Jakob Zaaiman: Author Interview
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve written about 10 books, 4 of which are currently in print; the rest will need considerable revision if they are to see the light of day. I work ‘full time’ — as it were — on my artworks, videos, music and on my writings, swopping from one form to another as the ideas come to me, or if I hit a brick wall with one particular thing. I live in London, which is a great place to live as I can get by on nothing while being part of a massive gathering of people from all over the world. I live in a leafy part of town, yet it’s only 20 minutes away from Piccadilly and Soho by tube. So I’m never far from degenerate action, if need be. Perfect. I’ve worked in all kinds of fields, from music to retail to teaching to counselling to plastering and wrecking. Other than English I speak a few languages, though not particularly well. Mandarin is my favourite, but it doesn’t seem to like me, and keeps pushing its impossible and impenetrable characters out of my memory. I’ve also travelled all over the place — Europe, America, Asia, Africa.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is ‘Ghost Queen’, consisting of extremist short stories inspired by my various travels and various observations of human imbecility, including my own. I like to think of the stories as a bit like a deranged Bukowski very slightly filtered through an aspirant Naipaul.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Not really — I try to work on my various projects during the day and part of the evening (Monday to Thursday), as I save the weekends for recovery. Sometimes the ideas just won’t come, and so I have to wait patiently, and do other things. I used to write at night while drinking, but this was a misjudgement and straightaway led to a catastrophic loss of quality control.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
No one influences me directly, although there are a number of authors I admire to the point of worship: Beckett and Naipaul are at the top of my list. I once tried ‘imitating’…