I have great pleasure in sharing my interview with John Jack, author of Letters to My Former Self. John talks about his work as an actor, writing for yourself, and being chased by a helicopter!
Over to John…
JOHN JACK is an actor and producer of 20 years standing. He has enjoyed a career which has spanned the worlds of theatre, film and television and has appeared in many hit productions from award winning television programmes such as Silent Witness and Still Game to West End hits like Phantom of The Opera and Shout. John most recently starred in the Netflix movie, The Princess Switch, Switched Again, which will be released in Autumn 2020. Letters To My Former Self is his first foray into inspirational writing and is the first instalment of a multi part series.
Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?)
I’m an actor by trade, so I’m usually pursuing that career path when I’m not writing. My mother was a writer however, so I’ve been around words, in one form or another, all of my life. I went through a particularly dark period in 2008 and as a result of the changes I implemented, I found myself writing this book (which came out of a literary exercise) from a fictional older me, to my then current self. It was wonderfully therapeutic and so the idea of expanding it and publishing it was born. Now I’m almost finished volume two and it has been a very comforting experience to remind myself of all this good and positive stuff, whilst in the midst of all the chaos of 2020.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)
This is indeed my first book, but certainly not my last. It has been interesting to move from being the speaker of other people’s words to being the writer of them and it’s a process I think will be with me for a long time to come.
What genre is it, and what is it about?
The book falls into the life-coach or inspirational genres, creative non-fiction to be precise. It imagines a scenario where a much older self writes letters back to his younger self and offers life guidance and wisdom, through the medium of twenty-one essays or ‘letters’. It is a book designed to be read through and then kept to hand, to be consulted and dipped into again and again. A kind of literary life companion, if you will.
What or who inspired you to write this book?
I wrote it, quite literally, to myself. I’ve always been a creative type and so the idea of writing these essays seemed like a wonderful way of assimilating lots of new and profound information that I was coming across at the time. Eventually, I realised that there might be some help and guidance in there for others too and so I arranged and edited it into a book.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Sit down. An author once told me that nothing happens for a writer until the cloth of your trousers touches the cloth of the chair. Therefore actually forcing yourself to sit and just be with the words is the most important thing. Until that happens, nothing can happen. Most writers procrastinate, at least the ones I know.
What do you enjoy most about writing and why?
I enjoy the act of creation. It’s primal and it’s immediate. The first draft might be rubbish but that’s what first drafts are for. That act of creation however, for me, at that point in proceedings, is the buzz.
List three interesting facts about yourself
I’ve had tea with Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace
I’ve been in a Bafta Award Winning TV series
I was once (mistakenly) chased by a helicopter
What is your least favourite part of the publishing/writing process?
Writing: Distractions. Literally everywhere. Publishing: The fear that no one will read it, or like it. Actors are used to that feeling however and so you move through it and get on with it.
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Tell others! Leave reviews. Buy copies as gifts. Recommend it on book sites. Just generally be on the L2MFS team!
What is your next project?
There is a volume two in the works, then a volume three, by which time, I hope, this awful crisis is over and the entertainment industry can begin to recover.
If you could somehow converse your future self, what words of advice would they offer you? Letters To My Former Self imagines just this scenario and in twenty one warm and beautifully written essays, the author discusses life, love and happiness from the perspective of one who has seen it all before. The narrator’s voice is both wise and gentle and the advice given, timeless and universal. This is a manual for living, which can be turned to again and again for encouragement and guidance, at those points in life where we face the tyranny of choice or the uncertainty of change. It is a book which can be read from cover to cover or dipped into when needed and savoured like a fine wine.
Today’s world is awash with pain and uncertainty. The post-Covid horizon is beginning to look unnervingly different to its predecessor and humanity finds itself stumbling from one crisis to another. In this era of division and unpredictability, of political and social upheaval, the quiet, ancient wisdom contained in Letters To My Former Self is the antidote many have been searching for. It does not offer quick fix solutions or fly-by-night philosophy, rather it proffers a gentle guiding voice to the reader, serving up a steady stream of tried and tested advice and worldly-wise insights. The words between these covers are pertinent to every gender, race, sexuality or identity. The problems and experiences discussed in Letters To My Former Self are common to all of humanity and the book is designed to speak to you, whoever you are.If you find yourself in need of a mentor, an older, more experienced friend upon whom to lean for a while, open the pages of this book and begin to read. The voice you hear, will remain with you long, long after the final page has been turned.
Forward by PATTI CLARE, one of Britain’s best loved actresses. She has portrayed the character of Mary Taylor in Coronation Street for 12 years and has won numerous awards for her performance. She lends a comforting and insightful foreword to the book which sets the perfect tone for the wisdom and guidance to come.
Huge thanks to John for joining me on my blog to talk about his writing and publishing journey. Please take a few moments to follow his platforms, leave a comment, or buy his book.
Find out more about John Jack and Letters to My Former Self here: