Today I’m pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for Recursion. I’m sharing a Q&A with the author with thanks to Zoe O’Farrell for inviting me on the tour and to David Harrison for answering my questions!
Have you always wanted to write?
I focused my first few years on learning to talk, walk and read, but after that, yes, always.
What were your previous jobs? Have they helped you with your writing process?
I started out in hotel kitchens in the Lake District, then graduated to fileting fish in Preston town hall. Following a brief stint as a quality inspector at a nuclear facility, I became a toy buyer and then a pharmaceutical executive. Writing is by far the best job I’ve had, but it pays less than any of the previous. I travel a lot, and since much of my writing is done waiting for overdue transport connections, I would say that my work has influenced my writing process, but not necessarily helped.
What was your inspiration for Recursion?
The word recursion is from the ancient French, to run back, and in a sense, I was retreating to the place of my childhood in the Lake District, a very inspirational place.
Central to the theme of the story is the notion that time is only linear because of the limitations of the human brain, and this was inspired by both quantum physics and Jungian psychology. There’s also an element of classical science fiction that I love so much.
I love horror, and thrillers, but I also love literary fiction, especially when it is full of symbolism – I will let my readers decide where on that spectrum Recursion falls.
How do you construct your characters? Do they have traits of people you know?
Everyone asks me about the Captain, because they think that I am that character. Of course, the answer is no, not yet.
People I know from the Lakes might recognise their names, but never their characters, the latter have been suitably re-arranged to protect the author.
What does your writing process look like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
In the first manuscript, I try to channel the energy as much as possible and go ‘fearward’, as my writing tutor always says to do. I allow the characters to breath, to voice themselves, and to interact as naturally as possible. Sometimes they take liberties with the story and don’t always do what I tell them.
I write a little every day and I thoroughly enjoy it.
The real work starts in the editing process, where I’ll make many edits, for character, for voice, for place and for plot. Each time I leave enough time for the writing and ideas to compost. My characters dislike being left alone for long, but someone needs to put them in their place.
How did you research Recursion? Did you enjoy it?
I researched almost every aspect of Recursion and was surprised how much I enjoyed learning new things. I bought a Damascus knife, began to eat tofu, tried my hand at painting and joined a cult. At night I went into the garden and dug holes to offer myself to the entity.
PS: only some of the above is true.
Who are your favourite writers? Are you influenced by them?
Recursion is definitely Lovecraftian in nature, but it is mostly influenced by the work of Haruki Murakami, whom I admire greatly. Stephen King, of course, is an influence, as is the incredible Kate Atkinson, but I also owe a debt to the likes of Adrian Tchaikovsky, Alan Moore, and A.E. Van Vogt.
I cannot be anything but influenced by these luminaries, but I prefer to think of it as joining a conversation with their ideas and wider themes.
Lastly, I love Raymond Chandler but know that I’ll never be that good a writer, no one can be.
If you could invite three people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be and why?
The notion of inviting the dead to a dinner party, raises the possibility of inviting those not yet born. Why not invite my future grandson and get some great stock market insights?
Having broken the divide between living and dead, I would, on my own passing, invite myself. That way I would achieve certain immortality.
Lastly, I would invite my wife, Vicki, because I don’t go anywhere without her.
Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
The engineer from the elevator company, because then who would fix it if it goes wrong? In truth, I have a mortal fear of becoming stuck in lifts, so I take the stairs.
Who would play the main character/s in a film version of Recursion?
Brad Pitt would play the Captain, Timothée Chalamet would be Haruki, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw is perfect for Jane. I fear that Frank would steal the show, so I’ll play him myself, although I might bow out if Morgan Freeman was interested.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
It sounds silly, but I like to write.
What is next for you?
I have many projects at or near completion, but I will probably look for an agent for The Glorious Dead. It’s a gritty, ironic, swords and sorcery novel, but without the sorcery, and the swords are more like functional sharp bits of metal – it’s a book where nothing is too romantic and where everything feels real.
Book? 08Highbrow would be Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot and lowbrow would be Howard’s Conan the Cimmerian Barbarian. I would say that my books fall somewhere in between.
Film? Blade Runner 2049 **interlinked**
Band/Singer? Bowie, is there any other?
TV show? A-ha! Anything Partridge-esque.
Colour? Black, if it is one.
Place? Barrowthwaite. I fictionalised it for Recursion, but those that grew up there with me will recognise it.
Biscuit? Garibaldi – I don’t like them, but I’m still amused by Alexei Sayle in the Young Ones singing, ‘Revolutionary biscuits of Italy, rise up out of your box, you have nothing to lose but your wafers.’ Genius.
Recursion is available from Amazon.
You can follow the rest of the blog tour here: