James Rowland

Proof of Concept, fiction, Issue 49, December 15,2019

James Rowland is a New Zealand-based, British-born writer. His work has previously appeared at Aurealis, Compelling Science Fiction, and Andromeda Spaceways. When he's not moonlighting as a writer of magical, strange or futuristic stories, he works as an intellectual property lawyer. Besides writing, his hobbies are reading, stand-up comedy, travel, photography, and the sport of kings, cricket. You can find more of his work at his website https://jamesrowlandwriter.wordpress.com. 

Get to know James...


March, 1992.

When did you start writing?

At the age of 9, I apparently rewrote a scene of King Solomon’s Mines so that all the main characters were my friends.

However, I suspect a more concrete start date was probably when I was 14. I haven’t really looked back since (which is probably for the best since 14-year-old me wasn’t very insightful).

When and what and where did you first get published?

The first story I ever had published, The Disappearance of Mr Christopher Asquith, was back in early 2013 by Mad Scientist Journal. It was a Lovecraftian pastiche that had been inspired by a throwaway line in a Sherlock Holmes story about a man who went back for his umbrella and was never seen again.

Why do you write?

I often ask myself the same question when I’m stuck writing some difficult scene. I’m not sure I’ve ever reached a real answer. I guess it’s mostly because deep down, even in the darkest pit of a half-finished novel draft, I enjoy telling stories, and I hope people will enjoy reading them.

Why do you write Science Fiction and/or Fantasy?

The easy answer is because that’s what most of my story ideas are. I sometimes write literary fiction because the ideas don’t have any speculative element to them and it doesn’t bug me when that happens.

I think the reason why my stories are mostly science fiction and fantasy, though, is because speculative fiction lets you look at ideas in a different way. You find that through magic or time travel or whatever genre element the story has, you can say something in a far more interesting and entertaining way than you ever could without that speculative fiction edge.

Who is your favorite author? Your favorite story?

I have a lot of favourite authors and I could cheat by listing out a dozen of them. However, while I would be utterly unable to rank #2-#10, I know precisely who number 1 is: Nick Harkaway. His combination of pulpy speculative fiction, literary themes, and dazzling humour is precisely what I’d most like to write myself.

My favourite novel, though, is not a Harkaway book at all. It’s probably Susanna Clark’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell. My favourite short story might be Jorge Luis Borges’s Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote, but I don’t know if that’s true.

What are you trying to say with your fiction?

It depends on the story. But I’m definitely always trying to say something and to do so in an interesting and entertaining way.  

If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say?

“Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke.” It’s true.

Do you blog?

I do very, very occasionally. You can find my blog and where to find some other stories of mine at: https://jamesrowlandwriter.wordpress.com/

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