Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a twenty-nine-year-old writer living in sunny Glasgow. I’ve been writing in one fashion or another since I can remember getting myself in trouble for being “too descriptive” in a class piece on hygiene (if ever there was such a thing, right?)
My back catalogue is only one book deep right now, with my first effort having rolled out earlier this year to terrific feedback.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My book, Grim, is about the twenty-four-hour trouble of the new Grim Reaper of Wilson’s Well. This is a world in which Death has given up and gone to live on the moon, leaving us humans to handle his affairs.
I don’t quite know how I came up with the idea. It branched out from the notion that Santa Claus manages to get around the planet in one night, and how it would be far more effective if he hired people (or elves, OR CYBORGS) to do it for him. From there I thought about how Death would have to tour the world all year, taking souls and all that. Must be tiring! Thus, his retirement after World War II, and from there, his role broke down into a council job.
After that, it was a matter of, well… what if someone was really bad at it?
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Not so much quirky writing habits as a fairly strict routine. Writing must be done in the morning to a playlist tailored to the mood of the piece. I must be well-fed and, importantly, caffeinated to my eyeballs. Sadly, I do subscribe to the stereotype that writers are addicted to caffeine.
Sometimes, during the early stages of planning, I’ll flip the routine on its head, just to get the juices flowing. Nighttime writing with a bottle of cider on an empty stomach. The results are interesting.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Pratchett is a staple in my book diet, as he is in any writer who writes quite so casually of death and the reaper, though I do try to avoid the full-steam-ahead fantasy experience. Additionally, I’m keen on anything first-person by Nick Hornby (I’ll recommend High Fidelity for a broken heart ’til the day I die.)
Crucially, I’m inspired by comics. Kieron Gillen on The Wicked and Divine was key to introducing me to the kind of council-estate fantasy world in which I’ve set Grim.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m dancing between a few short story ideas to keep me sharp until Grim’s sequel fleshes itself out. In case you were wondering what Death got up to after he went to live on the moon, y’know?
Additionally, I keep my blog updated every Friday, blethering my way into your morning coffee with musings and stories. Check it out here: http://itsgavinwriting.com
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Twitter is quickly becoming my best friend. It’s saturated, don’t’ get me wrong, but if you can make yourself pop, you’ll do well.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Get a day job you don’t like. Nothing gets you out of bed early in the morning quite like the idea of being stuck in that day job forever. If you don’t like your day job, that manuscript will fly out of you in no time.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Write. Just write.
What are you reading now?
The Lord of the Flies. I’ve never read it. It’s terrific. I hate myself for not reading it sooner, but that’s what I’m reading now. Boys are awful, aren’t they?
What’s next for you as a writer?
Plugging away. Writing every day. Short stories, blogs and planning the next book. Build a fanbase, keep them entertained. Breakthrough. Film deal. Mega money. Buy a giraffe. The usual.
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?
Lolita by Nabokov – the one and only. Island by Richard Laymon (because duh), Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick and any comic by Tom King.