Name Stuart Ayris
Where are you from
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I went to school in Romford and have three sons from my first marriage. I’ve lived in Romford, Harold Park, Romford again, Corringham, Stanford-le-Hope, various places in Chelmsford and have now been in the small Essex village of Tollesbury for just over ten years. I am the author of seven novels and in my spare time I’m a mental health nurse.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest novel – Merzougaville, Baby – was published at the end of November 2015. Since then, I have written almost 30,000 words of my next novel – Albion Calling.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote my first novel at the age of 22 during a Thatcher induced unemployment funk and then almost 20 years later wrote Tollesbury Time Forever which was published in January 2012.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m not so much a writer as someone who falls over sometimes and jots down the getting up
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I guess it’s part stream of consciousness (increasingly so with Albion Calling) and part whatever makes me smile at the time. I always have the ending in my head before I begin and very rarely change anything once I’ve written it. I generally write from late night to the early hours of the morning and invariably after a few drinks.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
With Merzougaville, Baby, there was something of a mutation. It started with The Apothecar of Marrakech then to Merzouga then Merzougaville and then finally to Merzougaville, Baby. It will make sense if you read the book – which I guess is the case with all my titles.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Make love not war – and if you can’t make love then just be kind!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
As with my novella – The Buddhas of Borneo – the actual physical journey the main character takes is geographically identical to one I have taken and some of the characters are based on people I either met or saw whilst in Morocco in Spring 2015 – including the boy whose feet are on backwards!
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Nope – I think I’ve written myself out of that cul-de-sac over the years!
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Ulysses by James Joyce, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, Visions of Cody and Desolation Angels by Jack Kerouac, Child of God by Cormac McCarthy and EVERYTHING by WP Kinsella – particularly Butterfly Winter. Other writers include Oscar Wilde, John Irving and Charles Bukowski. A mentor? Not really. I just make it up as I go along.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Like a Fiery Elephant by Jonathan Coe – incredible biography of BS Johnson
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
New is in recently discovered by me? Cormac McCarthy. New as in recently published in the last few years? David Haynes.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am about a third of the way into a novel called Albion Calling. I’ve written almost 30,000 words in a mad four or five days and is the natural progression of everything I’ve written so far.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Dreams and cheap wine.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
The way my mental health career is going I guess I have to!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope. I love it!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Through reading the books on my dad’s bookshelf and by listening to Bob Dylan songs.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Henry John Bateman was just the same as anyone else when it came to scratching for a way to live. Just he had ever been more inclined to the scratching than to the living. He made it down to Sweet Marie’s more than once and if you’ve never been to Sweet Marie’s not even the once then you should. She’s sweet and she’s Marie and she takes you just wherever she wants to take you. She’s on the run if you’re on the run and she’s stone cold still when you’re hankering for the thrill you paid for and she knows you paid for it because she’s counting your coins in one hand and brushing your hair with the other. She likes to go to big places does Sweet Marie but she never left her room except to tiptoe to the cocaine man who would cocaine her up good and send her flying round for an hour or two at which times she’d buy her make-up, head held high in the pharmacy where she’d also pick up a mountain of condoms and all sorts of creams. She was always on her way was Sweet Marie, belonging to no-one, least of all you who just paid her whatever she asked so she could go on the way down town the next day and get her cocaine and her make-up and all sorts of creams. Always on the way was sweet Sweet Marie. But when she’s not there, she’s gone, gone, gone like a heart that’s too hard to beat. She never baked no bread and she took all your dough but ah, Sweet Marie, Sweet Marie, Sweet Marie.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Not in the terms of actually writing it. In terms of people getting it? Well I guess it depends upon the people!
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Difficult to name just one so I will have to say Jack Kerouac and WP Kinsella. Both write with such a beautiful abandon that is both magical and tragical. It just flows without impediment.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not really. The off-licence is only a minute up the road.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I come up with the design and Kate W Stewart brings them into being.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Not having a clue what it’s really about until I’m about 20,000 words in. This has been true of all my books. Not that it’s hard really – more just exciting!
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That the more I let it flow the more it flows and I’m getting to where it’s flowing now!
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Have fun and love alot
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just cheers and if you have any questions just ask!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first I remember reading was probably The Famous Five or something like that. The first time I read a book that made me want to write would have been John le Carre’s The Honourable Schoolboy
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh: my mates Cry: golf
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Rick Danko from The Band. Why? He is my hero.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
He was alright
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Captain of The Rising Sun cricket team, playing guitar, darts, golf, cooking and staying awake
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Twin Peaks and The Wire – never seen anything that comes close to either one of them
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Thupka, blue and country blues
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Emma Samms from Dynasty
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Kind of but I’m not that organised. Have a Facebook page though and an Amazon Page: