Peatmore Press - interview with funder Keith Jahans
Peatmore Press was established as an on-line magazine by Keith Jahans in 1996. It was originally described as providing entertainment and information with short stories, serials, quizzes plus a few references for those interested in veterinary/marine microbiology. Nowadays it serves mainly as a showcase and outlet for short stories and novels in paperback and e-book formats. In 2009 Peatmore Press Limited was formed to publish and market its own brand of books and e-books. These were followed In 2011 by the first in a series of audio books. We have conducted an interview with Keith Jahans.
What inspires you to write about this character 'George Cogrill'?
I wanted to write about a character who was told he had to give half his inheritance to someone he did not know. The inheritance included his beloved Water Mill where he made his precious cider. I felt his name should sound like it was part of the mechanics of the mill itself, hence "Cogrill", and because I thought his name should not appear completely bizarre, I gave his first name as George. This idea later manifested itself in the naming of the other characters. I gave them all well recognised first names and strange last names. The idea was to make sure that the whole story was not to be taken seriously. Thus the story developed from there as the plot was led by these strange sounding characters.
How challenging is it to write a humorous tale of treachery and intrigue?
The challenge was to make it funny and believable. I tried to do this by making George's life as difficult as possible and added various twists and turns to keep him and the reader guessing how he was going to cope with the problems he encountered. He often misunderstood the seriousness of the situation he was in and chose the lease favourable option to resolve it. This I hoped added to the humour while at the same time made him a likeable character.
Which are the three most interesting books you have ever reviewed?
1. Lanes End by Julie Round
It is a touching account of a boy with learning difficulties who is launched into the adult world after his mother dies. The author handles the story expertly with great sympathy and I found it very moving. You can read my review at http://peatmore.wordpress.com/2010/08/
2. Gun Baby Gun by Iain Overton
This is a nonfiction account of the worldwide trade in small firearms. It is packed with frightening statistics and should be required reading for anyone who is concerned about the buying and selling of guns. These weapons are sold indiscriminately by large western companies to poor world countries, which in return export drugs and crime to pay for them. You can read my review at http://peatmore.wordpress.com/2016/02/
3. The Invisible Man by HG Wells
This tells of a scientific breakthrough that goes horribly wrong. I like the way Wells writes about scientific experimentation. He makes implausible science seem possible by going into minute detail. He shows that even though you cannot make the impossible happen in real life you can make anything happen with your pen. My review can be seen at http://peatmore.wordpress.com/2013/01/
Why did you choose your pen name as 'Jack Lindsey'?
My full name is Keith Lindsey Jahans. When I was looking to publish my first book I was a working microbiologist and had published in scientific journals so I wanted my fiction to be published under a different name. I initially decided that my pen name should be JK Lindsey with the JK standing for Jahans and Keith. However, a few years after using this name and before I was published, JK Rowling became the most popular fiction writer in Britain, so I decided to insert the letters "ac" to turn the name into Jack Lindsey to make my chosen pen name to appear completely different to hers.
What kind of books do you read?
I like to read a wide range of books as I hope you can see from those I have reviewed on my blog. Three books that have influenced me most are probably as follows:
1. Homer's Odyssey. This is the famous tale of a man who undertakes a journey and has to cope with various seemingly impossible situations thrown his way. It was originally a ballad or a poem in the original Greek. I do not speak Greek and have relied on English translations, but the essential ingredients of a novel are all there. I first read it as a teenager and have since read it and re-read it many times.
2. I love reading detective stories. My favourite may not appear to many people as an appropriate representative of the genre. It is The Double Helix by James Watson and is about the search for the structure of DNA. It is not fiction but I think is probably the most influential detective story of all time and it inspired me to follow my daytime job as a microbiologist.
3. My third book is Khoj by Ramzan Hakamali. Khoj is a Hindi word for "A Search". It is the true story of a family who migrate from India to Africa and end up in Britain after being expelled by Idi Amin from Uganda in the early 1970s. The narrative has a great deal of relevance to today because of the debate about migration and emigration. It is the only book that I have published that I have not written myself, but I felt it a story worth telling. Further details of its availability can be found at http://peatmore.com/khoj.htm
If you can choose another pen name and to write in another genre, which will they be?
One of the agents, I originally submitted my first book "Cogrill's Mill" to, in order to get it published, did not like it and advised me to rewrite it as a crime novel. I felt that she failed to understand the concept behind the novel, but instead of rewriting it decided to write a completely different story. It is called Victim of Compromise and is a murder mystery and is much darker and contains more sex and violence than the aforementioned novel, so I chose a different pen namely Luke Johnson which appeared to be as similar to my real name, Keith Jahans, as I dared. Again, I failed to interest publishers and agents, but, as a number of readers I showed the stories to liked what they read, I decided to publish them myself. Then five years after having retired from my job as a microbiologist, I decided to publish two ebooks recounting my experiences with motorcycling under my own name. The accounts are very short and so are priced around $1. The ebooks contain several photographs which I took myself along the way as I have long been interested in photography.
I continue to write. I am currently editing a novel written under my own name and another Jack Lindsey story is planned. I enjoy the writing process and hope people will continue to read and enjoy my books.
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