1. What’s the book about … I’ve heard it’s something to do with mountains?
Mountains and mountaineering are prominent themes. In my story, 1896 is the year when everything changes. A new era of difficult ice and rock climbing begins when the north face of the Matterhorn is climbed, thanks to a combination of brilliant young talent and revolutionary equipment. O.G. Jones is one of the leading figures in this new wave of exploration, but his attempts to climb hard new mountain faces are thwarted by the schemes of rival Aleister Crowley. The disruption that follows shakes the world of climbing to its core.
2. So it’s not strictly historical fiction, is it?
In a word, no! I have used the history of climbing as a starting point to explore an alternative future that just might have happened, if the conditions had been right. Fans of historical fiction set in the Victorian era will find plenty to enjoy here–but it’s not meant to be precisely accurate. This is an exploration of possibilities and consequences.
3. Who are the main characters?
O.G. Jones is the main protagonist. A dissatisfied schoolmaster with an increasingly absorbing double life as an elite mountaineer, Jones dreams of a future where being different is no longer frowned upon by fellow climbers. While he struggles to maintain credibility in the eyes of his peers, he gets drawn into a feud with Aleister Crowley. As the story develops he is faced with a terrifying choice: climb on the most dangerous wall in the Alps, or allow Crowley to destroy everything he believes in.
Aleister Crowley is a young and incredibly talented climber. He dropped out from Trinity College, Cambridge, to climb full time and freely spend his enormous allowance. After developing radical climbing equipment that enables him to really test his limits in the mountains, he is avalanched and left for dead, his triumph on the north face of the Matterhorn claimed by rivals. When he returns, Crowley embarks on a campaign of revenge against those he believes conspired to ruin his life … including Jones.
4. I know nothing about climbing. Is this book for me?
If you enjoy historical novels with a varied cast of characters, an intriguing plot, and a good dose of adventure, you will enjoy this book. Being an expert on mountaineering is not a requirement!
5. When will the book be released, and will I be able to read it in paperback?
The Kindle Edition will be released on October the 21st, 2012. Other ebook formats will follow before the end of the year, and a paperback edition is scheduled for an early 2013 release.
6. Will I be able to find it in my local bookstore?
Unfortunately not; in the foreseeable future my books will only be available online.
7. Do you have plans to write other books in the series?
Yes. I am bursting with ideas and work is already in progress on a prequel called Alpine Dawn. This book is set in 1847-8 and explores the years immediately preceding the Golden Age of Alpine exploration … from a slightly unusual point of view, of course!
I have also planned a direct sequel to The Only Genuine Jones, set in 1899-1900. It’s going to be called La Dent Noire and explores the destiny of Jones and the new progressive climbing culture.
8. Can I visit the settings in the book?
All of the settings in The Only Genuine Jones are real and can be visited today. Clachaig in Glen Coe is very much the same as it was in the 19th century, although it has been expanded considerably; the same goes for Pen-y-Pass in North Wales. Wastdale Head (now spelt Wasdale Head) remains relatively unchanged, although in high summer when the valley is thronging with visitors it can feel very different from the quiet and secluded Wastdale of a century ago.
9. If I enjoy the story, how can I best show my support for the author?
Tell your friends! Authors thrive on word of mouth and the best thing you can do to help me is to recommend the book to people you think will enjoy it. I really appreciate honest reviews as these build up the profile of the book on Amazon. Showing your support on social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, also helps.