I often refer to myself as a creature of habit. I love my routines. I love following the same set of steps, regularly and repeatedly. It gives me a sense of security – a sense of comfort. I don’t like too much change and I can struggle to deal with it. You can make your own conclusions about what that means in terms of my general psychological state (I know I have), but I don’t mind. At the age I’ve reached, I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin.
Of course, my love of routine and repetition finds regular expression in my writing. I definitely have a preferred style when it comes to the sorts of stories I like to tell. You can make a pretty safe bet that sometime in any story I write, there will be a heavily dialogue-based scene in which a character expresses ideas or opinions with a high degree of absurdity. I can’t help it. It’s what I love to write the best, and it’s often the way I express my ideas about the crazy nature of life in general. There’s often something of a comedy sketch nature to these scenes, which is perfectly natural given that my first attempts at writing involved comedy sketches, and also given the fact that I worship at the altar of writers such as Douglas Adams and the Monty Python team.
Having said that though, it’s really important to me as a writer that I’m pushing myself and trying different things. I’d hate to think I’m constantly rewriting the same story, just as when I wrote comedy I’d hate to think I constantly rewrote the same sketch. I’m always trying to experiment with different elements of writing – attempting a different genre, or trying to work with a different story length, or maybe trying to appeal to a different reading age. I hope that every story I write represents a completely unique experience for the reader – one they could not get from any other book, whether written by me or any other writer. My primary goal is to make sure my readers are never bored.
In summary, there are two qualities I try to impart into all of my stories. I like to think there’s a sense of commonality in everything I write – a thread that can be found in all my work. Something about the humour and the heart that I try to put into everything I create, so that anyone who picks it up can straightaway say, “That’s definitely another Jonathan Gould story.” But I also want to make sure there’s something unique about each one, so there will always be a surprise in store for the reader.
When a reader picks up any one of my stories, they’ll know they’re in store for something familiar, but also something wholly unexpected.
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