Joni Dee is the author pen name of a UK based young financial professional. His enthusiasm for thrillers in particular and fiction in general, has led Joni to write his debut novel “And the Wolf Shall Dwell”.
While his writing style is inspired by the great masters of imagery such as Hemingway and Clavell, his gripping story lines have taken after giants such as le Carré, Greene and Derek Raymond. A Chief Sergeant (Ret.) from military intelligence, Joni bases his novels loosely on his vast knowledge of the espionage world. He lives in London with his wife and two children.
Where are you originally from?
I grew up in Tel Aviv Israel, although half of my family is from Canada and North America. As a kid,we travelled to North America annually, and I hold both a Canadian Passport as well as an Israeli. I’ve been living in London, UK for the past 7 years, and now also a British national. So, one might say I’m the national version of “the Mixed Up Chameleon” (by Eric Carle).
What did you study in college?
My BA is a dual degree of International Relations and Business Administration. In addition, I hold an MBA specialising in Finance and Business Strategy.
What led you to become a writer?
Long lost dream perhaps? (chuckles) I always wanted to write and never thought I was good enough. I tried a few genres but always ended up throwing the manuscript in the bin. However, I always still felt like I had something to tell. When I moved to London it finally hit me and I started writing my thriller.
It was a slow process, taking five years or so, with many ups and downs. But once I reached two thirds of the novel, the plot started to write itself and the dramatic ending unravelled itself. In a sense throughout the process the City of London had inspired me, and whenever I got stuck, the local scenery became my salvation: I simply started describing the city and the plot would soon follow.
How did you determine which genre to write in?
As aforementioned, the thriller genre kind of found me, and not the other way around. I had always been an avid reader of le Carré and wasn’t sure I had it in me to write the complexities of a political/espionage thriller. I’m happy to have proven myself wrong (lol).
Do you have a current work in progress, or publication?
“And the Wolf Shall Dwell” is my debut novel which has only just been released. It tells the story of John Daniel, a foreign professional working in the city of London who starts his cold London morning by bumping into an old man who’s being chased across Liverpool Street Station. The old man manages a garbled message not before he jumps in front of a speeding train. Meanwhile, retired
MI6 agent Adam Grey receives a call from an old informant: “Your service is rotten…”. Soon Adam is dragged out of retirement, and John is dragged into the murky world of international espionage, politics, and jihadi terrorism.
Link to the novel: And the Wolf Shall Dwell
I am also working on a second novel, trying to keep the “writing flame” burning. It will have the same characters but will be a standalone, with the plot being much less political than the first book, and focuses on ISIS and terror in Europe.
Why did you create the site BookGobbler and how does it work?
BookGobbler is an initiative that I started after realizing how hard it is to get your work reviewed and build readership. If you’re not publishing with a big traditional publishing house, then you are virtually ignored by everyone, even if you have an extremely talented publisher like myself.
NetGalley, to anyone who knows it, is a service for free books which accommodates big publishers. It costs a few good hundreds to list a book for only a week, and even more to have them promote it. That’s very unfair to unknown authors, small publishers and indie authors. Let’s say I was willing to pay thousands to push my book, even if you did catch a glimpse of it, would you select Joni Dee over Salman Rushdie? I wouldn’t…
BookGobbler is trying to give a chance to everyone. It’s free to read and it’s free to list books, and you are almost guaranteed reviews and exposure (although we may start charging a token fee because the traffic is huge and we are incurring some costs). We are committed to keeping a minimum of 20% self-published authors.
It is set out to address another issue which I’ve encountered: biased reviewers. I found a lot of review web site charges for favourable review or even require some sort of summary to even look at your book. This is a terrible practice and must end. We set out to publish honest reviews, written by real readers, and not an occasional critic / blogger who would not look at your book unless you sent him a sparkly paperback as a gift.
How can it benefit readers?
For the readers, it’s simple: First and foremost – you get books for free and you get a chance to win paperbacks (the odds are very good unlike Goodreads and other websites, with a 10-20% chance of actually winning a paperback, depending on the title’s popularity). Also, there is a platform for honest reviews, where you can also express yourself as a reviewer, without needing to start your own blog and build-up your own crowd.
How can authors benefit?
Authors get exposure, get their books read, get reviews in return (we ask the readers to post on Amazon so that it increases the general exposure of the title) and it’s free. Plus, we won’t treat you any differently whether you are an indie author or part of a big publishing house, so for the “little guys” it has an added value which they can’t find anywhere else.
How do the giveaways work?
1. You register to BookGobbler (we need your consent as well as your details)
2. You register to whichever giveaway you want (up to 2-at- a-time for eBooks to make sure people actually write reviews; raffles entries are not limited – you can request them all)
3. You write a review when finished and post it to us, on Amazon and anywhere you want, really.
4. You may win the paperback when the giveaway ends
How did you hear about Mystery Thriller Week?
I’ll admit that I heard about this from two of your organizers. I’ve never actually met them but they’re amazing women, dedicated to thriller authors, who came across my book once in the past when it was crowdfunding (a campaign that succeeded but eventually things didn’t work out with that specific publisher), and they took a chance on me.
These two organizers are dedicated people who truly love thrillers & mysteries and want budding authors like myself to succeed and I will forever be in their debt. They know who they are.
Thanks to all the readers and thanks for the chance to feature here!
Have a question for Jon? Drop a comment below!
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