out. So that doesn’t leave any time to read.

I live in Northamptonshire and work in London, which gives me around two and a half hours a day of commuting time to do with as I wish. But I use this as an opportunity to work on my own writing projects rather than open somebody else’s book. 

Then by the time I arrive home, eat dinner, talk to my partner about our days, catch up on a television series or watch a show in preparation for an interview, it’s time for bed. My weekends are often spent catching up with friends, working on our house, going to the gym or walking the dog. Any other time is spent working on my books.

Then there’s the time it takes to promote a book you have already unleashed on the world. I pride myself in trying to respond to every Tweet and Facebook message I’m sent by readers. It’s time consuming but if they have taken the trouble to download and read one of my books and would like to talk to me about it or comment on it, then the very least I can do is respond. And I love hearing from them.

So when you put all of this together, it means that when I’m asked to name my favourite books of the year, I really do struggle! And when I do find the time to read a book, unless a story grabs me in the first few chapters, I won’t carry on with it. Once upon a time I’d never give up on a book, even if I wasn’t particularly enjoying it. But now I don’t have enough time to persist in something I’m not going to find rewarding.

However the sacrifice of not reading as many books as I’d like to have is allowing me the space to develop my own ideas for stories. I’d never have been able to find the time to write The One, my latest novel, had I been engrossed in some of the amazing novels that have been released over the last twelve months. The downside is that I miss out on some wonderful conversations about books. 

And In case you are wondering, my favourite books of the last year that I did get to read were Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz, Lad by Andrew Webber, A Spool Of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler, The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson and End Of The World Running Club by Adrian J Walker. If I only have time for five more in 2017, I hope they are every bit as great as this diverse bunch.

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