Okay, so let me start out by answering the question on the flyer. Why werewolves? Well, it’s similar to the reason that most of my books are set on a fictional Syn Island, spelt with a Y.

When I started Mostly Human, vampires seemed overdone, and I felt to me, like werewolves were getting a raw deal.

Wolves mate for life and Humans try to do the same. So, the idea that the combination of the two became this heartless monster didn’t sit well with me. I wanted a werewolf family drama. So I wrote one.

And then there’s Bait, which well, I’ll explain my reasoning for that in a bit.

For anyone wondering, Syn Island was because I didn’t want to set my book in the USA, because I felt like everything was set there. I didn’t want to set it in the UK either because I hate the UK and South Africa, where I’m from, is too far away from everything.

Hello, my name is D I Jolly and I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was about seven years old. But what the hell does being a writer really mean?

So, there I was, age seven, playing a video game called Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father. And loving it, point and click adventure, murder mystery, voice cast which included Tim Curry and Mark Hamill.

Which was great because I couldn’t really read to that level at that point.

I adore this game, and decided that when I grew up, I wanted to be Gabriel Knight.

I actually listened to the score from Gabriel Knight 3 while writing this presentation. I listen to the music of those games a lot while writing.

Anyway. Despite a certain leather jacket most of you might know, I never really understood the idea of wearing fandom on a shirt. In so much as; the small kid who wants to be Batman, exclusively wears shirts with Batman’s face on it.

In my head, specifically as a child, I would think, Batman doesn’t wear Batman merch. As Batman he wears the Bat Suit, and as Bruce Wayne, he usually wears suits.

So, with that in mind, I wanted to exclusively wear blue jeans, white t-shirts and a long black leather trench coat. None of which actually happened because I was seven and not fully in control of my own wardrobe. Mostly I wore the clothes that no longer fit my brother.

But Gabriel Knight was a writer, so, at seven, I decided I would grow up to be a writer, and I’d move to New Orleans, and I’d open a book store.

And I genuinely hung onto that dream, until I was about 19 and actually making plans to get visas and move to New Orleans. And then Hurricane Katrina hit and so I moved to Scotland.

At the same time as all of this, and up until that point, I’d never really written anything of consequence. I’d tried, don’t get me wrong, I wrote shit all the time. But I had these large convoluted ideas, which never really panned out, because I just wasn’t interested in world building. But everyone kept telling me that “To be a writer you’ve got to do it like this, or like that!”

Which brings me to my next big influence in my life of becoming a writer. I read a book series called The Armageddon Trilogy by Robert Rankin, which are:

1 – Armageddon: The Musical

2 – They Came And Ate Us: The B Movie


3 – The Suburban Book of the Dead.

And they are just as insane as they sound, and they’re funny, and I realised that I didn’t have to write Shakespeare, I didn’t need to be Tolkien. Despite what the very highly educated and literate people around me, who only ever read trash novels, said, I could write whatever made the most sense to me. It didn’t and still doesn’t, need to be someone else’s work. It just has to be mine. People might not like it, but if I wrote a book, whatever that book was; It was still a book.

My ideas aren’t wrong just because they’re not someone else’s ideas idea of what a writer needs to be.

And so, I fell into writing a detective story, that actually started as the adventures of Jolly P. I. – A weird, bored, exaggerated e-mail series to my cousin. And after awhile of going back to these e-mails. I realised that I’d written 30,000 words or so, and really enjoyed the writing of the story, and the characters I’d created.

So I pushed through and wrote a 75,000 word novel. My very first. I was about 21 by the time I finished it and it was… Something. And that’s really all that matters. It was something, it was a completed novel.

I had done it, I could do it, and to me that meant I could do it again.

And I pushed it on my friends to read, and asked them what they thought and didn’t have the faintest clue what else to do with it, and life happened and I worked in service so mostly I just worked. And I travelled. I moved to Sweden for awhile and worked as a carpenter, and then I moved to the USA and worked with kids. And eventually at about age 23 I was back in South Africa, and I sat back down with ‘A Guy, A Girl and a Voodoo Monkey Hand’, and I started again from the top, with the clear idea of turning it from something that I thought was funny into something someone else could access and hopefully also find funny.

Jolly P I, became Jones. And when I was done, I sent it out to anyone that had an open submission and a tiny now out of business publisher, published it.

And then nothing happened. Because of course that’s how it goes. I had a book that could be bought and I told people about it all the time, mostly from behind my bar in Cape Town, and some people bought it and read it and some of them even liked it. It made people laugh and Gods above that’s all I’ve ever wanted for that book, I wanted it to be funny in a way that wasn’t just funny to me.

I don’t know if it’s a good book, but I think if I could pick one book to become famous, I still think I’d pick that one.

I just have such a special place in my heart for those characters, they taught me so much about being a bad writer.

But I was not done. I dove into my next project and started writing Mostly Human. And kept writing it for about 3 years, off and on and off and on, as I worked and moved and did things.

And at some point in the middle, I also met a man named Tom Kyffin who had just moved to South Africa from England, and had been a contract artist for Marvel Comics and Magic the Gathering. We got along well, became friends and a few years later when he decided to open a small publishing house, he called me up and asked how my books were going.

At that point I’d finished Mostly Human, and started Counting Sheep.

Voodoo Monkey Hand’s Publisher was defunct and I went, “Here” Monkey Hand has never been on Kindle, fuck the old publisher let’s start here.

So, we did. Monkey Hand got re-released and once again no one really noticed. And even though Mostly Human was finished, I wasn’t finished with it, I wanted more for it and was farming it out to bigger places hoping to get a bigger audience.

But I finished Counting Sheep and some short stories and put them together and Counting Sheep & Other Stories came out a year or so later, to critical ambivalence.

Then I moved to Berlin, and gave up on Mostly Human being picked up by Random House and sent it to Tom.

And that’s when something drastic changed. Because I had a little launch party for Mostly Human, and by the end of that night a small group of us decided that:

It was really fun to do something different in the bar we all always used to drink in anyway.

I had also been approached by some other writer friends about doing a short story anthology where we all got a theme and a deadline. That never happened, but I liked the idea in general, so pitched it to the table. And a week later; 4 people who only really knew each other from the bar, who didn’t have each other’s phone numbers, all showed up with short stories to read. And Poetry Club was born.

Eight years later, Poetry Club is still going on, it’s monthly now, thank god, but for the first 4 and a half years I wrote a short story every week.

Critically instead of writing Mostly Human 2.

But I did that too, eventually, and 4 years later Mostly Human 2 finally came out. And almost everyone who’s read it always has the same little note of, “about half way through the writing seems to lift, I don’t know, it feels different.”

4 years of Poetry Club.

Next came Bait, and Bait well, Bait is a werewolf romance novel that I wrote almost as a joke, almost as a dare. Kind of putting my money where my mouth was. I had been working for Inkitt which almost exclusively deals in werewolf romance, and some of it was very very bad, and some of it was very very toxic.

But around my table, a lot of the writers would always say, “or I could just write a shitty werewolf romance and get it big on Inkitt.”

So, I tried. And low and behold, after years of writing to no great success, Bait took off. Not astronomical heights but still.

On the Inkitt platform it had over 380 reviews with a 4.8 out of 5 average. The supposed algorithm that predicts best sellers picked Bait and it was published on their pay to read app Galatea. And people started writing to me about how much they loved my book.

Inkitt and Galatea are still nightmare places, so after a year of them doing very little else other than publishing it they gave me back the rights. But I also made around 2000 euros from them. Which to date is still the most significant payday for any of my books.

I then did what I always do and handed it to Tom who published it.

And it’s funny, I have grown to become quite proud of Bait. It was very much the least favourite child, who achieved the most success and getting to see how other people have reacted to it, and responded to it. I’m kind of proud of Bait, and I’m glad of the choices I made. It is after all a romance novel that focuses on themes of consent. In a subgenre that often forgets that no means no.


And that brings me too now. I still write of course, I literally finished my 6th novel last week, and I still tell people that I’m a writer.

But what does that mean? Am I a writer because I’m published? Am I a writer because I say I am?

I mean I currently live in the rundown construction site of my partially destroyed flat,

I sleep on my ex-girlfriend’s couch,

the closest thing I have to a kitchen is a coffee maker

and my best friend is my barman.

So, I guess, I must be a great writer.

But still, you meet so many people these days who will tell you that they’re writer and then follow that statement up with:

“Yes well, I work in KaDeWe, but I’m actually a writer. I won an award for poetry in kindergarten and I’m really honing in on what MY novel is going to be about, I haven’t started it yet, but I spend my Sundays in Shakespeare and Sons, talking about it. I’m a writer.”


And I mean, I do love seeing them wilt when I tell them I’m a writer too, and that I didn’t win any awards for poetry but I’ve got 7 published books, and so far, have been the principal story writer on 2 video games. That I’ve just finished my 6th novel and I’m working on my 7th.

But does that make me a writer? Being a bit of a butthole?

The truth is no, for me I’m a writer because I write. That’s what a writer is, someone who writes. It’s a very simple concept for something that can carry a lot of weight. The title of being a Writer, throughout history, has always stood for someone who knowns things, who understands things or sees the world in a different and unique way.

I think that’s part of why people want to be considered writer.

“Ah, yes this man is a writer.”

It feels like it means something a lot more than it actually does. But then I think back to reading Robert Rankin’s books, and that realisation that there are no wrong answers to this question.

So, my name is D I Jolly, and I am a writer. I have written 6 novels, 286 short stories and 1 complete video game. And that is my writing biography in a nutshell.

There is a bit more, but at this point does anyone have any Thoughts, Comments, or Questions?

Next, I’m going to read from Mostly Human, which despite everything else I’ve said up until this point, is the book that I think is my best so far. Unpublished works do not qualify, since, like so many others, I believe my best work is the work I’ve just finished.

So, like I said at the start, this book started out with the idea that Wolves and Humans are both caring creatures and the combination of the two becoming a monster didn’t sit right in my head.

I had also had the idea of a scene where a brother watches criminals break into his sister’s bank office, and then transformed into a wolf and goes to save her.

I then tried to picture the situation where:

  • It wasn’t weird or more terrifying for the people who worked in that office, specifically the main characters sister, to see a giant wolf walk in.
  • What did the main character do for a living that meant he wasn’t at work while she was.

Which lead me to the question that really started the novel off: What if he was bitten as a child and spent his whole life as a werewolf? What would that life look like?

In the writing of the novel, I found that I leaned a lot towards mental health and bipolar disorder for the characteristics of the werewolf. The positives and negatives, and the way it also affects the lives of the people around him.

The original scene outside that bank never actually made it into the book, but it was the seed from which this book grew in my mind.

But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. I’m going to start with Chapter 1. – And then hopefully anyone who’s not read it so far will be so curious that you buy a copy and read it and then get the sequel that you don’t have to wait 4 years for, and tell all your friends about it, and post about it all over social media my books will finally truly take off.

But in the meantime,



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *