This week, I wanted to highlight an area of writing I don’t usually talk about: self-publishing.

The self-publishing market has blossomed over the past few years, due in large part to the emergence of platforms such as Amazon allowing you to upload your e-book or paperback quickly and affordably, as well as the proliferation of e-books and Kindle.

I know many writers have specific ideas of what it means to be published, but there are growing swathes of writers who are disenchanted with the publishing industry, which is often seen as being elitist and difficult to break into. There are many stories of authors who have grown a huge following online without either an agent or publisher, only then to go on to get offered a publishing deal once they’ve built their audience.

I decided to interview an author I know very well after reading his recently self-published book Frances and the Navajo The Mystery of the Vanishing Bullets

First, the blurb: Frances, a quirky female wing chun fanatic, meets Navajo after she saves him from two attackers. After Navajo reveals he is a private detective dealing with old cases for wealthy individuals, Frances is curious to join him on his current case, the case of a man killed by a seemingly vanishing bullet, in a locked room…

The creator of Frances and the Navajo, Jon Jones, joined me for a quick chat, where I posed the following questions:

WIR: Frances and the Navajo is your first book. Can you describe it in one sentence to us?

JJ: It is a modern crime who-dunnit.

WIR: That was succinct! Did you always intend on writing crime fiction, and if so, why this genre?

JJ: Yes, I did. I’ve always read a lot in the genre. What particularly interests me is the mechanics of how crimes are committed.

WIR: So what other crime writers have inspired you, and can you tell us a bit about what you admire about them?

JJ: Well, Sir Arthir Conan Doyle is an obvious favourite. I love how he constructs his stories. Anthony Horowitz is a newer author who cleverly draws on the classics and brings them back to life. I also like the more recent J K Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith novels because of the strong characterisation she uses in them.

WIR: The characters of Frances and the Navajo are particularly engaging, and a little quirky! Would you say you identify with any of them, and do you have a favourite character?

JJ: Well, Frances is a favourite because she practises Wing Chun, which is something I also do. But I also admire the character of Navajo for his situation reading skills.

WIR: Yes, the characters Frances and Navajo have an interesting relationship in the book. It feels as though they are just getting started and have more to do together. Do you have any plans to write more stories about them?

JJ: Yes! In fact, I have already finished writing two further stories with these characters, and have ideas to write more.

WIR: Finally, you obviously enjoy creating stories. Are there any other genres you are interested in writing in, or do you think you’ll stick with crime?

JJ: No, I always have lots of other projects on the go. I have done some work on a children’s novel, and also have some ideas to write a comedy.

Thank you for joining us on the blog, Jon!

I found Frances and the Navajo The Mystery of the Vanishing Bullets to be a perfect escapist story to lose myself in. Around the length of a novella, the book is perfect to curl up to on a cold February afternoon, and reminded me of a classic detective story.

If you’d like to give it a try for yourself, check it out on Amazon, and look out for more stories in the series emerging in the near future.