Writing and stuff


I get asked lots of questions about the stuff I write. There’s nothing better than an inquisitive reader, I say. So here goes …

How did you decide on the title for Scam A-Lama Ding Dong??

SCAM A-LAMA DING DONG is a derogatory phrase for an old Fifties Rock ‘n Roll swindle. It’s also the title of book #1 in my A Funny Scam series.

I always wanted to write about this stuff because of my Dad. He had to be the greatest Classic Rock and Soul fan ever, a prolific reader and terminal magpie. The old man kept it all, books, records, old videos, CD’s, the lot – and I still have rooms full of them.  And, of course, I spent some time working in the music industry, so I know the real deal.

My hero is Marc Charles, an Aussie rock star dinosaur threatened with financial ruin by a crafty scammer. While he’s busy dodging the rip-offs, Marc falls for PR lady Sam, The Girl with the Hieroglpyh Eyes. Ouch! Then, a new album contract and a lucrative TV ad are dangled in front of him. Could they be his ticket to Rock Valhalla? Maybe, but the question is, can Marc keep all the balls in the air without losing his own? But more than that, he’s tested by all the nasties that are aimed to derail him. That’s why I love him as a character. In a tough as nails industry, he’s a survivor…so far.

Why did you choose to write it as dark comedy?

It’s just the way I see life, I guess. People in ShowBiz tend to look back on the close calls they’ve been in, and see the funny side of it, especially years afterwards when they’re a bit pissed with their mates. Some anecdotes I’ve been told would make your hair stand on end, and yet they’re screamingly funny.

Why is there a glossary at the back of the book?

Aussie slang has its own unique voice and laidback laconic sense of humour. For the uninitiated reader, the glossary is aimed at enhancing their enjoyment of the humour. There are some Pommie (UK) expressions in there too.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

This is definitely a series, and in many ways it’s a serial too. It follows Marc’s journey through interconnected scams that could undo him at any moment. So Book #2 is SCAM A-LAMA HARDBALL, Book #3 is SCAM A-LAMA PAYBACK, and to complete the story, finally Book #4 is SCAM A-LAMA SHOWDOWN. That’s the plan at the moment, but anything can happen in the dubious world of ShowBiz and Rock’n Roll. I guess I’ll keep going as long as there are fans of Classic Rock and Soul, and readers of humorous crime like mine. Scams, scandal, dodgy schemes, corporate crime, deception, and, of course, dark humour are the themes in all my stories.

How many unpublished and half finished books do you have?

I’m still working on Books 3 and #4 in A FUNNY SCAM series, where I’m putting the squeeze on my Rock Dinosaur, Marc Charles, and he keeps fighting back. He’s that determined to make it back to the top!

Then I’ve got to edit a 2-book series called Attitude Point. These plots are even pacier, and the characters are even crazier than in my SCAM books. I’ve had a ball writing them. Next I’ll put the finishing touches to a standalone paranormal corporate greed scam with ghosts and witches and a really nasty media mogul. This has been a hoot to write too. So I guess that makes five more books in the pipeline. I’d better get cracking!

What authors, or books have influenced you?

Because everything I write has humour, satire and a bit of the dark side to it, that’s where I normally go. 

All of the Gore Vidal funnies, especially Duluth. Everything from Carl Hiassen, and PG Plum. Jennifer Egan’s Goon Squad, Chuck Palahniuk’s Survivor and John Lanchester’s arch and ultra-wicked The Debt to Pleasure. I couldn’t leave out Look Who’s Back from Timur Vermes or the very dark David Grossman’s A Horse Walks Into A Bar. Anything from Janet Evanovich, and of course, lurking in the bushes there’s always Vlad The Impaler–although it was mostly butterflies not people that Mr Nabokov used to stick. Lolita, of course, plus Ada and Pnin, but especially for me, my hero’s wicked masterpiece, Pale Fire.

Do you have any advice for new authors?

There’s a great Burt Bacharach quote– “The definition of a synonym. It’s the word you use when you can’t spell the one you originally thought of.” Cute, eh?

What is the best advice you have ever heard?

“Keep on Pushing” One of my Dad’s favourite 60’s Civil Rights songs by The Impressions. The lyrics are perfect for the most daunting of challenges that writers have to face and must overcome, and as an added bonus, the music, playing and singing are sublime. Vale Curtis Mayfield!

Jinx James

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