Brief Biography of J A Weston (1970-)
English/Irish writer, born in Bolton, Lancashire; the middle son of an electrical engineer and barmaid/cleaner. Largely a failure at school having left with just three O-levels, he founded his own business (JAW Enterprises) and began importing old master replica paintings from China and Taiwan. Too shy to sell them, however, the business soon folded and he settled into the role of unit trust dealer/client correspondent for an independent financial advisor (IFA).
Both experiences led to a belated, yet burgeoning love of words – communication at the forefront albeit without face-to-face charisma. Having driven around the east coast of America and through Canada in 1994 with his elder brother, he was sufficiently emboldened to dust off the tentative beginning of what became his first (unpublished) novel, The Dubious Scenario (1995). Two further efforts followed in quick succession: The Ploughman’s Connection (1996/7) and The Taunt Master (1997) – Weston having time on his hands after quitting his job in 1996.
Now stacking lemonade bottles on the night shift at the local supermarket in the belief that he ‘could make it’ as a novelist – whilst awaiting news on his backup plan (university applications in speech therapy, English, and the humanities) – he revelled in his new-found freedom after a decade-long slog.
Unsuccessful in five of those six applications – chiefly because he did not possess any A-levels – and shooed from the door of the University of Manchester, he fortunately secured a humanities place (studying English, politics and sociology) at the Manchester Metropolitan University, a former polytechnic, after convincing the admissions tutor that economics/finance was no longer at his core.
Graduating in 1999 (under the tutelage of Blake, Atkins, Harker and Walsh) with a 2:1 in English, Weston finally understood the significance of literature having perused the works of Shelley, Dos Passos, Yezierska, Douglass, Gissing, Wright, Chopin, Tressell and Miller. During those combative years it was the latter’s stage play, Death of a Salesman which had an enormous effect on the psyche of Weston leading him to write his own dialogue-infused dramas: The Relationship (1998) and much later, for radio, Directions (2011) and The Broken Heart Ward (2011).
A lot of Weston’s work has spewed forth in the form of fractured trilogies. This was compounded at the turn of the millennium, following marriage, fatherhood and a blue period – his literary novels The Leaf Blower (2000-04), Mutler (2007-09) and Wagenknecht (2013-16) intertwining each and exploring the sensitive areas of religion, politics and philosophy.
A low-level stockbroker for thirteen years, Weston found modest success in the spring of 2013 (age 42) as a sports columnist for The Bolton News before falling out with the provincial editor three years later over the level of richness and style articles ought to contain. Shortly afterwards he was relinquished of his press officer post by the local table tennis league committee for the “mischievous” reporting of match rigging in its Premier Division.
The Galeano Upside Down world was not lost on Weston, yet he was keen to temporarily push aside such matters and augment journalistic commitments with more liberal outlets, Boxing.com (in the US) and BackPageFootball.com (in Ireland/Australia).
Numerous projects remain on the radar for 2016 and beyond but it is sport and literature – fighting and writing – which mainly occupy Weston’s mind. Before commencing his last novel he was pleased to finish two on-going obsessions, namely Modest Anger & Other Stories (1997-2012) and They All Left Here (2007-2012); the latter subtitled Common People: Mirth, Madness and Stupidity and borne from interviewing fascinating work colleagues whom Weston accurately predicted would not be able to ‘sit it out’ in finance for long. Indeed, four of the six left within five months of being interviewed.