I had the immense pleasure to read The Little Voice and be able to ask a few questions Joss and he was so kind to respond to.
Thank you Joss once again for dedicating some of your time to do the interview 🙂
Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did!
1. Could you share what was the main reason that pushed to write The Little Voice?
My first novel, “Involution & Evolution”, was about a group of conscientious objectors in World War One. Its message was relevant, but its setting was detached from the modern era. My second novel, “Occupied”, was based on the situations in Palestine, Kurdistan and Tibet. It was up to date, but set in countries which were off the radar of most Western readers. So I wanted to write something more relatable; somethings set both in the modern era, and in the Western world. I think I managed that. “The Little Voice” is about an unspectacular individual who, I hope, most readers will be able to associate with. It touches on issues that affect people living in the UK today; the breakdown of social relations, individualism, materialism, depression and mental health. And it shines a light on the things we assume to be normal and every day, but which, analysed from a distance, are actually pretty scary.
2. The whole book is like a sanctuary of your life, what were the most difficult and the most enjoyable passages to write?
I’m not sure that the book is a “Sanctuary of my life”, to be fair. It’s based on my own personal experiences, in part, purely to make it relatable. I didn’t want to create a special character, just an everyday sort of chap. Large chunks of it are autobiographical. But large chunks of it are made up. And large parts of it are philosophical and psychological, designed to get the reader to think.
The most enjoyable parts for me to write were the little acts of rebellion. I love looking back on the mischief I caused as a child. At the time, when I was told off, I felt terrible for being me. But looking back on those times, whilst writing, I felt a reconnection with my inner-child, which was a lovely experience.
The hardest parts were writing about Yew’s (the main character’s) parents. My parents were horrible; they made me do things I didn’t want to do, didn’t need to do, didn’t benefit from, and actually suffered from. Raking up those old experiences and feelings was pretty rough.
3. How do you feel now that you have the book published? What has changed for you?
I feel happy to see it sell! After writing two books which were popular amongst the people that read them, yet not widely read, it’s nice to see a book do really well in the charts. And, of course, it’s nice to see that people still love the book. I write to entertain and inform, at the end of the day, and it’s great to see that’s what my books have been doing!
4. Is there anything about the book that you would have done/write differently?
People have misinterpreted some sections. They’ve felt that the main character, someone so selfless that he forgoes his own entire personality and happiness to please others, is somehow selfish. I just don’t understand it. But the great thing about writing in the modern era is that you can re-write bits as you go. So I’ve added a few lines here and there to make it blindingly obvious just how selfless Yew actually is.
5. I was really touched when I read the part about your drug issue and your recovery, is there anything you would like to tell to those people that are struggling with this kind of addiction?
I never had a drug addiction. That bit was made up. It’s a serious issue, one which I’d love to be able to advise on, but I don’t think I’m the right person to talk about that.
6. Describe yourself in 3 words.
Rebellious. Introverted. Empathetic.
7. If you could time travel to what time period you would like to go to and why?
Either to the future, to see how things work out, or to the very early days of humankind, back before governments and states, when people still had a connection with nature.
8. Share with us some of your favorite quotes no matter their origin (be it movie, a book or else)
“In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”. George Orwell
“There are no such things as illegal immigrants, only illegal governments”. Asian Dub Foundation
“Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come”. Victor Hugo
9. What is your preferred method of writing? Do you use a pen and paper or technology?
I use my laptop. The idea of writing with a pen and paper is really romantic, but I think it’d drive me mad! I write and re-write sections over and over again; spending more time editing than writing. I need a word processor to do that, or I’d never finish a book!
10.Tell us some random funny fact about yourself.
I once won the “Mister Puny-Man Award” on a family holiday. When I got my medal presented to me in assembly, the whole school laughed at me!