Staying in with Jon Ransom

I had the privilege of attending the online launch for The Whale Tattoo by Jon Ransom on 3rd February and was so completely mesmerised by Jon’s reading from the book and the story behind it that I simply had to invite him onto Linda’s Book Bag to tell me more about it. I’m delighted he agreed to stay in with me today.

Staying in with Jon Ransom

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Jon and thanks for staying in with me to chat about The Whale Tattoo.

Thanks for having me Linda, and for coming to the launch.

My pleasure. I loved hearing about the book. For those not lucky enough to be there, what can we expect with an evening in with The Whale Tattoo?

I hoped your readers might enjoy busting beneath the river where I’ve conjured a story about a lad who though imagined, is not unlike myself, queer and working class.

I think many writers draw on their own experiences Jon.

Called The Whale Tattoo, I wrote the first draft on my mobile phone while traveling to work on the bus, and am excited with early reviews: ‘A stunning achievement – one of the most impressive and assured debuts I’ve ever read.’ Matt Cain

Endorsement by writers like Matt Cain must be mind blowing Jon. I have to say, the part I heard you read makes me agree!

What else have you brought along and why have you brought it?

I have brought my copy of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, because I have admired this story for as long as I can remember.

I imagine the sense of difference and the depth of emotions in this book have inspired your own writing. I’m absolutely thrilled to have The Whale Tattoo on my TBR and cannot wait to read it for myself. Thanks so much for staying in with me Jon. Let me give readers a few more details about The Whale Tattoo:

The Whale Tattoo

When a giant sperm whale washes up on the local beach it tells Joe Gunner that death will follow him wherever he goes. Joe knows that the place he needs to go is back home.

Having stormed out two years ago, it won’t be easy, nor will returning to the haunted river beside the house where words ripple beneath the surface washing up all sorts of memories. Joe turns to his sister, Birdee, the only person who has ever listened. But she can’t help him, she drowned two years ago.

Then there’s Tim Fysh, local fisherman and long-time lover. But reviving their bond is bound to be trouble.

As the water settles and Joe learns the truth about the river, he finds that we all have the capability to hate, and that we can all make the choice not to.

Ransom’s fractured, distinctive prose highlights the beauty and brutality of his story, his extraordinarily vivid sense of place saturates the reader with the wet of the river, and the salty tang of the sea.

Published by Muswell Press on 3rd February 2022, The Whale Tattoo is available for purchase in all good bookshops and online, including directly from the publisher, from and Gays the Word.

About Jon Ransom

Jon Ransom was a mentee on the 2019 Escalator Talent Development scheme at the National Centre for Writing. He was awarded a grant in 2021 by Arts Council England to develop his next novel. Ransom’s short stories have appeared in Foglifter Journal, SAND Journal, Five:2:One, and most recently in Queer Life, Queer Love. He lives in Cambridgeshire.

You can find out more by following Jon on Twitter @JonLRansom and Instagram.

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