It is an honour for me to have a chance to do an interview here with Paul D Brazill, a noir fiction writer, an author of Short Story Collections Brit Grit and 13 Shots Of Noir, an unconventional werewolf detective short story Drunk On The Moon, and many more stories, that appear in short story compilations, a noir and crime fiction dedicated magazines, or can simply be found on the net. His web home is more than just a “blog spot”: pdbrazill.blogspot.com (there you can find his stories, interviews with his fellow writers and connect with him via “Facefuck and Twatter an’ that” as Kenny Cokehead from one of his stories would say).
Paul, welcome to my blog as my first literary guest of honour. Can you tell the readers a little about yourself?
Well, I’m teetering on the precipice of my fiftieth birthday. I was born in the North East of England but have lived in Poland for the last ten years, teaching English. And I’m a pretty bad guitarist.
What makes you write?
It’s a weird, pointless impulse, I suppose. A bit like the need to get drunk or listen to music. But I think I do it because I’ve always had an over ripe imagination and now I want to inflict my nonsense on the world!
If you didn’t write, what would you do?
Watch the X Factor, go to the pub. Same as everyone else. I’ve spent much more of my life ‘not writing’ than I have ‘writing.’(I started writing flash fiction regularly at the end of 2008.) I functioned then. After a fashion!
How would you describe your style – it appears simple and minimalistic, but you successfully present the Show, Don’t Tell imperative in practice?
I’m all for the ‘show don’t tell’ approach in storytelling rather than the descriptive stuff, which can come across as a little chintzy, even in crime and horror writing (maybe especially in crime and horror writing). If you want to spend a paragraph describing a cloud then write poetry or lyrics for a prog-rock band.That said, if a writer can get a perfect or near perfect balance to both approaches then they’re really on to something.
Your writing is addictive – the story sucks you in, you don’t know, what to expect in the next sentence, and when you reach the end, you just want more … Luckily, there IS more! Is it talent or technique?
I have no technique at all. I just write a word, or sound, or sentence, and keep on going until I think it’s time to stop.
What’s the story with your characters? Some of their names tend to be very descriptive (like Kenny Cokehead, John The Con,), the others seem to be a real-life person (like Peter Ord, Cormac …). You do not waste words on describing characters, yet they all seem to be flesh and blood after a sentence or two?
A lot of the names – and nicknames- are real people and a lot of the characters are real people, too. I think I stole that idea from Kinky Friedman- the crime writer and country and western singer- because it seemed much easier writing about your friends that making someone up. As long as you have interesting friends, of course. And I always do.
What is your “Method” ? Do you just type urgently when the idea is there, or do you outline the plot, film-edit bits of narrative?
As I said, I just start writing and see where it goes. Let the writing lead me. It’s the same with drinking!
What is your approach to social media as a marketing tool for what you do? You seem quite successful with promoting your work – I have found it through twitter …
I use social media because I’m very lazy and it’s a pretty good time waster. I’m sure it works to some degree for Z List writers like me but I doubt Stephen King needs it!
I don’t treat it with any real level of seriousness, though. Just in the same dilettantish way I treat life.
You also have embraced electronic publishing platform through publishers like Trestle Press, Guilty Conscience Publishing and Untreed Reads. What is your view on self-publishing?
I think it’s great, although I still prefer paper books with a cool cover. Then again, I prefer vinyl to CDs and all that other more modern mumbo jumbo but that’s just because I’m a 20th Century Boy!
But if eBooks mean more interesting, quirky, or just hard to market, writers finding an audience, then it’s a very good thing, indeed.
What about the printed books? Have you published any, or intend to?
There will be a compilation of the Drunk on the Moon stories coming out in print very soon and hopefully I should have a novella or two come out before my liver bursts.
Are there any … “literary heroes” of yours?
No More Heroes, as The Stranglers said. But writers who blow my skirt up at the moment include Charlie Williams, Les Edgerton, Ray Banks, Declan Burke and Anthony Neil Smith.
What are you working on at the moment?
A Peter Ord novella, which may or may not be called The Hit Man & Her.
A novella length Drunk on the Moon story, which may or may not be called She’s Hit!
Can we expect a longer read from you in the near future, say – a novel?
See above! I aim to get three novellas out this year.
Advice for young (and not so young) writers?
Write what you like and what entertains you.
Thank you very much, Paul.