Wattpad Spotlight: Jay Victor (Vic James)
by T. E. J. Johnson
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Jay Victor. Jay (the name is pseudonym for British TV producer Vic James) is a wattpad legend, a well-loved and admired writer with a legion of fans.
Victor’s book SLAVEDAYS is a wonderful read that has taken wattpad by storm. Flowing with a beautiful narrative and a twisting dark plot that has kept its readers asking for more.
Dark, comic, intelligent – SLAVEDAYS has it all.
The novel is currently being serialised on Wattpad and in a few days time, will be a featured wattpad novel.
Luke Hadley’s summer holidays – scratch that: his life – are ruined when his parents announce that the family is starting its Slavedays. As Luke struggles to adjust to the slave town of Milton, his parents and sisters are summoned to work on the estate of the Jardines – foremost among the Equals. Luke knows he should follow his family, but a new group of friends gives him an unexpected – and dangerous – mission to stay in Milton.
Silyen Jardine, youngest son of the elite family, is the most Skilful magical practitioner of his generation. So when Silyen schemes to make the Parliament of Equals vote on abolishing the Slavedays, no-one can understand what he’s really after. And as confusion spreads, others begin to lay their own plans.
Magic, politics and rebellion swirl around Luke and Silyen, as both unleash forces that may change their world – or prove to be beyond their control.
Think ‘Downton Abbey’ meets ‘The Hunger Games’ meets ‘House of Cards’ – in a world where Voldemort won.
Who is Jay Victor?
‘Jay Victor’ is an extremely unimaginative pseudonym based off my real name Vic James. I’m a TV producer/director living and working in London making current affairs documentaries. I also spent 8 years making short investigative reports for a UK national news programme. Before that, I worked as a print journalist in Japan for 5 years, and before *that* I did a PhD in 17th-century literature.
What are you currently working on?
I’m trying to produce a clean final version of SLAVEDAYS, the first book in a trilogy about magic, politics and revolution in a very divided modern Britain. And I’m checking that the story arc still makes sense for volume 2, SLAVELIFE and volume 3 (named, but I’m keeping that a secret for now as it’s also a bit of a spoiler!)
What was the inspiration for your novel?
Obviously my daily work, which saw me covering many stories on inequality in the UK: food banks, child poverty, failed regeneration, and government politics and policy. My PhD was about the period immediately preceding the English Civil War – and the Civil War itself becomes the divergence-point for my alternate history.
But mainly I was inspired by a wall. there’s an absolutely enormous wall that runs along the A31 road in Dorset. We drove up and down it a lot in my childhood, on our way to the coast. Called the Drax Wall, it always fascinated me – I used to wonder why anyone would need to build such an incredible structure around their stately home and estate! Just how unpopular were the aristocrats who lived behind it, and why? That was the genesis for the world of SLAVEDAYS, with its magically gifted, ruthless aristocrats who use their Skill to oppress the citizens
Who should read this book?
I hope that everyone can find something in SLAVEDAYS to enjoy: Pre-teen/teen readers might relate to the journey of its 16-year-old protagonist, Luke. Those who love political and social realism will find it stuffed with ideas about the world around us. Fantasy lovers get magic; lovers of dark romance get … exactly that! It’s intense, but hopefully with a touch of humour. I commute to work by Tube, and wanted to write something that I could imagine in the hands of every single person in the carriage.
What other works and authors have influenced your writing?
I don’t really have any ‘influences’, as in my time I’ve soaked up all sorts. I’m a deliriously omnivorous reader. Japanese 20th-century fiction; Renaissance poetry and drama; Victoria sensation fiction; science fiction; and classic and contemporary YA fantasy are all genres I adore. The only books I find it hard to get excited about those that duplicate everyday life. That’s what I *live* – when I read, I want to go someplace else!
How has your wattpad experience been?
Oh, you want some more words?
Brilliant! Friendly! Supportive! Fun! Enlightening!
It’s like a little orange tinted utopia for book geeks the world over. SLAVEDAYS is being read by people from Puerto Rico to Japan. Once upon a time that would only have been true for mega-selling international blockbusters. it’s thrilling and humbling.
And I’ve also had the chance to read some fantastic books on here – things that i would never pick up in a bookshop but which have really charmed me. and you can talk to the authors of those, too – ask questions about their books, their characters, and them. I think Wattpad takes you back to the days of storytelling round the campfire: it’s such a collective activity. And that’s more than a little bit magical.
Is this a wattpad exclusive, or do you plan to publish?
Who wouldn’t love a publishing contract? My hope is to submit SLAVEDAYS to agents later this autumn. But I’ve been delighted that SLAVEDAYS has been invited to be a featured Story on Wattpad from August 1st, so it will definitely be up for 6 months from then.
Wow! Featured story – tell us more about that!
I have no idea what to say. I had never heard of Featured Status before I was asked to go on the list. Only since then have I realised what a big deal it is – books can achieve 100,000 reads or more in the fortnight they have on the front of the list. The list seems to work like a quality kite-mark, and a first port of call for many new users. Books that go on it have to be complete -or nearly so. SLAVEDAYS will be a few chapters from the end when it goes up, which I’m hugely excited by as it means a whole new cohort of readers will find it before the Grand Finale!
I’ll also begin posting SLAVELIFE in the fall.
Wattpad has been a fantastic place to be both a reader and writer. I won’t be disappearing from it, whatever happens with SLAVEDAYS!
How can readers find out more?
For now, find me on Wattpad right here.
And there is a Pinterest board featuring some images that inspired the series, including that wall – right here!