“I was interviewed on Skype today by a lovely (and…uh, moderately unhinged) lady in Amsterdam, and she’s posted the interview as a podcast. It’s here…


Fair warning: it’s a l-o-n-g interview…”

That was Jake Needham’s tweet about Talk2Cleo’s latest pod cast.

If this interview doesn’t knock your socks of, his new book, King of Macao, to be released in mid January, will. Jake is in full stride, and his readership is expanding (here’s an interview by Far Side) . He’s down to earth approach to his fans is a testament to a talented writer, who is always accessible to his fan base. This and other themes are discussed in the interview which was conceived on Twitter.

His first response was reticent to Cleo’s request ( or was it?). “@Talk2Cleo @i_far Hey, Cleo. I used to do a lot of interviews, but I feel like I’ve just been repeating myself and have sort of tailed off.” He was teasing her. His follow up tweet said it all: Talk2Cleo @i_far Still, ‘any friend of (Farside Travel) and all that rot. If you want me, I’m yours…

And she held her own. Cleo, who has her own style, had warned Jake before the interview. He was fine with it.

Cleo asks about his new book, The King of Macau, and how in the blurb, Jake write’s about Jack Shepherd as being a trouble shooter.

“I really like the word trouble shooter. It does imply how easy it is to fix something. A trouble shooter finds the problem then he shoots it. It solves the problem. But it’s never quite that simple and if it were that simple, I wouldn’t have a book.”

He’s tried to get his book into audio. Cleo asks if he will get his books into braille. “No, but I’ll get  back  to you on that one.” In  regards to audio books, he says he prefers to read them.An avid reader, he says he has over 30 000 plus books lying around his study.”Part of the process of reading is that you want to vary the pace that you read. Some things interest you a lot, and you may want to read them slowly, or even go back over them. Find a lovely piece of prose, and you may want to sit there and savour it.”

What is the process of writings, asks Cleo.

“The process of writing is pretty simple. You put your butt on the chair and your fingers on a keyboard and you do it.”

He says he clocks in at 9 am and clocks out at 5 pm. “It’s a real job. I’m a real kind of 9 to 5 kind of guy. I go to the office in the morning and work all day. Then I clock out at the end of the day. Have a couple of drinks and a cigar, and maybe watch a movie. But I don’t feel absorbed in my prose. I like my characters. I enjoy writing about these characters. They are very different people. But they don’t absorb me. It’s just my job.”

Asked if he was given a return first class ticket to Rio De Janeiro,  would he take it. Jake, who has traveled the world extensively  as an international lawyer, says he’d  pass. “The honest answer is no. I’ve traveled so much in my life that you simply reach a point that you have simply had enough. You have a list of places that are important to you. Places you like and things you would like to do again. And if you had time, you would rather do one of those things.”

On the craft of a novel, he he explains to Cleo he only works on one book at a time.

“That said, obviously you have ideas for another book, which I scribble in a notebook. But I’m a very linear writer. I sit down and start in the beginning. And I write until I get to the end and I go through it quickly to see if I have any errors that need correcting. Then I move onto the next book. It doesn’t sound very inspiring.

“But it seems to me that writing is in a large part, simple craftsmanship. If you are willing to make storage chests, you better well damn know how to make them. And you make them in a linear order. The parts have to fit together, in a reasonable order. And that’s craftsmanship. And I’m proud of my craftsmanship. And I try my best to protect it. And that means pursuing it in a very ordered and methodical way.”

What’s the quickest time frame for writing a book, asks Cleo.
“I think about six to eight months. Something like that. I find most popular fiction runs around 85 to 95 0000 words. And that’s about two months to generate a draft.”

Cleo concludes the interview “You delivered the baby, so to speak,” says Cleo. “What are you going to do now, smoke a cigar?”

Jake says the next book, the third in his Inspector Tay series, is “bubbling along. This one is called The Dead American. It will be probably be out in late summer. I got the notes for the beginning. But I’m not sure how it’s all going to play out. But I’ll start it in earnest sometime in early January.”

Thais like pissing on Singaporeans, and Singaporeans love pissing on Thais. A figure of speech. So his book sales oscillates in each country,  depending on who is doing the most pissing.  Just refer to A World of Trouble or The Ambassador’s Wife to catch the drift of this current. He calls Thailand and Singapore two of the most close minded countries. More on this in the interview.

This is Jake Needham at his best — irreverent and  funny,  as I tweeted:

@JakeNeedham this interview by @Talk2Cleo relaxed & interesting, “irreverence borne out of ironic view on life” – she even pried that out!

As to that lovely “unhinged” girl from The Netherlands, she’s breaking all the rules.  This is podcasting as never seen before. She busted my balls in this interview.

“Yeah.. you KNOW I will call you “egg-sucker” now whoehahahahahaha!” My hands are up, I admit defeat. And apparently she charmed the pants of Mr. Needham too!

@i_far @jakeneedham unhinged? I was not unhinged.. woehahaha, that is how I am *smile*

See, she’s busting his balls too!



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