Interview: Ed Evans on Jack Knife

Here’s a little interview my dear friend Laurie conducted over Custard Creams and builders tea. With me (Ed Evans).

L: Please explain what you’re writing at the moment.

EE: My latest novel tentatively named “Jack Knife” is set in a near-future London. London has expanded both outward and upward, reaching into the sky.

L: What’s the general premise?

EE: Selena is “saved” from drugs by an underground anti-establishment leader named Onkel. Beliveing a war is coming, he’s set up shop under London in a top secret shelter with all of the others he’s rescued from various bad life decisions. As repayment Selena collects intel covertly, using her old skills as a confidence fraudster. Onkel gives Selena the names of VIPs to find and steal information from, but the first person on her list is dead. A serial killer is running riot around the city and she soon finds herself embroiled in the search for this killer, eventually fracturing away from Onkel’s group with the mysterious Jack Knife.

L: What genre would you say Jack Knife fits under?

EE: Jack Knife is primarily an urban fantasy story with occasional horror elements and a touch of the supernatural.

L: What was the inspiration behind your main point-of-view character, Selena Frischmann?

EE: I wanted to write about someone I hadn’t written about before. I was reading quite a few books on addiction at the time and things just fell into place. I can’t really recall where Selena came from, she just sort of arrived one day. I think I originally named her after Naomie Harris’ character in 28 Days Later. A dear writer friend then informed me that Selena meant “Moon Goddess” in Greek, which I thought was awesome and seemed to fit the vibe of the story nicely.

L: You mentioned London has expanded into the sky. Can you explain a little more about the city and how it has changed?

EE: Most of the old landmarks remain but it’s now a tiered city. A train line called the Skyrail connects the ground to the city in the sky and zeppelin docking platforms. Many rich people live there. London now looks a bit like a cross between Gotham City, Coruscant and the dystopian London Depicted in V for Vendetta. Lord Horatio Redden is the long-running PM and obsessed with Victoriana. Due to his influence and charisma, some of London’s aesthetics, denizens and popular culture has its mind set firmly on the past.

L: Who is Jack Knife?

EE: Jack Knife is a man with no past who is discovered by Onkel below London on a long-forgotten train track. When they find him he’s half dead. He’s super-intelligent and obviously there’s a story to tell there.

L: What is your schedule like?

EE: Sporadic. I fit it around my day job but write whenever I can. I’ll sometimes write on the bus and in the morning with my first cup of tea of the day. I ike blocking out a couple of hours after work sometimes to jot down ideas or sections of writing in a local cafe.

L: Do you do deadlines?

EE: I find my writers group is a good way to set deadlines. I know each time we meet I need at least another chapter, but I like to be a few ahead of the game.

L: What do you do when you’re not writing?

EE: I currently work as a digital designer in Bristol 9-5. In my spare time I like to watch films, read books, take pictures, go out with the girlfriend and potter about the house looking for (but often not doing) odd jobs. I also like sketching, but don’t do it enough outside of work these days.

L: Will there be a Jack Knife sequel?

EE: I have already written a story set in the same world as Jack Knife called “Romanse Macabre”. Chronologically “Jack Knife” is set before this and I plan on writing further entries in the series, too.

L: What’s Romanse Macabre about?

EE: It follows a meek factory worker named Laurence, a sleeper agent named Amelia, and a reanimated fallen soldier named Ithaca. They’re forced to face their pasts and team up and escape the fictional sea-side city they call home as a plague breaks loose.

L: Are you writing anything else?

EE: I plan on writing something different for NaNoWriMo this year. It’ll be based in a single location, with multiple point-of-view characters. And booze.

L: Finally, what’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?

EE: Probably “Animals” by Emma Jane Unsworth. Dubbed “Withnail with Girls” by Caitlin Moran, it struck all the right chords for me. Beautiful, hilarious and heartfelt. Real quotable prose. A close second would be Girl on The Train; completely different but a masterclass in uncomfortable page-turning.