For those of you that don’t know Paul Flewitt you are missing out on a great friend and an awesome writer. He has a wonderful sense of humor and is always ready to help out his fellow writer friends. He is very passionate about his writing and is always glad to spend some time with a fan talking about his books. If you are looking for a good story I highly recommend anything he writes. Please help me welcome Paul Flewitt back to Roadie Notes…….
1. It’s been awhile since we talked what new books do you have out now? Latest release?
I have nothing new in print at the moment. I’ve spent the last couple of years concentrating on shorter work for anthologies, honing my craft and really trying to tighten up on my style and structure. I’m finding my own voice and my own way of doing things now, though little has changed on the page it HAS made a difference to the process I work to. It’s different for different authors, so I’ve experimented with notes, pantsing and writing at different time of the day. Now, I think I have a routine which should mean I get far more productive. Also, having completed work on the new house it means I’m not trying to get things done amid the chaos of builders and trades-folk around the house.
I said I had nothing new in print, but I DO have something that was released that I couldn’t speak much about last time we spoke. It’s quite exciting that some of my work found it’s way to TV at the beginning of the year, thanks to a TV project called Fragments of Fear. It aired and went live on YouTube, so now I can tell you more about it and actually show it to you. The Silent Invader is a 15 minute story in which I explore the dark relationships that some people have with their TV sets. I often hear that people like Marilyn Manson, Eminem and Judas Priest are blamed for events like Columbine and other tragic atrocities, because of the themes of their art. I also often see that movies and TV shows have also been blamed for inciting people to violent acts, so this is something which inspired me to write a monologue involving a television. It’s a lovely piece of darkness, with a neat little twist at the end. If you’re not faint of heart or easily offended by dark themes and descriptions of violence, then please check it out here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10xJ9z1ip8k
2. If you could pick any author alive or dead to have lunch with who would it be? Why?
It would be Clive Barker. Looking at reviews and talking to people who read my work, his name is one that often pops up. I’ve read him since my teenage years, and his stuff has always spoken my language. His method of opening doors to possibilities beyond human knowledge has enthralled and enraptured me and I can truly get lost in his art; whether that be his books, artwork or films. In interviews, he never fails to engage with his audiences and leaks little snippets of information regarding his own methods. I could listen to him speak all day long, because you learn something about horror and dark fantasy every time he speaks. Who wouldn’t want to have a one on one conversation with someone who has a mind like his and has the ability to convey his ideas so eloquently.
3. What is the strangest thing a fan has ever done?
You know, my fans are all pretty normal. It’s quite disappointing really. I do get the occasional anorak type reader, who pulls up inconsistencies or facts that might be slightly wrong, but I haven’t had anyone send me dirty underwear or the innards of sacrificed animals. I really don’t know whether I should be upset or relieved about that.
4. What is the one thing you dread to do when writing?
Editing and writing synopses, without a shadow of a doubt. There’s something inherently difficult about trying to write a synopsis and simmering down your story into a couple of paragraphs. Am I giving too much or too little? Is it engaging or is it yawn-til-your-jaw-breaks boring. I think it’s something that most writers struggle with. Editing is the same; picking apart something that you’ve spent months writing and omitting lines and paragraphs that you might’ve loved at one time. Thankfully, my editor, Patti is awesome. She’s worked with me since Poor Jeffrey and our relationship is more friendly than professional now. She understands my style and instinctively knows exactly what I’m trying to achieve with every story. Editors are invaluable and often very giving of their time and selves. I couldn’t publish a word without her assistance nowadays.
5. Did you have imaginary friends growing up? Tell me about them
I didn’t have imaginary friends, but I did always have an active imagination. This would be displayed in many ways; in playing with real friends and messing with toys, creating worlds that I could inhabit for weeks on end. That developed into writing poetry and short stories for friends or just for myself. I dunno about imaginary friends… I never seemed to need one.
6. Do you go to conventions? If not why?
I’ve been to a couple. My publisher is Matt Shaw, so you can imagine the fun and frolics that happen during a weekend with him. Last one I went to was with a few guys that Matt has either published or been friends with for a while and it was a real hoot. For myself, I don’t really have the following to justify the financial outlay of attending as a writer. I’ll get there, I’m sure, but now isn’t really the time. That said, if my friends are getting a table and want me to attend then I’m always happy to join them. Conventions are fun and at the right ones you can meet potential readers and existing ones, at the same time as getting together with good friends. Yeah, cons are cool.
7. How many times did you have to submit your first story before it was accepted?
Once, and I was truly amazed. It was for a Clive Barker tribute anthology based on the Cabal book and Nightbreed movie, coinciding with the screenings of the Cabal Cut. It was only a 500 word flash piece, but it was snapped up. Right after that, my first short story and Poor Jeffrey were also picked up by two different pressed, so I had a really lucky start to my writing career. I still don’t quite know how that happened, but I’m thankful that it did.
8. Ever consider not writing? If so what made you continue?
Yep. Sometimes I find writing a real struggle. The words don’t come and when they do, they’re just not as great as I hoped it would be. I do get over these periods pretty quickly, I just need a quick kick in the pants, but it’s never great when it happens. It usually comes at times when the writing has been flowing really well, and then I hit a wall.
In fairness, the past year or so haven’t been the best for me. Between some family issues and the renovations, it’s seemed like I’d never get anything published again. I know I’ve let a couple of people down with not being able to hit a couple of deadlines, but that’s life and they’ve been very understanding about my situation for which I’m grateful. Hopefully, there’s light at the end of the tunnel though, and I can get back to the productivity that I had a couple of years ago. Fingers crossed!
9. Ever thought about writing in a different category?
You know, I never felt the need… yet. Horror and dark fiction has such a wide remit that there’s a lot of ground to cover, so I can satisfy my appetites without stepping out of the genre. Whether it’s full on horror or dark fantasy, I can spread my wings as much as I need to and tell the truths I want to explore within that framework, so why muddy the waters by stepping into another area? The great thing about the genre is that I can do horror, dark fantasy, crime fiction and a plethora of other styles and it will still fit the remit of horror, in the broad sense. No, I’m pretty much at home here… I paid the rent in advance.
10. Any new additions to the family?
Hell no. I have two children that occupy my time and my wife has allergies which have stopped us from having pets since our son was born. Weirdly, she never had allergies before, but since being pregnant with our son she’s allergic to every damn thing. It’s heartbreaking, because we’re all animal people and have had pets in the past which we’ve loved unconditionally. My siblings are all younger than me and are showing no interest in starting their own families, so it’s not even like I have nephews and nieces that I can corrupt. That time will come though, they have been warned.
11. What is coming up next for you?
Well, I have three manuscripts in various stages if completion so it depends which one I finish first. One is a thing that Matt Shaw challenged me to write a couple of years ago, but I’ve never been able to get it right. It’s for the black cover strand, so there’s a responsibility to deliver something truly horrible for him, especially given the subject matter that he challenged me with. One is something that I’ve been working on since school and it really embraces my love for fantasy, while retaining the darkness. The third is a continuation of a story that I wrote for Dean M Drinkel’s Demonology anthology. The character deserved to have more of his story told, so I began writing it but never got it finished. Hopefully, one or two of these projects will see daylight before the end of the year, but I make no promises. I won’t release anything until it’s absolutely right.
12. Do you do release parties? Do you think they work?
Not so much. I prefer to take over blogs and other people’s pages and corrupt their fans. Of course, these things work as a way to reach out to new readers and to allow seasoned fans to chat to you personally. I always feel that talking to readers is the best way to promote your work. Ask me anything, I’m an open book… and they usually do.
13. Do you have crazy stalker fans? Have you ever had one you wish would go away?
Again, my readers tend to be fairly normal people, so no. I do get people who want to have an in-depth conversation about character motivation and why I made certain choices, but no one that I’ve felt has been a pain in the ass. They are the guys and girls who pay my wages and put spending money in the pockets of my kids, so I at least owe them a bit of my time to chat.
14. Do you still have a “day job” ? If so what do you do?
The whole reason that I got into publishing was because the job market where I live slowed right down and I was finding it difficult to find work. My wife was working and earning more than me anyway, so she suggested that I take a year out with the kids and concentrate on doing something with my writing. She gave me a year to get something published, and I’m here talking to you so something must’ve worked.
15. What is your process for writing? Do you have a voice in your head?
No voices, that’d be worrying.
Seriously though, I just sit and write. I don’t write notes and I don’t really plan anything before I sit down. All my stories begin with a great first line or a title and I run with it from there. Wherever it ends up is where it ends up, and I’m as surprised by the twists and turns as the reader. I guess this is why it takes me so damned long to write anything.
I write all first drafts longhand, and each draft can run into hundreds of handwritten pages. It takes time, but it means that typing it up becomes the first edit run and I can weed out errors and polish it up as I type. This saves time. After that, it’s a case of working with Patti (editor, Patti Geesey) to eradicate typos and other errors, weeding out the unnecessary stuff and honing it. I might go back over it three or four times to make sure that it’s as perfect as it can be. It’s time consuming, and I’m a bit of a perfectionist, but the outcomes are usually worth the hassle.
16. Is there a book you want to make a sequel to you haven’t yet?
Yes! People have often asked about a sequel to Poor Jeffrey. Often, they want to know what happened to Jade and the circle of ghosts… which is cool, I wanna know too! I’ve started work on things that could exist in that world, but never finished them because they just weren’t good enough. One day I’m sure that I will revisit that story, but it was a very spontaneous one that came out of left field and I think it’s difficult to catch lightning in a bottle. Jade will call one day, and I’m sure she’ll have lots of stories to tell regarding herself and her friends. I can’t wait for that moment.
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