Why do you write?
I write to escape the boredom and banality of modern life. I’d rather be sat writing or reading or watching a film or out for a walk than have to deal with half the shit we have to deal with in this time. It also has something to do with both a mental as well as physical compulsion, the desire to let your mind unfold on the page and see where it takes you.
What books do you read?
Recently I’ve mainly been reading musical history/biographies for a story I’m currently working on. These include Todd Gold’s account of Brian Wilson’s life, the journalistic skills of Lester Bangs, the tawdry tour diaries of a Led Zeppelin nut following their 1974 US tour and Steven Adler’s hysterical account of his time in Guns ’n’ Roses.
What inspires you?
It is generally life that inspires me, either my own or others. I occasionally extrapolate from my own experiences to develop stories or poems.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer and when?
I knew I wanted to write from a very young age; I won my first poetry competition aged 10 but then was bullied out of it during my secondary years before finally getting a chance to study it at journalist school. Some of my classmates went on to write for the tabloids, I went on to write for a few obscure UK music papers that I can’t even remember the names of now and which I never got paid for! I eventually decided that I couldn’t make it as a journalist and dropped out for another decade until my mid-30s when I graduated again. It was then I started writing short stories and poems but no one read them until the turn of the decade.
How Do you deal with rejection?
From when I first started writing I submitted so after so much I’m kind of used to it by now. Sometimes it annoys me but it never lingers more than a couple of pints!
Who are some writers you admire?
Dead writers I admire include the ubiquitous Charles Bukowski, Knut Hansun, Jim Thompson, George Orwell and Raymond Chandler. Ones that are still alive include Dan Fante, Willy Vlautin, Cathi Unsworth and Joe R Lansdale.
Is writing the only artistic medium you do?
Yes, I tried my hand at music but no one wanted to hear me sound like a bad Sonic Youth guitarist and I eventually got the hint, but they did like my lyrics.
What would be some advice you would give to your younger self?
Keep on doing what you are doing, everything will work out OK.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep on believing, keep on writing and keep on submitting. If it is meant to be it will work out, it if doesn’t at least you’ll have an interesting time living it.
What is your writing process?
I don’t really have one. I can dash a poem off in a matter of minutes but some take a while. Stories are the same, some involve a little bit of research, most don’t, and they can come in one sitting or they can take years, I have one entitled New York City Dreamscape that has been residing in my work in progress folder now for 3 laptops!