I live in a little village outside Leicester with my wife, two daughters and two cats. My day job is a director of an advertising agency.
My first novel, The Zoo, was published to critical acclaim in 2015 by Sandstone Press. Amazon made me one of their rising stars that year. My short story, Home Game, was featured in the Lost and Found anthology published by Dahlia Press.
My second novel, Kings of a Dead World was released on June 10th 2021, has been an amazon bestseller, was longlisted for the BSFA awards and has received some great reviews:
“Mollart’s intriguing and timely premise is executed with verve – Kings of a Dead World is filmic in its scope.” – Alison Moore, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize
“A haunting vision of the near-future with expert world-building and rich complex characters, Kings of a Dead World kept me gripped from beginning to end.” – Temi Oh, winner of the Alex Award
“This is a frightening, thoughtful vision exploring where power lies when even the act of being awake is revolutionary.” – Aliya Whiteley, shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award
“Kings of a Dead World intrigued me with its title and had me on page one. Mollart’s dystopian vision is as disturbing as it is brilliant.” – Giles Kristian, Sunday Times Bestselling author of Lancelot
Waterstones special edition with sprayed green edges: https://www.waterstones.com/book/kings-of-a-dead-world/jamie-mollart/9781914518027
I’ve been a long running guest on Litopia, the web’s biggest writing podcast, interviewed by BBC Ulster, BBC Radio Leicester, BBC Radio Nottingham, featured at The Isle of Man Book Festival, Lowdham Festival, Writing East Midlands’ Writing Conference and have taught novel writing for Writing School Leicester.
I’m a member of Nottingham Writers Studio, The Society of Authors, and the newly launched Climate Fiction Writers League, a group of global authors all raising awareness about climate change through their writing.
You can find me on twitter @jamiemollart and my website is jamiemollart.co.uk
1) Tell us a little about yourself
Kings of a Dead World is the second novel that’s been published and I’m working on my third right now. In fact, I’m taking a wee break from writing in order to answer these questions.
I live in a little village outside Leicester with my wife, two daughters and two cats. My day job is a director of an advertising agency – so with a full time job and a writing career and two children I don’t get to rest much.
2) Were you a big reader growing up?
I devoured books from the minute I could read. I’m very lucky to have parents who massively value reading so it was something that I was brought up on.
Whenever anyone sat down in my house they almost always immediately had a book in their hands. Some of my earliest and fondest memories are of my parents reading to me and that’s something that I’m trying to recreate for my children.
There was a gap in the late teenage years when there were other things that distracted me, but my love of reading has never really gone away. At any one time I’ve always got a paperback, a book on the kindle, and an audiobook on the go.
3) What made you want to become an author?
I don’t think it was ever a conscious decision, I’ve always just written, in the same way as I’ve always read. I think in many ways writing is a vocation. I find it cathartic and it helps me explore things that are stuck in my head. It was a natural progression from short story to the long form of novels and I wrote quite a few rubbish ones as I worked my way into it. It was quite unplanned and organic.
Trying seriously to get published was a different thing though, and was something that I actively pursued. I spent a lot of time on Litopia, the writer’s forum, learning my craft, but also learning about how publishing worked. I had a moment of epiphany when I realised that the industry wasn’t just a load of evil gatekeepers who were trying to stop my genius getting out to the public, and that there was a business there which had processes the same as any other. Once I understood this it totally changed writing from a hobby into something that I wanted to take seriously and work at until I had a book published.
I’ve written a blog for Writers and Artists Yearbook about this journey (https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/advice/10-things-ive-learned-getting-my-first-novel-published)
4) What is a great book that you’ve read recently and why should we read it?
Skyward Inn by Aliya Whiteley. It’s a beautiful, thoughtful and melancholic piece of sci-fi, which is also a retelling of Jamaica Inn. Set on a future Earth where a war has been fought with an alien planet and south-west England has been reimagined as the Western Protectorate, an area that has maintained the traditional farming methods of an older England even while they can see the nearby space port which links the planet with the vanquished planet Qita. What follows is something much more intimate and touching than the set up suggests, and is a serious meditation on colonialism, identity and belonging. It’s a really wonderful book and sits comfortably as my favourite book of 2021.
5) Tell us a little bit about Kings of a Dead World. What are some themes explored? In your own words what type of book is it?
Kings of a Dead World is a piece of Dystopian Cli-Fi set in a near future Britain where the resources have run dry. The governments have come up with a solution – The Sleep. The majority of the population put into enforced hibernation for 3 months to wake for 1 to live their lives. Only one person stays awake per area – the Janitor – and they oversee the Sleepers and trade resources with each other to gain Creds for their Sleepers. It tells the story of one Janitor, Peruzzi, who is lonely and desperately searching for connection, and Ben, an elderly Sleeper, who is dealing with his wife’s degenerative disease each time they Wake.
I wanted to explore the idea of culpability on a local and global scale, the value (or lack of it) that we place on how we use our time, and what human beings are capable of when there’s no checks and balances.
6) Why write Dystopian Science Fiction?
The weird thing is that while I was writing Kings of a Dead World I didn’t really think it was a piece of dystopian fiction, crazy I know, but I was just thinking about the story I wanted to tell. I was influenced by the films and books I was reading at the time, which were very much the 70’s / 80’s sci fi classics, and I was having some big thoughts about society and the environment, and that all percolated into something that ended up as dystopian fiction, but it was accidental rather than a conscious decision.
7) Who are some of your favorite authors and why?
I’ve got a really eclectic reading taste so I’m aware this is going to be a bit mixed up!
JG Ballard – he’s the master of the big sci-fi idea condensed into a very personal story. He changed the way I thought about sci-fi, he made me realise it was more than space operas.
Bret Easton-Ellis – he’s the arch stylist, on a sentence level he can’t be beaten and American Psycho is one of my favourite novels of all time.
Peter Carey – he can turn his hand to anything and make it perfectly. He’s been shortlisted for the Booker 5 times and won it twice – that in itself is incredible.
Adrian Tchaikovsky – it boggles my mind how someone so productive can be so consistently good too and I say this with no small part of professional jealousy.
China Mieville – he has one of the most prodigious imaginations of any writer. He always reaches for the sky in his work and whatever he writes is at worst interesting, at best staggering.
Alison Moore – Alison can do more in 150 pages than I can in 400. Her control of the english language is unbelievable and she has this style of writing which just feels unnerving but it’s impossible to pin down how she does it.
8) I love book quotes. Do you have a favorite, non-spoiler quote from Kings of a Dead World that you’d like to share?
Hopefully this isn’t too spoilery, I just really like the metaphor…
“People had been expecting the world to end for so long that no one really noticed when it did. Like frogs in water slowly brought to the boil, we all assumed we wouldn’t be the ones alive when it happened. No-one thinks they will live to see the end of the world. But someone has to, so why shouldn’t it have been us?”
9) What is one thing that you love about the current state of Science Fiction and what is one thing that you wish you saw more of?
The sci fi scene seems very vibrant to me at the moment, there’s been some awesome books coming out over the last couple of years. I’ve loved discovering Afrofuturism so I’m going to be reading more of that, and I’ve really enjoyed the blurring of genres that has been happening recently. It feels like we’re at a rich moment in the history of sci-fi, and it’s getting some recognition in the mainstream that it didn’t used to have. Personally I love the cerebral sci-fi like Skyward Inn and I’d been keen to see more of that coming through.
10) What’s up next for you as a writer?
A running theme in all my writing so far is toxic masculinity and the destructive male relationship. Men are our own worst enemies and we very often have friendships which bring the worst out in each other. Because it’s something I keep coming back to I’ve confronted it head on in my next novel. It’s a piece of speculative fiction dealing with toxic masculinity, the cycle of male violence, the rise of nationalism in the UK, PTSD and how all of that can be broken. As I’m writing this I’m aware that there’s a lot of big issues there so I’m hoping I can do it justice. I’m very nearly ready to send it to my agent, so we shall see…