An Interview with Jay Millington

We sat down with Jay Millington to discuss his novel and his experiences on the MA.

 
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself

Though I’ve been known as Jay since junior school, my first name is Jan (Cornish version of John) and my middle name is DeLank, the nearest river to my first home. It’s a tributary of the River Camel, so I count myself lucky.

When did you start writing?

In the mid-nineties I dated a librarian while sharing a house with Jonathan Taylor (now a published author and lecturer in creative writing at Leicester University) and flirtation with books became love. I knew that one day I’d be an author, but it wasn’t until 10 years later that I finally put pen to paper and wrote 30 Something, a novel about a group of mates who rob a bank for the fun of it.

What’s your novel called?

Q Equals Three to the Power of n

Tough question. Sum up your novel in three sentences.

Superstitious professor gains an author as an imaginary friend, gets into trouble with the police and stumbles into the cross-hairs of an aristocratic family, for whom murdering alphabetically is a rite of passage. When his story doesn’t end well, he demands a re-write. When the film rights are sold and Hollywood wants a musical, the author gains a superstitious professor as an imaginary friend…

Genre?

Literary / postmodern.

What is your cosmic statement?

Just because you’re not paranoid, it doesn’t mean you’re not being followed, but you can always change the ending if you’re buddies with the author.

What are the themes?

Isolation, paranoia and circumstantial evidence.

Who is the protagonist?

Professor Adrian Qualtrough, a Manx, superstitious, 42 year old known as ‘Q’

Tell us a bit about the setting?

Mostly present day Bristol, plus Sheffield and the Isle of Man.

What’s it’s Unique Selling Point?

A comic, postmodern thriller with story, character and metafiction blended to perfection.

What was your favourite part of the MA?

Gaining the confidence to go where my imagination took me.

What classes did you take?

My workshop tutors were Samantha Harvey and Gerard Woodward and my manuscript tutor was Nathan Filer. I took Modernism and Postmodernism with Gavin Cologne-Brookes, and Writing and Politics with Tim Liardet.

Who/what are you reading right now?

I’m a fan of Margaret Atwood and am reading her collection Wilderness Tips, because we’re looking at short stories in my writing group. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer is lined up next…

What famous authors have a similar style to yours?

A tutor suggested my manuscript is a ‘Kafkaesque detective story’ with ‘shades of Pynchon and others’. My influences include Ben Lerner, Paul Auster, Italo Calvino, Kurt Vonnegut, Julian Barnes and Jennifer Egan.

If you were to compare your novel to another, what would it be?

My novel has a format of short, titled scenes like Tibor Fischer’s ‘The Thought Gang’ to drive the narrative forward and hint at Q’s emotional state.