How would you describe working for Kogo?
I think it’s a really good company with very professional people. We work in a large open plan office which means everyone is on hand from engineers through to sales and marketing.
I understand you have written a book of short stories. Can you tell me more about it?
My book is called “The Clocks Have Stopped” and I write under my penname of J. L. Oakman. It is mostly fantasy and genre writing generally exploring the recurring theme of time passing without one’s control. There are 25 short stories and a number of poems in the collection. It is available through most major distributors, including Amazon and Waterstones. I have been able to use Twitter and Facebook to promote it; working for Kogo has really helped me to use social media to its full potential. I set up ad campaign to promote the book on FB and amazingly it has broken records, performing 95% better than similar ads on a pay per click basis. My book can be found on http://www.amazon.co.uk/Clocks-Have-Stopped-J-Oakman/dp/1786107546/
Do you have plans to write another novel?
Yes I do and I am hoping it will be ready for publication by the end of July. I like to set myself tough deadlines! The working title is “We Are Unfaithful”. It’s a series of translations of the 8th century Chinese Tang dynasty Buddhist poet Wang Wei, along with essays on the art of translating poetry.
Has writing played an important role in your family?
Very much so! All my family is involved in writing and my mother has had 5 books published and my brother writes at an alarming rate. It was my sister who originally inspired me to write; sitting with me when I was a small child and typing up stories that we would write together.
When thinking of writers, who would you say have influenced you the most?
That’s a difficult question. T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, Tolkien, and Neil Gaiman have all been huge influences on me. Some of my favorite pieces by them are The Waste Land by Eliot, The Stolen Child by Yeats, and The Sandman Series by Gaiman.
How do you see your career developing?
I do see myself as a writer. However, this complements my work with Kogo where I am learning all the time and the skills I have honed here have really helped me in the launch of my first book, and likewise my experience as a writer has helped with my work copy writing and editing at Kogo.
What do you do in your spare time?
That’s a tough one as my time is quite full with working 3 days a week for Kogo, writing, and completing my MA. However, when I can I love to cook and a real speciality of mine is Crème Brûlée. I also occasionally run a market stall at Plaw Hatch selling truffles, honeycomb, and all things sweet!
Is there anything that you are particularly proud of at this moment in time?
Yes, I’m really proud to say that my book has been in the top 100 in the Anthologies department on Amazon with a ranking of around #49. Although this is a constantly shifting number, I’m really chuffed!