Author Interview – James Aylott
This is our first time chatting with James. His bio sounds very interesting, and we think you will enjoy his interview with The Naked Reviewers.
James Aylott was previously a Hollywood paparazzo photographer who sold his successful paparazzi news agency in 2016. He received his education from the University of California, Berkeley, and King’s College, London. A prior resident of Delray Beach, Florida, he now splits his time between Berkeley, California, where his cat resides, and St Louis, Missouri, where his family currently lives.
Interview Conducted by Sherry Terry
TNR: What drew you to write in the Florida fiction genre?
James: I worked at Star, then based in Boca Raton for a year and being a transplant from Los Angeles via London it became instantly apparent that Florida had a unique culture. The phrase we use in the tabloid news trade to describe the daily news cycle in Florida is a “Man-Bites-Dog” kind of world. I then moved back to California but not quite being able to quit the Sunshine State I kept a vacation home in Delray Beach (Setting for Tales from The Beach House). Ten years of calling Florida a second home was enough to inspire at least one novel.
TNR: What is your favorite book in your genre, aside from yours?
James: Hotel Honolulu by Paul Theroux. Technically this is not Florida fiction as the novel is set in Hawaii. However, it is very similar in tone and it does a great job illustrating the dark underbelly and societal fringes of another place outsiders would typically consider a paradise. I read this book after I started writing my own book and was living part-time in Hawaii. Theroux’s almost Chaucerian structure in many ways is similar to the storytelling method I used. After reading this book I knew that what I was trying to achieve in my own writing was totally possible.
TNR: What are you currently working on and what is it about?
James: I am plotting out my second book that is provisionally entitled: Tales of Whiskey Tango from Misery Towers. This novel will be set in a creaking old apartment building overlooking the Mississippi River in St. Louis. The State of Missouri (where I am currently embedded) shares a lot of similarities with Florida. We also have strange people that find extraordinary ways to make themselves newsworthy. This book is going to be a cross between Gillian Flynn and Carl Hiaasen and will be a love letter to the Heartland.
TNR: That sounds very interesting! When you develop characters, do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?
James: My characters have a helpful habit of finding me. With a background in journalism, I have the ability to dig up potential characters on a daily basis. If you ever sit next to me a coffee shop or on a plane, do not start talking to me or you will end up in my next book. I keep detailed notes of all those things you should never be telling strangers that you have just met.
TNR: I’ll keep that in mind. It always amazes me how people will tell their deep dark secrets to a stranger. Do you proofread/edit all your own books before you submit them for publishing, or do you have someone who does it?
James: I did many edits myself, then I hired a copy editor and then I did many more edits myself. I found a few reader friends that also helped in the editing process. I was also in a writing group at my local library and aside from finding me wacky characters also helped with the process. Editing is tough and brutal and not much fun; I would love a team of editors on the payroll.
TNR: I always say it’s a good idea to hire an editor who fits with you. Friends and family are okay, but many will not read it or don’t want to hurt your feelings. Do you write with a specific reader in mind?
James: I think my target audience is anyone who has ever lived in a trailer park, wanted to live in a trailer park or has a chance of living in a trailer park in their future! If you like reading about quirky Florida and the infamous “Florida man” this is the book for you!
TNR: That sounds so funny! Would you or do you use a PR agency?
James: If I had the budget, I would love an entertainment PR to be out there batting for me. Unless you are already established, it is very hard to get press. This is why old television stars and people that are fringe famous or even infamous write so many books. The “C” list and-up celebrities are self-made press machines in the current low hanging media machine of today.
TNR: What do your fans mean to you?
James: Not sure if I have any yet but I will be very appreciative. Being in the celebrity news business, I was witness to just how unappreciative some entertainment industry stars can be to the people who are essentially bankrolling their lucrative careers.
TNR: What is your favorite movie and why?
James: That one has to be The Graduate. Mike Nichols turned an in my opinion mundane novel into the movie that defines an era. Having lived in Berkeley for fifteen years, this is really our town’s movie (filming/location continuity errors aside). Everything from that film is just great and if I manage to pull off a television adaptation of Tales from The Beach House (It’s being pitched now by a Los Angeles talent agency), I would love it to have the same quirky upbeat feel as The Graduate.
TNR: That was a good movie and it came out at the perfect time in history. What is something about you that people probably don’t know?
James: I once jumped into a swimming pool with Sharon Stone and a fresh out of jail OJ Simpson went a little crazy when he saw me hiding in a tree taking his picture (He was mad but I lived to tell the tale). I have a lot of celebrity stories that I will for now keep to myself and maybe one day that might make a great book!
TNR: Thank you so much for interviewing with us! We had a blast!
Check out James’ catalog! Every image of a cover is a link that leads to third-party retailers and are affiliate links. If you purchase the product in question by clicking on the cover, we earn a small portion of the profits.