Wednesday 9 June 2021

Author Profile and Interview with J.E. Mayhew aka Jon Mayhew aka Edwin Torr

Author Profile and Interview with J.E. Mayhew 
aka Jon Mayhew 
aka Edwin Torr
JEMayhew as Edwin Torr

I was introduced to the writings of Jon Mayhew through a ply from author Alex Smith. That fist story was on of the books published in the DCI Will Blake series published under the name J.E. Mayhew, and it was a great read. After that I found out that he wrote Young Adult, YA fiction under the name Jon Mayhew. And recently I found out he has an Urban Noir – Supernatural series under the name Edwin Torr. But in the last 8 months I have read 18 of his offering, and the 8 books as Torr in the last 4 weeks. And I have plans to now go after his YA works. I have enjoyed everything I have read from his pen. And the author was willing to take a few minutes from his schedule and answer 20 questions for the readers here at Book Reviews and More, so here in his own words J.E., Jon, or Edwin: 

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? How are you nurturing that dream? 

Writing sort of happened to me. I was always a keen reader but never imagined that ‘ordinary’ people like me could write a book. Then one day I broke my ankle and found I had time on my hands! I was reading a lot and that started to spark ideas in my head and I started to write stories. I’m not sure how I nurture being a writer, other than being grateful each time I start writing. I like the freedom it gives me and make sure that I’m out cycling or walking frequently!

2. Who were some of the biggest supporters of your writing? 

My wife, Lin, has been my biggest supporter and has done a lot of the ‘heavy lifting’ domestically while I’ve written the books. She gives me feedback on new drafts and listens to my incessant babbling about new ideas!

3. What authors influenced your writing style and format? 

I think every writer I’ve ever read has influenced me in some way. I very much like the episodic styles of JD Kirk, Alex Smith and Dave Gatward. But I love some of the classic Crime fiction, PD James, and, more recently, Val Mcdermid. But I’ve read all kinds of genres from Crime to Horror to Science Fiction, and I think they’ve all had some kind of influence on me.

4. If you had not become a writer what do you think you would be doing for a living? 

I’d probably still be a teacher because that’s what I did for 25 years before going into writing full time. Even when I started writing, I still went into schools to deliver writing workshops and to talk about books.

5. What does your writing process look like? Takes us through the steps from  idea to publishing?

It’s different every time. I have an idea but sometimes that idea can sit in a folder as a scribbled note for years. Sometimes I have a character in mind but they can’t support their own story so they become part of another tale. Often I’ll write a few thousand words just to get the feel of a story, character or place. Other times, I’ll write a back story that will never go into the main story. Some stories flow, others need teasing out. Nowadays, I write half the story and hand it over to my wife to criticize. Then I back up and take the story in the right direction. Once I know where I’m going, I’ll note down key scenes and follow that loose plan. 

6. Is your writing process different if you are writing YA as Jon Mayhew, crime lit as J.E. Mayhew or Urban fantasy as Edwin Torr? 

They’ve all been different.

7. Speaking of publishing under three names. What inspired you to use different pen names for different genres? 

I started out as a children’s author and so when I wrote the adult Urban Fantasy, I didn’t want my younger audience to find them (they’re a bit sweary and violent). I kind of wish I’d just used Jon Mayhew for the crime stuff because it gets people confused.

8. I have mentioned 3 names, are there any other names that you publish under? If so, what are they? 

No, just them.

9. What books are currently in progress for you? Writing, researching, planning or even just ideas that you would like to work on?

I have the seventh book in the DCI Blake series in the pipeline at the moment and I’m thinking about book 8. I have an idea for a female amateur sleuth story set in the same world but that’s top secret at the moment!

10. Do you have plans to go back and write any more books or stories in the Dead Means Dead series or in the Mortlock universe? 

Possibly but I’m enjoying the crime series so much at the moment that it might be a while before I do. 

11. One of the greatest strengths in your books are the characters, they are so solid and believable. The characters you create, are they reflections of people you know, composites of different people you know or entirely your creations? 

Some are composites, others are observations from life. I watch people a lot (sounds a bit creepy). When I’m on a train or in a shop, if I hear a particular voice or see someone who looks a bit unusual, I store it away. 

12. Who is your favorite character that you have created or enjoy writing most? Why? 

I like Will Blake because he has such a well-mapped-out past. I like the idea that he was in a TV program a long time ago and has a kind of faded celebrity status which he hates. I like his house and his relationship with his pets.

13. I once heard Madeleine L'Engle state that her characters were real to her and almost an extended part of her family, she said once that at the dinner table she sat up and stated "Meg just finished her PhD." Are your characters real to you, do you ever get glimpses of what they are up to now, or once you finish a book is that it? 

While I’m working with a character, I get insights into what they might think about a certain situation but once the book is written, they’ve gone. I’m a bit fickle like that, I suppose many writers are.

14. All of your books are available in electronic formats but with that comes bootleg distribution. What are your impressions of eBooks and the distribution of them through torrents and other illegal means? 

It annoys me when somebody thinks it’s okay to steal from me and ultimately, that theft could stop an author from writing because they aren’t getting paid. Nobody has ever approached me and said, ‘hey, I got your first book from a pirate site but then bought the entire series.’ It seems like people are happy to pay through the nose for IT hardware but often show contempt for the content they’re viewing. I’m aware it happens and that there’s little I can do to stop it but doesn’t mean I have to like it.

15. Some authors monitor torrent sites and contact them to remove their content. Do you do so are have someone do so for you? 

Not really. I just get on with what I’m doing and trust that the vast majority of readers love books enough to understand that the writer deserves some pay!

16. What were some of your favorite authors in your teen years who helped shape you?

As a teenager, I was a big Science Fiction and Fantasy reader. Michael Moorcock was a big favourite, especially his Eternal Champion series which I loved. Robert E. Howard and Lin Carter were big favourites, too. I also enjoyed Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter series. I also read a lot of Horror anthologies, Clark Ashton Smith, HP Lovecraft, James Herbert, and anything I could get my hands on!

17. What are some of your favorite books and authors now? 

The honest answer is I don’t really have favourite authors. I often binge on a particular author and then move on. I’m currently reading some political non-fiction. I’ve just enjoyed Where did I go Right? By Geoff Norcott and Despised by Paul Embery. I’m looking for the next fiction book.

18. I once had a university professor state that the true goal of a university education should be to teach one to learn how to think. What would you state should be the goal of higher education and why?

I think higher education should be a number of things: To learn how to think, sure but also to enrich one’s intellect, to give you new skills and make you an independent thinker. I do think higher education should be rigorous enough that if you have a degree, you should be capable of teaching its constituent subjects to a high level. Obviously, graduates should be employable, so transferable skills are important but less so for me.

19. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you? 

1) Holes by Louis Sachar 
2) Mooninland Midwinter by Tove Janson 
3) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 
4) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens 
5) The complete ghost stories of M.R.James 
6) The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs 
7) Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien 
8) The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks 
9) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte 
10) The Bible

20. What advice would you give to young aspiring authors and artists?

Enjoy your Art. A reader soon realises when a work lacks soul. Make time to do it and do it a lot. Produce a lot of stuff and a small part of it might be very good!

Thank you Jon for answering those question. If you have not yet encountered Mayhew’s works, I encourage you to give them a try. Start with the first of the Blake stories or the first of the Dead Means Dead, I am certain you will be hooked.

J.E. Mayhew as Edwin Torr
J.E. Mayhew Mystery Writer
Jon Mayhew Young Adult Author.


Books as J.E. Mayhew:
DCI William Blake Series:

Books as Jon Mayhew:
The Spybrarian

Monster Odyssey Series:
1.0 The Eye of Neptune
2.0 The Wrath of the Lizard Lord
3.0 The Curse of the Ice Serpent
4.0 The Venom of the Scorpion

Mortlock Series:
2.0 The Demon Collector
3.0 The Bonehill Curse

Collins Big Cat Series:
The Merchant of Venice: Band 16/Sapphire
Hamlet: Band 18/Pearl
Romeo and Juliet: Band 18/Pearl
Macbeth: Band 18/Pearl

Contributed to:
Beyond the Book: A Collection of Short Stories
Storycraft: How To Teach Creative Writing
Criminal Shorts: UK Crime Book Club Anthology
Make Doves Not War - Forward

Books as Edwin Torr:
Dead Means Dead Series
1.0 Demons - 2017
1.3 Cotton Candy - 2017
1.9 Remurdered - 2017
2.0 Angel Hunter - 2017
2.5 Cold Caller - 2017
3.0 Jigsaw Girl - 2018

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