Inside the mind of: Alexander Jackman

Post-modernism set the trend for innovative literature and has since welcomed a barrage of unconventional authors from the UK. Over police sirens and London traffic, I finally got to speak with one of them, 30-year-old Alexander Jackman about his debut book, I AM and in doing so got to the bottom of his growing zest for writing.

Vicky: So how has everything been? Tell me about your recent trip to China.

Alexander: Well this year so far I’ve done three trips regarding my book, so its Gambia, Boston and China. I went to Germany at the beginning of October and then Costa Rica at the end of October.

V: Are these trips all to promote the book?

A: No, these are book fairs. It’s a very different kind of environment, this is for all the professionals- your copyright people,  your agencies, your publishers, it’s quite intense.

V: How did the book affect you just putting so much thoughts down onto paper?

A: For me it wasn’t so much the book that affected me, it was more the experiences that I had, and when I realised that I’m not alone in those experiences, it was time for me to share it…The book was really about saying, ‘Look it’s time to open up man and be real!’

V: When you initially started writing did you imagine it being published one day?

A: Probably no, that wasn’t actually how it happened. I just had a collection of work that I’d written during my time at university and someone said you should be putting this work in a book or something. And I mean after you write something, I guess when you don’t have that goal to say, ‘Alright, I’m writing a book,’ I think maybe your writing becomes a lot purer, so when it came out like I realised that, you know what? Sometimes you have to put it out like that and not be afraid.

V: So what was it that you were studying at university then?

A: Totally unrelated. [Laughs] Business studies. In some respects that business studies has stood me in good stead with this book because it’s helped me to look at the different ways to market it…But I think the best thing is word-of-mouth, it will always be the best marketing tool anyone can use.

I AM @ The Great Wall

V: I noticed that you’ve featured a lot of dedications, why is that?

A: At the end of the day, those people have helped me to become who I am, and be it in a positive or negative experience at the time, they’ve all contributed and it’s important to recognise that…A lot of those people in the end I might not have ended on good terms however I can always look back on that say, you know what? If that didn’t happen then I wouldn’t happen.

V: Right now you’re not writing full-time, what’s your day job?

A: I work with young people in the capacity of homelessness, I work with vulnerable adults so were talking about mental heath, violent ex-offenders, people with drug and alcohol issues. I mean those are the people as well that a lot of my writing is coming from. If they don’t have a voice I’d like to be the voice for them so that we can all appreciate a perspective.

V: What’s next for you then? I know you’re currently working on the follow ups to I AM so volumes two and three should be coming soon.

A: Yeah, my novel is so exciting. What I’ve written so far- wow, you don’t know how good you are until you can see what you can create …But I’m also writing plays which will be in production next year, so we have a couple of theatre productions lined up. I’ve got workshops to be doing as well, so I’m going round to schools in the country, abroad as well, which is the reason why I was in Gambia and Boston- just working with young people trying to help them realise their potential.

V: It all sounds really exciting!

A: It’s the energy from myself, if I keep going and doing what I’m doing, things will work out in the end.



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