Name Aidan Thorn

Age 33

Where are you from

Southampton

A little about yourself `ie your education Family life ect

I’ll give you the blurred I usually send when I submit short stories…

I’m a 33-year-old happily married writer from Southampton, England, home of the Spitfire and Matthew Le Tissier but sadly more famous for Craig David and being the place the Titanic left from before sinking.  It’s my ambition to put Southampton on the map for something other than bad music and sinking ships.  Since having my first short story, Fingered, published in Radgepacket Vol. 6 in 2012 I have also been published in the Near to the Knuckle Anthology Gloves Off as well as online at Near to the Knuckle, Thrillers, Killers ‘n’ Chillers and Thrills, Kills ‘n’ CHAOS.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

You’ve caught me in the middle of putting my short story collection together.  I’m not quite there on a title yet but I’ve got a few rattling around my mind.  The collection will include a series of stories that I’ve had published before as well as some new ones.  Those that have been published before have all been through an edit so those that have read them before will find something new on almost every page.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve probably always written.  When I was a kid I used to draw comic stories about a football team of animals.  I also remember writing a story about a boy that found a car that could time travel, I found that story a few years later and it was impossible to follow, there was no punctuation or paragraphs – David Barber will tell you I’m still the same today!  There was a big break though – I started writing as an adult at 28 years old and really started taking it seriously a couple of years ago.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I think you’re a writer when you decide to sit down and write something and something actually comes out.  People get snobby about it and say you’re not a writer until you’re novel is published, but I don’t think that’s right – who knows if you’ll ever write another?  I think you can consider yourself a writer if you regularly write – does mean you’re a good writer though, that’s only confirmed when your work is submitted and accepted by credible publisher (and I do include a lot of the top quality eZines – Near to the Knuckle, Thrills, Kills N’ Chills, Shotgun Honey etc…).  I’ve been a good writer a few times, I won’t tell you how many times I’ve been a bad one!

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

This is a bit weird… I’m a terrible traveler and have real problems adjusting to time zones.  So when I was in Florida in 2008 I would be waking up at about 2am, rather than putting a light on to read I ended up plotting a novel in my head – it’s changed a lot from that planning 5 years ago but there are still lots of elements still included.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t think so, the beauty of writing short stories is you can experiment with different styles.  I tend to write crime fiction and often with a humorous slant, but I wouldn’t say that’s my style.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I’m actually struggling with the title of my short story collection at the moment, it’s so difficult to give a title to a collection of a dozen or so stories… If anyone has any suggestions for a title of a collection of crime stories I’m all ears!

Titles for short stories and by novels are far easier, although even they change from time to time.  My novel started life as ‘Last Request’ and is now called ‘When the Music’s Over’, I just felt that was more fitting to the story and was relevant to all of the characters whereas the previous title only had significance to one.  I often use working titles until I finish something, I’m currently working on a novella length story that has a working title of ‘Detective Simmons and the Las Vegas Hooker’ – I very much doubt that’ll be the title at the end.

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Nope, I just like to tell stories.

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic? Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I’ve answered the above two questions together.

Everything I write is entirely fictional, that said I do occasionally take character traits of people I know to create characters – not that I know any nasty bastards that will stick a shotgun in your face!  I do observe people all the time and if someone has something interesting about them I wonder how I might put that into a story.  I even use myself as a point of reference for characters, for example one of the main characters in my novel ‘When the Music’s Over’ is a failed musician who played Bass in a band – being the Bassist in a band was my ambition as a much younger man.

Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?

So many!  When I started writing fiction I read a lot of true crime stuff, I guess as sources of reference.  I also read a lot of music biographies, again these were great reference books for ‘When the Music’s Over’.  Duff McKagan’s biography ‘It’s So Easy and Other Lies’ and Anthony Kiedis biography ‘Scar Tissue’ were not only good references but fantastic reads.  In terms of fiction, well I did A-Level English Literature and so much I what I read then shaped my love of reading, Of Mice and Men, Beloved, The Great Gatsby, Macbeth etc… etc… My love of crime fiction comes from the likes of Michael Connelly, George Pelecanos, Dennis Lehane and many many more.

Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Social media is great and I’ve ‘met’ a lot of great writers.  I’ve had useful tips from BAFTA nominee Danny King, Tom Arnold, Andy Rivers, Andy Peters, Ruth Jacobs, Col Bury, Paul D Brazill and I’ve shared thoughts on writing with many more.  As for mentors I can look no further than David Barber and Darren Sant – two of the nicest men in writing, always prepared to help out with a test read and advice, both of these guys have been absolute gents to me as I try to find my way in this world of writing.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I’m reading a few, I’ve just started Danny King’s Milo’s Marauders, I’ve got Darren Sant’s short story collection Dark Voices on the go and I’m reading a biography of Dave Grohl the Foo Fighters front man and former Nirvana drummer.

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

eBooks have really opened up my eyes to some great new writers.  I’ve already mentioned him a couple of times but a great short story writer that I really enjoy the work of is Darren Sant.  His Longcroft Tales are great and the second volume includes my favourite short of all time ‘Open All Hours’.  Darren’s longer work ‘The Bank Manager and the Bum’ is also a cracking read, I’ve said before that he’s the modern day Dickens and TBMATB is his ‘A Christmas Carol’.  Another writer that’s releasing good fun eBooks is Andrew Peters, ‘Joe Soap’ is one of the best stories I’ve read this year.  I don’t want to leave anyone out because there really is a lot of great under the radar stuff out there…  the stuff coming out from Byker Books has also really impressed me, particularly Tom Arnold and Andy Rivers.  I’d also say you won’t go far wrong looking around the web at some of the eZines out there, there are great writers contributing to these, in the last year or so I found great work online by the likes of Gareth Spark, Chris Leek, Edward Vaughn, Tom Pitts to name a few…

Fiona: What are your current projects?

Apart from putting my short story collection together I’m also working on a few longer projects.  I’ve already mentioned ‘Detective Simmons and the Las Vegas Hooker’ a story about a retired detective (who I’ve used a number of times in my short fiction) who takes his retirement fund to Las Vegas and meets a young prostitute that he tries to help.  I’m also working on a novella called ‘Worst Laid Plans’ a comic tale of a group of friends who accidently kidnap a rock star.  Finally, I have started to turn a sitcom I wrote a few years ago into a novel, but as it’s already written that’s not so much fun as I’m not really creating anything new, so I might shelve that project.

Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

The network of great writers/people I’ve met since having my first story published in Radgepacket 6 last year.  There are so many good people out there that encourage and support, it’s a little community of people with the same interest all going through similar challenges.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

No – I do it because I love it.  If one day I could make some decent money from it, great but at the same time I have a job that I enjoy so I’m not going to let writing for money worry me.

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Yes – I’m constantly editing and revisiting my work.

Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I’ve always liked reading, I’ve always wanted to be creative – I used to write songs and so it was just a natural progression to have a go at stories.

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

From Worst Laid Plans:

‘Do you want the good news or the bad news?’  Lee was stood over Andy wearing Andy’s mother’s floral dressing gown.

Andy must have fallen asleep.  He didn’t remember doing so and it couldn’t have been for long.  He’d spent torturous hours thinking of ways to disposal of a body and get away clean.  How much petrol would it take to burn a body completely to ash?  How long would it take?  What would it smell like? How big would the flames be?  All of his thoughts had been of burning – how else was it going to completely disappear?

‘Take my mum’s robe off you fucking perv,’ Andy said.

‘Fair enough,’ Lee said parting the robe just enough for Andy to realise that he was wearing nothing else.

‘Oh for fucks sake, keep it on, but you’re washing that!’  Andy said raising his hand to protect his eyes from the sight of his friend’s nakedness, ‘What are you on about good news, bad news?’

‘What do you want first?’  Lee wanted to play hard to get.

Andy played along rather than let Lee prolong his game of suspense.

‘Go on then I’ll take the bad news.’

‘Well the bad news is – that bloke you killed last night,’ Lee paused to let the accusation sink in and receive a disapproving look, ‘Well he’s not dead.’

Andy wondered how he found himself in a situation where his friend telling him that he hadn’t killed someone was bad news – but he had to agree that it was. 

Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Yes – it’s always challenging, that’s part of the fun.  If something’s a challenge it’s more satisfying when it’s finished and people tell you it’s good.

Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

That’s a big question and it probably changes a fair bit but I guess it always comes back to George Pelecanos.  He has a way with words, he can tell a little story and make it feel big and his use of cultural references (music, cars, clothing etc…) really makes me as a reader feel immersed in the worlds he creates.  His books usually have an element of social commentary to them, which with other writers can any me as it can get a little preachy but Pelecanos handles it expertly.

Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I don’t travel specifically for my writing (I have a full time job to do!) but I can be influenced and inspired by places I’ve visited.  As I said earlier I’m currently writing a story about a detective that’s visiting Las Vegas – that was inspired by my early mornings sat on a balcony looking out over the Vegas strip and thinking about all of the sights and sounds of the previous evening.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I’ve just designed the cover of my short story collection myself.  As my training is in marketing I had to acceptance test it though and it’s going down pretty well with people

Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Finding the time to do it when there are so many things to do.  Friends often ask how I have time – I think the answer is I don’t play computer games.

Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

That I have the discipline to do it… I doubted that when I started, but I will always be able to say that I’ve written a novel and I think anyone that’s done that, regardless of whether it’s been published or not yet can feel a sense of achievement.

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

I’m just starting out myself really so it’s not really my place to give advice but I’d just say enjoy what you’re doing, edit it well and submit it somewhere it’s a great buzz when someone accepts your work.

Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I don’t know really… Maybe sorry!

Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done ?

 I would have loved to make it as a musician; I just didn’t have the drive I have now when I was younger

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it?

I do, here it is http://aidanthornwriter.weebly.com/

I’m also on Twitter @AidanDFThorn

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