Hello and welcome to another Author Q&A! This time, I had the pleasure sitting down with Jim Nelson (metaphorically), author of the recently released A Man Named Baskerville! You might have seen his book floating around on social media recently (hard to miss that beautiful cover!), as I had the distinct honor of organizing an online book tour through my company Escapist Book Tours!
We had a great time touring A Man Named Baskerville, but I wanted to follow that up with a short interview with the author, so you can find that below along with all the information about the author, the book, and links to snag yourself a copy!
A Man Named Baskerville by Jim Nelson
Genre: Crime / Historical Drama / Adventure
Intended Age Group: 14+
Published: March 18, 2022
Publisher: Self Published
He took on Sherlock Holmes and lost. Now he wants revenge.
In 1888, Sherlock Holmes slayed the spectral hound haunting the Devonshire moor, laying to rest the curse of the Baskervilles once and for all. The perpetrator escaped into the night and was presumed drowned, consumed by the murky bog…
In truth, the criminal mastermind survived the night to nurse his wounds and plot his revenge against Sherlock Holmes.
A MAN NAMED BASKERVILLE recounts the life and times of Rodger Baskerville, exiled heir to the esteemed family’s fortune. His journal records his adventures from the Amazon rainforests to the beaches of Costa Rica to Victorian England, where he attempts to take his rightful place at Baskerville Hall. Along the way, he peels back the layers of family secrets and scandals untold in Dr. Watson’s account of the demonic hound haunting the Baskervilles.
Most of all, he describes a Sherlock Holmes unlike the legendary detective you think you know.
A MAN NAMED BASKERVILLE retells the infamous Arthur Conan Doyle mystery in a way you’ve never read before. It’s a sizzling new take on a classic hailed as a masterpiece of the English language, named one of the most influential books ever by the BBC and Le Monde, and beloved by Sherlock Holmes fans worldwide for over a century.
It’s a rousing adventure, from start to finish. What’s more—it’s a Sherlock Holmes story unlike any you’ve read before.
Thank you so much for joining us for this short Q&A! Before we get going, please tell us a bit about yourself.
Thanks for having me! I’m a lifelong avid reader with interests in many genres, especially crime/mystery and science/speculative fiction. I’ve been writing since I was young, and turned to novels about eight years ago. My work includes the Bridge Daughter series, which regards an alternate Earth where mothers give birth to surrogate daughters who carry the “real” child to term. I’ve also written In My Memory Locked, a cyberpunk-noir, and Man in the Middle, a COVID-19 novel of suspense.
My latest, A Man Named Baskerville, is a big departure for me. I’ve never written any work set in Sherlock Holmes’ universe, or historical fiction for that matter. It was a challenging ride to get all the details right, and I’m proud of the final result.
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of reading/writing? Do you care to elaborate?
I’m a software engineer by trade, so old-school interactive fiction (video games like Zork and Enchanter) holds a special place in my heart. I made a stab many years ago at writing one, but set it aside to focus on my first novel. Recently I returned to the interactive fiction community with the goal to pick up where I left off. I released my first game earlier this year (a short work titled Past Present), and am ardently developing a more ambitious one titled According to Cain.
The interaction fiction community is a great gathering of people. If you’ve not played one before and are looking for a change of pace, I strongly suggest checking into it.
What do you think characterizes your writing style?
My favorite type of book almost always involves a tight focus on one or two main characters. It doesn’t have to be in the first-person, but the narration should stay close to that character. I especially like novels where the voice of the narrator drips from every sentence. It’s the magic of storytelling, where you don’t merely visit another world, but you inhabit another life.
That’s the style of narration I find myself returning to time and again in my books. Most of them stay close to a single character, and the character’s voice dominates in the telling. And I always strive to write the “un-put-downable” book, which I think is tied to a strong narrative voice. A Man Named Baskerville is, I think, an example of that.
I made a promise to stretch myself in this department. My current thinking is to write a book following two or three characters who intersect only on occasion. We’ll see!
For those who haven’t read A Man Named Baskerville, give us the elevator pitch.
While reading The Hound of the Baskervilles, I realized a second book was hidden inside it, a rousing, adventurous book about the villain no one else had noticed. A Man Named Baskerville is that book brought to life. In the process, it reshapes and retells the classic Sherlock Holmes story in a way I don’t think has been attempted before.
Were there any specific challenges with writing A Man Named Baskerville? Or, did you find anything to be easier?
The most significant challenge was writing in the style of the nineteenth-century British, as well as researching language, technology, and history, so as to be true to the time and place. As the book is told in Rodger Baskerville’s voice, I didn’t have to imitate Arthur Conan Doyle, but I did use The Hound of the Baskervilles as a primary source for so many things, including diction. I also did a considerable amount of research into more esoteric topics, especially the British peerage system and the baronet title, subjects very important to Rodger.
Was anything easier here than my other books? Actually, it was the character of Rodger that made one thing easier: He’s an audacious fellow, and quite confident. In my other books, the main character would often have to think through doing something outrageous or daring. Not Rodger! He’s the kind of person who barrels into a situation and bluffs his way out of it. That made for some fun chapters.
They say to never judge a book by its cover and maybe that’s true in the philosophical sense, but it certainly happens with books. Can you tell us about the idea behind the cover of A Man Named Baskerville?
This is my seventh novel. I’ve also published a novella, a collection of short stories, and have worked on a number of small magazines. What I’ve learned from all that is to keep covers simple. It’s easy to overthink them.
The reason I like this cover is that I think the kind of reader who would be interested in the story will know quickly if it’s for them. A hound atop a rock in moonlight and the name “Baskerville” instantly connects to the Sherlock Holmes title on which it’s based. At least, that’s the hope!
One of my favorite things is highlighting quotes that really resonate with me and sharing them in my reviews. Do you have a favorite quote from A Man Named Baskerville that you can share with us?
At one point in his journal, Rodger Baskerville writes: “If your religion does not recognize the essential truth of dogs’ humility and generosity, then your god is not my god.”
This came out of nowhere when I wrote it. It was not planned. Rodger is not the most likable character—he’s a villain, after all—but even with his black heart, he grew up around dogs, trained them, and cared for them. This is one subject he’s passionate about.
I really do feel that if you know what someone’s passions are, you know quite a bit about the person.
What can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you?
As mentioned, I’m hard at work on an interactive fiction called According to Cain. I’m also scratching around at my next novel, which may become a series. It’s an alternate history set in America’s past—swords and six-shooters. I’m always reluctant to discuss my work until it’s close to being finished, so I’ll leave it at that. Stay tuned!
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! I always enjoy this little peek behind the curtain. Do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to leave for our readers?
Thank you for reading, and I hope you consider picking up my latest creation. I’m very passionate about this book. It was a chance to stand in the shadow of one of the English language’s greatest writers—Arthur Conan Doyle—and offer my own take on one of his most notable works.
About the Author
Jim Nelson’s novels include Bridge Daughter (2016, Kindle Press), Stranger Son, and In My Memory Locked. His work has appeared in North American Review, Confrontation, Instant City, and other fine venues.
He divides his time between San Francisco and Tokyo.
Author Website: https://j-nelson.net
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/jim_nelson