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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author James Ally talks about the inspiration behind his romance novel, Gate D5.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed James Ally about his life and career, what inspired him to start writing, and the story of his new romance novel, Gate D5.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
When someone asks such a question thousands of albums open up in my head. I browse through them to choose what I think fits, but this is always a difficult task because it is impossible to be objective about it.
First and foremost, I am a sensitive romantic. I love walks in the park to which I take my cat Luna. She is a star in every place we go. People come up to say hello and pet Luna.
In reality, I am a shy person, but in my writing I am never afraid to talk about difficult and important things.
Ever since I can remember I have always wanted to write. At first the words came to me in verse, but then the stories I wanted to write down formed.
I am an economist by training. I went in this direction when I became interested in financial accounting in high school. I studied for many years to be the best at what I do.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
I have described many stories, imprisoned them in the past, unable to decide which one I will release. And when someone important came into my life the words mercilessly began to poke at me. I was at the airport at the time. I took out the notepad I always travel with and began to write, feeling that the story would not be imprisoned.
When did you take a step to start writing?
It’s hard to answer exactly when it happened, but I think it was when I was a child and the first words came to me the way an unexpected visitor visits you. I remember it was at night. I was a child at the time and couldn’t fall asleep. The words started coming to me and I grabbed a notebook. I wrote down what was creating in my mind and that’s how the first story was written.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
It was a long process. The story became a long story that only a small circle of my friends read. They decided that the story deserved more and so my work on the novel began.
What made you want to write Gate D5?
The simplest answer I can give is that the universe itself asked for this book. I was going through a difficult moment in my life and then the words visited me.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Gate D5?
The emotions that flowed out of me while writing. It was as if I was reliving it all over again. Sometimes I had to take longer breaks, because coming back to the memories was not easy.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?
This story had to be told by someone real. Someone who experienced it all. Otherwise it would have been deprived of its truthfulness and the strong emotions that accompany us throughout the novel. We peep into the life of the main character. We walk with him through pain, suffering, but also through laughter, joy and the love that comes over him. We witness his changes and difficult choices. One moment we are sitting with him on the sofa at his therapist’s, the next we are learning about his airport life. Who could tell it better than Tom.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
Since I drew inspiration for the story from my own life, it was a certainty that the Antagonist must be my husband. However, this does not necessarily mean that he is a bad character. He just can’t cope with his emotions and love, which creates a world of problems for him.
What is the inciting incident of Gate D5?
This question can best be answered by the thought I put into the book.
When fate does not allow your heart to die, it causes an incredible pain: the pain that teaches you to love anew.
What is the main conflict of Gate D5?
The conflict in my novel is Chris’s infidelity, which Tom discovers. He is then faced with a big choice: whether to give his husband a chance or walk away from him. Marriage was something important and inseparable to him. By deciding to forgive him, he trapped himself in an emotional trap from which he could not get out. And just when it seemed like it had to stay that way, Lucas appears in Tom’s path.
Did you plot Gate D5 in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
When I started writing this story, I didn’t plan anything. I simply took out my notebook and wrote. When the draft was ready, only then did I start planning what I should change or add.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Gate D5 need?
Every writer needs a fresh perspective from someone who understands us and knows what we are trying to achieve. Sometimes, locked up in our own novel, we don’t see what’s important in it and what’s not. Because everything is important to us. Every word of our protagonist, his gesture, his movement, his gaze. That’s why I think editing is a very important element for a writer. It helps him to look at his work objectively.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
Listen to the words that come to you and they will guide you along the right path.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
After the publication of my book, readers started sending me messages with one and the same unmet desire. I cannot reveal which one, because then I would spoil the surprise I had prepared in the second part of my book GATE D5.
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
When I finished my novel doubt came and I wanted to put it away in a drawer, but I made a promise that I had to keep.
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