In light of the recent Marmite crisis in New Zealand, Newsnibbles thought this would be as good a
time as any to talk to Marmite fan and author Samuel Z Jones.
How do you feel about Marmite?
I love Marmite, eat it with a spoon. I’ve also been known to drink Tabasco sauce and smoke chilli cigarettes. Only once with the chilli-smoking, it’s like being tear-gassed.
What did you do before you became a writer?
Before writing for a living, I taught martial arts. Seriously. I taught, and sometimes still teach, an obscure Karate style called Kobujutsu I’ve also trained demonstration teams to use nunchuks, and taught fencing.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, I’ve always wanted to be a writer: my grandfather used to put my stories into competitions when I was a kid.
What is it about the fantasy genre that particularly appeals to you?
Fantasy in particular appeals to me because it’s the study of dream imagery and the subconscious; the internal state of the character mirrored in their external surroundings. I get into rows sometimes with people on-line who don’t get that, but people with PhDs and Masters degrees have gaped and asked me to elaborate at length, I’ve eaten out more than once just on my theories about the relation of Fantasy writing to mythology and human psychology.
How did you go about inventing an entire new world?
A Fantasy world begins with one character and their experiences. I have a chat with them then hitch a ride wherever they’re going, on the way I hook up with other characters and the world just unfolds through their stories. My inspirations are many, but without listing them all, my grandfather, my favourite Fantasy author Hugh Cook, my favourite book The Worn Ouroborous, and the film Excalibur. I’m also a fan of obscure 80’s Fantasy cartoons, which at the time were the only on-screen Fantasy outlet.
Where do you stand on the issue of Pet Couture?
I think all pets should be dyed day-glo pink, for health and safety.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
New authors… Learn to write! Master the language, it’s not just about throwing of brilliant prose in a fit of poetic genius, then collapsing exhausted for a nip of the Green Fairy and erudite musings with other creative types! Writing is a learned skill, punctuation is not optional, spelling and grammar ARE things you have learn, writing a novel is a serious endeavour! Argh!
If you had to turn a Newnibbles story into an epic fantasy novel, which would it be and why?
I’d probably do a story about a badger. Possibly another superhero pastiche involving a plot to conquer the world with hot-sauce and yeast-derivitive spread.
You can see more by Samuel Z Jones by clicking here.