What’s your writing background? When did you begin writing and what inspired you?
I’ve enjoyed writing since I was at school. Throughout my business career I produced copious amounts of written words – correspondence, proposals, technical manuals, training courses, articles – that kind of thing and over the years I even started on 3 books but I gave them all up after the first few chapters. Then in 1997, the year my daughter was born, I stopped work and moved to Bali and 7 years later I had an idea for a novel. By that time my daughter was at school all day and I realised it was at the perfect time for me to start writing… and that if I didn’t do it then I never would… so I did.
How often do you write? And how do you manage to fit in writing among other commitments?
I’m fortunate, perhaps, because I don’t need to follow a routine to function. When I have the time, I write – when I don’t, I don’t. If I have no other commitments I can write for hours at a stretch, but if I only have 15 minutes then I’ll snatch that up too. When I’m on my own, I get on with the creative stuff and let fly. When my family is around and if we have visitors or I know I’m going to have a lot of interruptions then I prefer to do research or edit existing writing as that way I lose less time trying to get my head back into the space it was before. Once I’m working committed to a novel I like to write every day if I can, but if I can’t it doesn’t stress me out. I can, and do, write anywhere. I don’t have to sit in the same place or have the same music going. As long as I have access to a computer I go into my “writing place” and get on with it wherever I am.
In which genre do you most enjoy writing?
So far I’ve only completed one novel, The Zul Enigma, a thriller set in 2068 that looks back at a cataclysmic event occurring on 21 December 2012, end of the Mayan calendar. It required a tremendous amount of research, which I enjoyed. The driving force behind it was that it bothers me so many people living in the developed world take so much for granted… not just materialistic pleasures… but the assumption that the continued existence of humans is some sort of inalienable ‘right’. Too many show little respect for our planet or anything else that lives on it, plus the majority don’t seem to understand that we are just another species here – one that can be wiped out in the blink of an eye should there be a super-volcanic eruption, for instance, or just a few degrees change in temperature. In those circumstances cockroaches stand a much better chance of survival than we ever would. I think we’ve grown way too arrogant and forgotten just how insignificant we are in the big scheme of things. So I wanted to write a story that starts out in the world we live in now but ends in a very unexpected way. I wanted to write something that would shock people, that would shake their complacency, and that would make them think.
What drew you to write in that genre?
It’s partly because of the challenge of setting my imagination loose with no boundaries while at the same time having to keep the story believable, and partly because I had to invent a challenging future to get my point across about the vulnerability of mankind’s continued existence.
Can you tell me about your current project(s)?
Although I’m not a great lover of reading short stories, I’ve recently written a couple and I’d like to write more. As for my next novel? Well, I’m not one to do a detailed plot because I prefer to rust in my subconscious and see where my writing leads me, but at the moment it looks as if it will be a form of conspiracy story set in present day. But I can’t discount the possibility that some alternate life-form or beings of higher consciousness may want to get involved!
What are your writing plans for the future?
I’d like to continue telling stories… long ones and short ones… for as long as I can.
Where can people find out more about you?
At The Zul Enigma website http://www.thezulenigma.com, or people can follow me on Twitter @JMLeitch and see what I’m up to on Facebook http://facebook.com/JMLeitch. I also post a blog at the Red Room http://redroom.com/member/j-m-leitch and can be found at Goodreads and Shelfari.
The Amazon links to my book are as follows:
Amazon UK Paperback Edition – click here
Amazon UK Kindle Edition – click here
Amazon US Paperback Edition – click here
Amazon US Kindle Edition – click here