Today I am taking part in the blog tour for Twenty Sixteen. I’m sharing my Q&A with the author with thanks to Zoe O’Farrell for inviting me on the blog tour and to Lee Bullman for answering my questions!
Have you always wanted to write?
It’s something I’ve done for as long as I can remember but it’s always been in fits and starts. I’m not one of those ‘I write everyday’ guys. I interviewed Jake Arnott once and he said some of the best days he has as a writer are the days when he doesn’t write a word. That always stuck with me.
I always dug people like Kerouac and Burroughs, the true believers in a savage faith, the outsiders and the rebels. I wanted to be one of those guys.
What were your previous jobs? Have they helped you with your writing process?
I’ve done a bunch of things, I still do. I’ve worked in film and TV, sold vintage clothing, taught English. I’ve sold antiques and written for magazines. I’ve been a junkie and a stylist, I’ve driven bands and sold rare books. Everything I’ve ever done helps with the writing process I think. The highs and lows make us who we are.
What was your inspiration for Twenty Sixteen?
It’s a state of the nation novel. Any representation I’ve seen of that year in our history feels like it’s been presented with an agenda I don’t share. It’s a book I’d want to read – I wander round Waterstones in a daze and leave empty-handed so I endeavoured to write something cool and noir but modern that I’d pick up and pay a tenner for.
How do you construct your characters? Do they have traits of people you know?
They’re drawn from real life for sure. Some of the dialogue is word for word. It feels like we’re going through a period where new archetypes are being constructed in real time, I tried to capture some of those.
Johnny and Sasha are both drawn from life. So is the photographer, Beth.
What does your writing process look like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
With Twenty Sixteen the story took me where it wanted to go. It was waiting for me every night when I opened the laptop.
How did you research Twenty Sixteen? Did you enjoy it?
I lived through 2016 in the United Kingdom and watched the effect the referendum had on all of us. I got fascinated by the divisions it highlighted and the mirror it held up to modern Britain.
Who are your favourite writers? Are you influenced by them?
I love James Ellroy. I love his economy and his rat-a-tat approach to getting the story out. Jim Thompson is a big influence too. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read John Le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, it’s like a comfort blanket. I like Michael Stewart’s books, Café Assassin is my favourite. On the whole though, I don’t engage with modern literature an awful lot, most of it doesn’t speak to me at all.
If you could invite three people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be and why?
Charles Baudelaire, Bettie Page and Beau Brummel.
I’d serve Charles Absinthe and opium, flirt with Bettie and talk neckties with Beau.
It would be a fun night.
Who would play the main character/s in a film version of Twenty Sixteen?
Sasha Haye – Kristin Stewart
Reider – Michael Caine from the 80s
Johnny – A young Elvis Presley
What do you like to do in your spare time?
My favourite thing to do is hang out with Siena and my son Tom, drinking hot chocolate and feeling copacetic.
I DJ occasionally, early 60’s R’n’B blasters mostly, that’s always fun. I work for myself so that spare time / work line is a bit blurred.
What is next for you?
We’re starting a business producing a range of handcrafted bags fashioned from vintage carpets and made in the UK and velvet and satin boudoir cushions featuring my partner, Siena Barnes’ artwork. I’ve just started another book too, so we’ll see how that pans out.
Book? James Ellroy. American Tabloid.
Film? Anything by Jim Jarmusch or Russ Meyer. Most films are rubbish.
Band/Singer? My partner, the mighty Siena Barnes, has a band called Saint Severin. You should check them out. Also, Bobbie Gentry and Tom Waits spring immediately to mind. If I start writing a list of my favourite music I’ll never stop.
TV show? I’m not really a TV guy.
Biscuit? I ate a whole packet of chocolate digestives yesterday. I don’t regret it.
Twenty Sixteen is available from Amazon.
You can follow the rest of the blog tour here: