Jamie D. Stacey, Author Spotlight

Men don’t talk, especially about grief. But they should—before it’s too late.

When Corey explains that he is on an Arriva Wales train with ‘no destination in mind other than the furthest place possible’, you know resistance is futile. You’re going to have to take a seat on that ride.

Grief throws Corey into a disordered world where nothing makes sense. His reality is fractured by dark stabs of mental pain that convert his life into an unfathomable maze. He doesn’t know forward from backward, where normality has gone or how to get it back.

In despair, he buys a one-way ticket on the ‘Train to Nowhere’. It derails on a dark, isolated beach in the Highlands, where he befriends the only other known survivor, Skye. Sheltering in a ghost town, they embark on a strange journey to find answers: how did the train crash, what is this place and, most worryingly, who is Skye?

Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about Jamie D. Stacey whose book All the Waves, Calling compelled and thrilled me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love psychological thrillers and tales that provoke your thoughts but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight, a biography of the author and an interview between me and Jamie D. Stacey will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Jamie D. Stacey!

Jamie D. Stacey lives in Swansea, South Wales, with his family. He has been a metal worker cutting aluminium and an academic in international relations; has chased after children as an animateur in Bordeaux, France, and lived in a martial arts academy in Rizhao, China; spends a lot of time baking unusual bread and even more unusual cakes; is a son, a dad, a husband… He says yes when he can and tries to understand and write the world one story at a time. An avid reader of scratches on walls and scribbles in notebooks, he is drawn to stories that empathise, encourage, and empower. Whether he writes very short stories or novels, whatever the form or shape it’s the heart and hope inside each that matters.

Now, how wonderful does Jamie D. Stacey sound?! Jamie D. Stacey is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of the author’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and the author and I hope that you enjoy + answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!

Thank you for joining us today at Red Headed Book Lover! Please tell us more about yourself

Hello! My name is Jamie, I’m Welsh, a father, a teacher, a yoga enthusiast, a life enthusiast, an oats and dates and curry enthusiast… I’m also a writer, writing novels, (very) short stories; and a reader, reading almost anything and also officially a ‘reader’, that is I get to read other people’s writing that they submit to a journal for publication. Whatever the context, I am drawn to stories that empathise, encourage, and empower.

Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book?

Hope. Loss, resilience – and hope. And a few more words: you (yes you, the reader), are phenomenal (I’ll remind you later).

In All the Waves, Calling, we follow Corey, a young man trying to escape his past and pain who buys a one-way ticket on the so-called ‘Train to Nowhere’ which derails in the Scottish Highlands. Wandering the dunes he comes across one other survivor, the woman in the purple jumper, Skye. Together they walk until they come across what appears to be an abandoned town where they seek shelter. Yet this is no ordinary town. Filled with nightmarish cats, a cute, fluffy white bunny rabbit, a long-abandoned house, this place is full of memories. This is the place where he is meant to be…

All the Waves, Calling, on the one hand tackles some hard themes including mental health, depression, isolation… but on the other hand it is also an exploration of connection, memories, and hope. I really want the reader to know that this novel is about hope, even if it feels when reading at times that all hope is lost. Hope is what makes Corey see the light as well as the dark on the train, hope is what brought Corey and Skye together, hope is that thing we lose and find in the darkest of places. And Corey finds himself lost in a few dark places: he loses himself in the Scottish Highlands, lost in his grief, lost in an abandoned town that’s ready to swallow him whole if he’ll let it. But he won’t. That’s what we, the reader, have to believe. And hope is, I promise, everything we have in the end.

I was inspired to write this novel following a period of, well, being lost. I was spending many long periods alone, in my home or in faraway places or what felt like both at the same time. I found myself drawn to remote, isolated places and I needed to make sense of this feeling somehow. That’s where All the Waves, Calling began, and that journey took me to more places than I could ever have expected!

What is your writing process like?

Chaos, chaos, and a sprinkling of chaos. I’m actually quite an ordered person, and I like routine and habit but for some reason writing just defies this about my usual character. I think of the novel. It’s about a young man on the so-called Train to Nowhere which derails in the Scottish Highlands, who ends up trapped in an abandoned town filled with nightmarish cats, a cute, fluffy little bunny rabbit and walls closing in. Nothing feels routine or habitual here. And same for me: I’ve written on buses, trains, and planes, in the day, in the night, on laptops, computers, phones, in Wales, in Japan, when I was tired, when I was ecstatic…

I like to think All the Waves, Calling takes the best from this. Chaos, chaos, but also a little bit of something we all hope for – a return to love.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Research is, in part, a lived experience. While I do research in the normal sense (for example, Corey pays a very specific price for his train ticket which, at least prior to a year of high inflation(!) actually went from Swansea to somewhere in particular), I do research mostly as a sort of lived experience. In this regard I sort of treat a novel (or any story) like a recipe. And in this recipe there are three simple ingredients: myself, others, and pure imagination.

Every story I write has to be anchored in some experience I’ve felt or gone through. The story itself doesn’t have to be about me, but for example if I’ve been somewhere and can bring a setting to life – like the calm whispers of the Ganges at the foot of the Himalayan mountains or the cold, gnarling streets of Brackla in South Wales on a Friday night then great, it anchors the story.

Then there’s other people, and I love to read and listen to other people’s stories. And people are very interesting. You are very interesting – you’ll have experiences and idiosyncrasies that could write novels. So I listen, I read, and I’m inspired by others to write.

Finally, imagination. Pure imagination. All these experiences and stories need a little magic, and luckily, I’m an excellent sleeper and dreamer (night and day!) and I like to let stories stir and set in the wonderful spices of the imagination. And all three ingredients together, voilà, we have this beautiful thing called a story.

What would your advice be for aspiring writers?

Find your why.

What you’ll write, who you’ll write for, even when you’ll find time to write etc. are all important questions and there’s an avalanche of advice out there. And go for it, seek out wisdom from those who have been there. Yet equally our journeys are all unique and whenever I need to get back to basics it’s always that small, giant word – why. Why do I write, why this story? And that’s when the story begins…

So if you’re an aspiring writer or even a seasoned writer then ask yourself, when you need to – right now – why do you write?

In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book? 

Feeling. Something. Intensely. It could be funny or sad, thought-provoking or pure escapism, plot-led or character-led, but when I read or write anything I always fall back to the emotional beat of the story and ask myself: do I actually feel anything when I read, something that really quickens, or stops, my heartbeat? If you, the reader, feel intensely when you read All the Waves, Calling, when you find out the reason why Corey is here, if you’re crying or clutching the pages at the end of 4 days to go…, then great, you felt something. We felt something.

Do you read much, and if so, who are your favorite authors?

I read fairly often, fairly eclectically, from fairly hefty books to fairly fairy tales. I also emphasise the eclectically. From The Gruffalo to Encyclopaedia of Astronomy with a five-year old, to Welsh-based novels like Vulcana to Nobel Prize contenders like Murakami, I’m drawn to a range of genres, themes, and mediums. I try to have no limits and push the limits of my own world as much as possible.

I’m not sure I have a ‘favourite’ author or authors, though for All the Waves, Calling, I kept a list of all those who I feel left some small (or significant) mark on me and the novel. I like to tell readers that the novel is the magical realism and imagination of Haruki Murakami meets the evocative setting and prose of Amy Sackville meets the heart and hope of Matt Haig. Does that sound like a novel you want to read?

Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?

(*Frantically trying to balance work, kids, and this little thing called life…).

I’m currently working on the next two novels, the first of which I’m 40,000 words in and hoping to finish in the next few months. My hope is to have the next novel out for early Spring 2025. In the meantime, I also write flash fiction (think very, very short stories), most of which are free and available online – some even provide a sneaky peak into the next novel!

Whatever the plan I remind myself why I write: to empathise, encourage, and empower. And of course you, dear reader, make it happen. You are phenomenal.

BONUS: what have others said of All the Waves, Calling?

‘Your emotions will be wrecked and you won’t be able to put this down…All the Waves, Calling has one of the cleverest, most satisfying endings of a novel I have read in a long time.’—Jackie Buxton, author (Tea & Chemo, Glass Houses) and editor

This novel reads like a fever dream…[Corey’s] journey for answers in a world where his past and present collide. Jamie D. Stacey knows how to keep the tension high; he understands what it means to become lost in grief and how to navigate a difficult subject with a gentle and sensitive touch.—Sam Payne, fiction and CNF editor at Janus Literary

At times confusing, at others harrowing in its raw intensity, overall it is a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit. Highly recommended.—Lorraine Mace, author of the D.I. Sterling series

…radiant with all the colours of hope.—Michael W. Thomas, author of The Stations of the Day, Under Smoky Light and Sing Ho! Stout Cortez: Novellas and Stories.

Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Jamie D. Stacey! If you have liked what you have read about the author and are interested in learning more, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.

Goodbye for now book lovers,

Amazon USAmazon UKGoodreads

Author: WebsiteXMediumWaterstonesBlack Pear Press

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