Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve written six full-length books, two collections of poetry, two short story collections and a collection of flash fiction with a foreword by New Zealand author Chad Taylor (‘Departure Lounge’, ‘Shirker’ and ‘Electric’). I was born in North Wales (Britain) and now live in New Zealand after spending around twelve years living and working in Hamburg, Germany.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
‘Songshifting’ is a trilogy of speculative novels set in a city that may be in the future, an imagined past or an alternative present. It plays against a background of music, something that has accompanied my life. For decades now I’ve collected band names and decided it was time I did something with them.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
For the first time, while working on the second two ‘Songshifting’ novels I prepared a couple of handwritten notes of the chapters I planned to write the following day. I found this both warmed me up and removed the imaginary barrier of the blank page. I was able to flesh-out these ideas on my laptop in the daylight – a kind of jumpstart to the imagination.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Russell Hoban will always be number one. All of my favourite novels are his; in particular, ‘Pilgermann’, ‘Fremder’ (which influenced ‘Songshifting’) and the first of his I read, ‘Riddley Walker’. I’ve read and re-read his books more than those by any other writer. I also love J.P. Donleavy, Richard Brautigan, Iain Banks, Ian Rankin, Kurt Vonnegut, Martin Amis and the little-known cult author Russell H. Greenan.
What are you working on now?
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
That would have to be Amazon.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write and don’t listen to the resistance.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“Explore your material.” Russell Hoban
What are you reading now?
Granta’s ‘Loves Ones’ issue (2006); ‘The Dylan Thomas Omnibus’; Nicolas Slonimsky’s ‘Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns’.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Who knows. I’m a writer not a soothsayer.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Today I would take (because I’m not there yet) ‘Pilgermann’ by Russell Hoban, ‘Cultural Amnesia’ by Clive James, ‘Jubilee Hitchhiker’, William Hjortsberg’s beautiful biography of the writer Richard Brautigan (because it’s very long and would keep me occupied for a while) and ‘The Russell Hoban Omnibus’ (for the same reason).