Cosmic Jones is a novelist, filmmaker, musician, painter, poet, photographer, and astronomer originally from Chicago, IL USA. He is also a supporter and lover of animals, nature, peace, social justice, kindness, humanity, magic, art, outer space, and wonder.

His diverse backgrounds and passions are apparent in his work, as he takes his audience along with him on unique and introspective journeys.

1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?

Thanks so much for having me with your wonderful Write 2 Be Magazine. Any friend of authors, writers, creators in general, is truly a dear friend of mine. 🙂 Yes, regarding writing, I was always a songwriter first and foremost. For the last 30 years I have composed over 60 albums worth of songs, musical works, pieces, etc. in pretty much every genre (Which you can find under Cosmic Jones on Amazon Music, Spotify, iTunes, etc. – Shameless plug, ha!!) But yes, eventually some years ago I found the format of telling stories within 3-10 minutes intervals of song, or even 45 minutes – 2 hours of a music album was somewhat limited. I longed to branch out to the narrative expansion that writing and creating a novel allows. Once I found that stories could be delved into in such extraordinary scope and detail that novel-writing allows, I knew that it was to be a calling for the rest of my life and a big part of my creative endeavors.

So, in answer to your 2nd question, I think that’s what I love the most about being a novel-writer, as opposed to songwriting, poetry, etc. The ability to flesh out so many ideas and articulated thoughts and weave so many things throughout the space that longform novels allow. This especially includes the various themes which can interweave throughout a full book, to give a broader meaning and purpose, which almost any work of art I’ve ever appreciated by other writers has had.

I should mention that metaphorical phrasing, wordplay, and ideas, and ability to impart some sort of life lessons, wisdom, and knowledge from experience is at the heart of what I love about writing.

The most frustrating part of being a writer, is just the sheer time it takes to flesh out ideas and passages, which over time can become an extraordinary challenge that only long-form writers REALLY know about. The incredible patience and WILL it takes to be a writer requires an almost transcendent determination over such a long period. In my case it is especially so, as I am very involved to the very last detail in the editing process of my books, which basically means I’m almost writing each novel 4 times instead of once. So indeed it is not a process for the faint of heart.

I liken it to being Andy Dufresne in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ in taking just a pocketful of concrete every day to finally create the full tunnel to climb out of into the daylight. Or into pouring rain in his case. But yes, finally finishing a novel feels something like that refreshing rain, or the sunlight and sand in your feet on the beach in Zihuantanejo like in that film.

I should say though, that as rewarding as concluding is to move on to the next novel, story, etc., the process, though often frustrating, is where the true reward lies.

2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?

Yes, my latest book is called ‘The Secret World Of Multicolouria” by Cosmic Jones (um, me :)). It is a Fictional/Fantasy novel of 590 pages largely in the vein of series like Harry Potter, Narnia, The Wizard Of Oz, Lord Of The Rings, and even team films like The Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven etc.. It centers on a young middle-school boy in rural England named Sebastian. Sebastian is a dreamer who longs for colorful, wondrous adventures like his heroes, far away from his drab, rainy existence in the sleepy English countryside. One morning, while walking to school with his friend and unrevealed, secret love Gloria, she turns back to retrieve a forgotten assignment, leaving him alone on the forest path to continue on his way to class. However, this morning was to be unlike any other morning for our young protagonist, as he spots an extraordinary sight up ahead, a giant, neon-red stag with majestic, leafy antlers, which leads him from the path, and deep into the forest in curiosity.

Eventually, through many sequences of events Sebastian finds himself in the colorful world of Multicolouria, with dozens of colorful characters both friendly and evil. There are Princesses, Purple Tigresses, Clock-Faced beings, Egg-Shaped poets, multicolor Violetta-Koalas, heroic glowworms, among others who he befriends. And he finds that he must help them save their colorful world against the invading colorless, black, white, and greyish evil beings from the world of ‘Abzolutia’; including masked, dreaded Phantoms, Skeleton-faced ghouls, Robot-Assassins, Hooded Sheep-faced villains, Giant clawed Crabs, and Shark-like creatures of terrible viciousness and menace.

Through the adventures Sebastian and his many companions go through, ‘The Secret World Of Multicolouria’ becomes a novel of courage, the power of friendship, and a “rite of passage” story through journeys of hardship and risk, and of tales of colorful emotion and love.

I think anyone who enjoys the aforementioned Fantasy series, Harry Potter, Narnia, etc. will really enjoy the colorful adventures and life lessons throughout.

‘The Secret World Of Multicolouria’ by Cosmic Jones can be found most easily at Amazon Books; it is available in Kindle, Paperback, and Hardcover.

3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?

Regarding inspiration and where it is drawn from, I think pretty much anything and everything is fair game and I think, like most writers and creative people, I hopefully have nurtured a large palate of imagination and experience to draw from throughout time.

Depending on the novel, different things are used for inspiration. For this novel, I really want to create something for young adults, and adults in general, that can give them inspiration to create their own colorful worlds and rich imaginations for their own lives. I tried to use every tool in the book I could to bring out the importance of the wonder of what the arts and nature and colors, and the value of the functional practice of creative activity that can give richness to one for their own life. ‘The world is a hard place’, in the words of George Harrison, and imagination should be our ally, not something that is suppressed by societal strife, as it all too often is.

All said, however, some of my novels draw inspiration from entirely different things. My last novel before “The Secret World Of Multicolouria” was a dark, macabre Horror novel called “The Wicked”, which was a 180 from the spirit of colorful, playful Fantasy. My inspiration for the book was more visceral, and to play upon the concept of fear, and how we deal with fear to become empowered.

That said, though the inspiration and genre was completely different, the theme of empowerment, courage, working through difficult challenges is readily apparent in both of these, and most of my works, regardless of genre. Social commentary is almost always present as well, as it is particularly important to me to articulate and think and work for solutions.

4) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel? What projects are you currently working on?

These are GREAT questions. Yes, I don’t have a set schedule, but I find it important to make sure I’m ALWAYS creating something, and that is a non-negotiable as I have personal, artistic goals that are, and will always remain personal. But yes, if I’m not in the recording studio creating a song, or painting, or writing/making a film, you will find me in front of my computer writing away on the next novel. If I’m in the middle of a novel, I do try to write 2,000 words a day, which I manage to do about 5 times a week. Outlines are a tricky thing. Some writers and artists map everything out, some just make it up as they go along. I am somewhere in the middle; I try to have a loose outline, to keep themes and the story cohesive, but not too structured to take away spontaneity. I ALWAYS leave room for an idea or scene or plot to change, as the planned idea is not always the best idea. In the words of Stanley Kubrick, “I don’t know what I want, but I know what I don’t want.” So if my planned idea is coming up a bit underdeveloped, I will make sure to keep plugging away until something has a bit of magic to it. The magic of the written word is always at the forefront of the desired effect.

Regarding time it takes to finish a novel, novels take about 18 months-2 years. Mine are longer in particular, and my process is arduous. But as long as I get it out in 2 years, I am cool with it, before I need to turn my attention to an entirely different idea.

Current projects, yes, are: In music: A Classical Piano and other assorted instruments album called “Music For Unicorns In The Forest” is set to be released soon. I just released a 32 song concept musical Rock record called “The Bonfires”. Am painting and just released some various Abstract Expressionist series; with lots of emphasis on color and texture. Am also making a feature film with dialogue, social commentary as the emphasis, not unlike dialogue heavy films like “My Dinner With Andre”, “Before Sunrise” etc. The next novel is being planned as a Science-Fiction dystopian novel based upon an album I had made called “Space/Phantom/Machine/Vampire”; it is in the planning process. Will be publishing the full collection of my music song lyrics as well soon; am putting that together now for Autumn release.

So yes, lots of stuff, but we need to do something about the time, and about sleep. There is not enough time, and sleep is a drag when one can be creating!!

5) What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally? Who is your favorite author to read? What book are you currently reading?

Great question. Let me think. Emotionally, hmm. Well, aside from Children’s books and picture books like Leo Lionni’s “Swimmy” and “Frederick” and “Frog and Toad” books by Arnold Lobel that I’d read on rainy days at the library. And Encyclopedia Brown books, classic Sherlock Holmes Mysteries, etc., the first book that REALLY moved is SO random, ha. It’s called “The Half-A-Moon Inn” by Paul Fleischman about a 12-year-old mute boy who sets out to find his mother in blizzard and become the captive of an evil woman in an inn. Ha, now that I think of it, that storyline has probably become a theme I’ve taken with me in my interpersonal relationships, ha!! But yes, it was the first book where I felt almost helpless to the emotion, fear, situational strife the author can create in works. I remember shivering as I turned each page with the hope the main character would somehow find his way out of the mess he found himself in. And incredible dismay at every turn when he didn’t. Haven’t thought about that book in many years; am going to look it up and perhaps re-read it now.

Currently am actually re-reading Orwell’s “1984”, because in the world we currently live in I feel it is required reading. And I am also reading a fascinating and hopeful look at a functioning, post-capitalist society by the BRILLIANT author and activist Yanis Varoufakis called “Another Now”. I think it is important to balance the negative, and depressive state of current societal structures with works of hope and better solutions. And I am still hopeful, though it is sometimes hard to see through the massive corruption in political structures and organizations..

6) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?

Regarding significant achievement I’d say 3 quick things; one, just DOING it, STAYING AT it all, as it takes extraordinary courage to be a writer. Two, my music writing will always be my most significant achievement. It is what I am most proud of and I wouldn’t trade my music catalog with any other musical artist in the world (other than perhaps some Classical composers).

Lastly, I’d say this latest book “Multicolouria”. It’s trite for an author to perhaps say, as it sounds like they’re trying to sell books, ha, or that they’re just mentioning their latest work, but I do think that this latest book is a special work. At least the most special novel I have done. It has come together really nicely, almost serendipitously, and really draws and creates a world that is built from my favorites things of other novels I adore. I do think “The Secret World Of Multicolouria” is really one of the most special books in the world. And I have never said that about another novel of mine. Not at all. But this one I would say it about. But then again, it is my opinion of course, ha. But yes, I think it’s very special and builds a wonderful, extensively detailed, colorful world.

7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What is your advice for other writers to better be able to cope or navigate their way through the publishing process, be it traditional or self-publishing?

The only rejection I have to deal with in my writing career is my own. If somebody doesn’t want to cover, publicize, enjoy, or read my book that’s totally fine. It doesn’t matter to me at all. I know if my works and writings are good or bad, quality or not. But I wouldn’t put anything out, novel, song, film, painting, if I didn’t think it was of high quality. So it gets rejected by me in the process if I don’t put it out, before I put it out, and then once it gets put out I’m already on to the next thing to worry about somebody ‘rejecting’ it, ha. I don’t have to worry at all about critics because I am my own worst critic. And I am the TOUGHEST of critics. But yet, still open to personal artistic failure as it is the most effective way to learn and get more proficient.

My advice to other writers is to do what feels best to you. However, I think that more often than not, in the current climate, self-publishing is probably the way to go. But it all depends on what you want out of publishing. Advice to artists is a hard game. But I think the one bit of advice I’d give is from the great Frank Zappa, when he said about advice to artists would be “One, Don’t stop….And two, Keep going.”

8) Do you find it hard to juggle the creative side of being a writer against the business side of being a writer, in terms of marketing and promotion and things of that nature? How hard has it been (or easy) for you to build up your author platform?

I do find it hard. Because I am poor at juggling it. Meaning, when it comes to the creative side, in any artistic medium, it is the most natural thing in the world to me. I love creating and that side. However, I, pardon my French, “suck” at the business side, marketing, promotion, because I don’t care about it really all that much. I enjoy promoting other artists more than myself. Like your magazine!! 🙂 I do it; market, and promote and that sort of thing, and have many people who read and enjoy my works, but I market not nearly as proficiently as I could. It is what it is. I’m cool with it. The creative side is pretty much everything to me and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Though the money would be nice, it’s absolutely not what I’m into all this for. I just want to make art and create more beauty for the cosmos. And keep the artistic fires burning for future artists. Carry the torch as one might say.

9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself after it’s out there for the rest of the world?

It’s an interesting question. I can listen to music I’ve written and composed and relisten all day long and have and do. But with my novels I totally do have a hard time reading it after I’ve put it out. Perhaps because I’ve let it go, and it was so hard to let go, that I’ve already moved on and going back seems antithetical to progress to me. And also, novels are so extensive and expansive that when I reread passages, sentences, etc. I always find myself saying, “this could have been worded better, that could have been said better”. A 4-minute song exists in limited space. Novels, however, are so giant and expansive one could really re-edit their work forever and ever and ever. I could edit a book of mine and sculpt it for 1,000 years and still find things to add in or leave out. But it is what it is, I wouldn’t have put one of my novels out if I felt anything was “wrong” inherently with it. And “wrong” is so subjective anyway. But yes, rereading is not the most joyous activity for me, ha, but I am still very content with the novels. So, it’s really a double edge sword. Perfectionism doesn’t mean a hill of beans if you never get anything done, but then again there is a detailed perfectionist mindset in almost all of my work before it gets done. So it’s both. I guess what I’m saying is, regardless of what it is, I prefer to look ahead to the next artistic work more than anything, once a past work is done.

10) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?

Never too late to start, never too early to start. To paraphrase the great wizard Gandalf the Grey.”A wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to.” The same can be said of an aspiring writer. That said, I recommend starting as early as possible, as time is finite and the sooner the better to get started to hone, work on, improve, study, and enjoy your craft. But it’s never too late. Until it is.

11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?

Wow, that’s a lot to chew on 🙂 Great questions though. I think I write, and do art, for a multitude of reasons of course. But I think there is something to the yin and yang, the earthy bounds juxtaposing with the starry skies. That juxtaposition and everything within, around, surrounding, above, below, correlating to it, is central to my art and writing. Even down to my name; Cosmic. Jones. Cosmic is self-explanatory with its celestial leanings of wondrous intent. But Jones is just about the most common English surname there is. Because I really don’t think one can try to fully understand the wonder of the cosmos and ethereal philosophies without the grounding of everyday dirt under the fingernails and an acute understanding and empathy of everyday societal problems. Conversely, I don’t think one can attain a grasp on understanding everyday problems and compassion without having an eye and mind to the stars and things stirred by the universe of imagination and surrealist wonders of oblivion. In truth, I think that is where many artists and writers fall flat to me, in that they have too much of the yin and not enough of the yang. And vice versa. Though these days, I feel most writers could do with a lot more ‘Cosmic’, while maintaining their ‘Jones’ if that makes sense. But to my mind, both the cosmos and everyday societal living are inherently equal in emphasis to my mind. I think my ability to balance all of that was natural from the get-go by the nature of my personality and mind, but I have nurtured it once that natural inclination was more fully realized. I think that is what makes me unique and authentic (and prolific really) in my work in further answer to your question; is that I surely have a naturally, surreal, imaginative mind with an eye to the stars. But then I definitely put in the work with my boots on the ground. A lot of work. Because it doesn’t amount to much if you don’t put in the work. Once again, “Don’t stop…Keep going.”

And in that action and proactive mentality, which one finds crucial in novel writing, it is beyond empowering, because in your heart you know that creation is beautiful. And you are doing it. You are creating. And there is not much more lovely than that.

Thanks for all your amazing questions and for your awesome magazine. I’ve really enjoyed this interview, and SO appreciate you putting the spotlight on authors and creators.

In the words of Voltaire: “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” So in appreciation, thanks to your magazine for all you do.

Have a wonderful day.