Name Paul Flewitt
Age 34 (or thereabouts. I’m never really certain…)
Where are you from
I live, and was raised, in Sheffield, UK with my wife and two children.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Wow, it’s been three years since I last spoke with you and a hell of a lot has happened. I’ve released a bunch of short stories for anthologies since releasing my first novella; I’ve written a piece for TV (can be viewed on YouTube) and begun work on several longer projects which remain in progress. I have been working very closely with Matt Shaw (fellow author of Porn, Rotting Dead F*cks etc), and have attended a couple of conventions with him. I guess, I’ve spent some time learning how the business side of the industry actually works. I have also become a married man and renovated a new home which I now live in with my family, so it’s been pretty full on. I have no firm dates for a new release, although I do hope to get a couple of new pieces out into the world before the end of the year.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Truth is, I’ve always written to some degree. My dad is a good amateur poet and storyteller, and there were always books in the house when I was younger. Dad encouraged me to read and write; more because HE did it than anything else. I had written a good few pieces before I actually took the plunge and published Poor Jeffrey, but nothing that was really printable. Things changed a few years ago when I found myself out of work in a job market that was less than conducive to finding employment, so my wife gave me a year to get something published. I met my editor, Patti Geesey on social media and it was her that really encouraged me to go to print. She read a few of my works in progress and saw something in me. It was her and fellow writer, Cecilia Clark, that really pushed me to take my writing more seriously than I had been. They say “I told you so,” quite often.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I suppose that was when I first held the paperback version on Poor Jeffrey in my hand. There’s something of a thrill you get every time you hold a book in your hand that you had a hand in creating. Another moment would be getting my first industry review, which appeared on UKHorrorscene.com. It was a great one.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It was Cecilia’s fault. I was striking around for an idea, when she suggested that I write a zombie story. I was reticent at first, because it was at the time when all things zombie were the “in” thing and everyone was writing about them. I started out writing Poor Jeffrey as a bit of a joke for Cecilia, but then it took several different turns. Now, I wouldn’t know what to call it but it’s certainly NOT your typical zombie tale.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I write dark fantasy and horror, so I’m sure you can imagine what my style is. I’m very much influenced by the work of Clive Barker, Stephen King and James Herbert, with big splashes of Tolkien, Donaldson etc.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I generally come up with titles before I have a story. A random phrase will pop into my head and gets me wondering what it could be about.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Nope. None at all. I think people read too much into a writer’s intentions and search incessantly for hidden meanings. In life, and in my work, I’m a straight shooter – if there was a message it wouldn’t be hidden. I simply like to write stories which take the reader away from the world for a time.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I try to base all my stories in a realistic world. That’s not to say that my work is autobiographical or that certain characters are based on people that I’ve met. That’s never the case. What I try to do is create worlds that are familiar and relatable, so that when I fly off into fantasy, people might accept it as real… or at least plausible. I think, if people can relate to a world, then they will be more apt to believe it. Put simply; “Make them (the readers) believe your reality, then they will follow your fantasy.”
Fiona: What books have influenced your life most? a mentor?
Wow; there are so many! To name a few… Imajica; Clive Barker, The Long Walk, Stephen King, Poe’s Complete Works, HP Lovecraft’s Complete Works, Inferno, Dante, Lord of the Rings, J.R.R Tolkien, the love of my wife and children, copious amounts of coffee and late night conversations on process with Patti Geesey.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Probably not viewed as “new” these days, but Matt Shaw, Michael Bray, Alex Laybourne and Stuart Keane are some of the finest writers that I’ve read in the last few years. Duncan Ralston, Matt Hickman, Sean Hupp and Andrew Lennon are also quickly rising on my lists of good authors. All have a different take on the horror genre and write wonderfully. Adam Nevil, Paul Kane and Joe Hill are also writers who have made waves over the last few years, and that I’ve discovered relatively recently and enjoyed immensely. Outside the horror genre, Christopher D. Abbott is an author that I have a ton of respect for. He is one of the most intelligent modern writers that I have read and he certainly deserves more attention for his work in the mystery genre.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The horror community in general has been hugely supportive, as they tend to be with most new talent. I have worked with some really nice people and all of them have encouraged me to some degree. Special mention has to go to Matt Shaw, who is without doubt among the most supportive and hardest-working writers in the business today. If I can cheat and have TWO entities, then I have to make mention of my editor, Patti. Without her, none of my achievements so far would have been possible and my writing would be lesser without her input.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Of course. It takes dedication, effort and time. It certainly isn’t a hobby to me, and I commit many hours to it. I get paid for doing it, so I have to ensure that everything that I do achieves a professional standard. At this point, writing has gone far beyond a thing I did for fun.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
See, I have the luxury of being in the drafting stages of three different novels, so I don’t need to think about this just yet. If we’re speaking about Poor Jeffrey, then there are several things I could change about it, but then it wouldn’t be the document that it is. I firmly believe that everything that we write is a document of our progression, and to edit them would be to delete that document. Some writers want all of their work to be the best that they can be. I prefer for them to be the best that they can be at the time of writing, because that is the writer I was at that point in time. I can honestly say, I’ve had the opportunity to re-edit Poor Jeffrey and have consistently refused. I stand behind all my work.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
As I alluded to previously, it definitely comes from my Dad. He first put a pen in my hand and told me to write something, his were the books on the shelves. Both of my parents encouraged my imagination, but it was Dad who gave me the tools to do something with it. It’s his copy of Lord of the Rings that I still have on my shelves (ssshhh, don’t tell him)
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
How about an exclusive bit of my current WIP, hot off the presses and totally unedited?
“He woke to darkness so complete that blindness would be a comfort when compared with it; darkness so total that he could reach out and tear clumps of it out of the ether and mould it like clay, form it, wear it – had he eaten it, that darkness might even offer sustenance and fill him up entirely. Darkness and silence wrapping him up like a newborn, rocking him to sleep in the warmest of embraces. He was safe here, at least. If there were monsters lurking in the corners of this place, then he would hear the breath being birthed in their lungs, hear the thought spark before the brain sent its message to their feet to move. “Yes, at least it’s safe,” he thought; and in so thinking he drifted off again – perhaps back into sleep. It was hard to know for certain.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The last year or so has been quite challenging, hence a lack of releases. Several family situations have conspired to slow me down, but hey, it happens. My family will always come first, it has to. I can honestly say that I find writing a pleasure… when I can actually sit and concentrate on it.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
If I commit to conventions then yes, there is quite a bit of travelling involved. That said, I’ve made the decision to do no conventions until I’ve released a couple of titles, so that I can concentrate on the work. I will do cons again, because they’re fun and I like to meet readers… but now isn’t the time.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My favourites are Poor Jeffrey, which was created by an amazingly talented guy named Richard Van Ekeren. He created the piece in two parts, and it exists on canvas in his studio. I gave him an idea of the style that I wanted, and he certainly delivered. Another is the cover to Behind Closed Doors, which was created by Michael Bray and is completely evocative of the stories within.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Similarly to everything I write. Finishing the damned thing!
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learn several things, usually surrounding correct punctuation and grammar.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
Oh no. No, I’m not even gonna go there.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Do it. Do it badly if you have to, but do it. It’s fun!
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you. For your patience and understanding that I’m a slow-assed writer at the best of times. Thank you for your reviews and comments about my work and for parting with your hard-earned cash to buy my books. I hope you continue to enjoy my work in the future.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Christopher D. Abbott’s new book; Songs of the Osirian. Chris usually writes in the mystery genre, but has stepped into the fantasy arena for this one. It’s an interesting one so far.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
My mother tells me it was The Musicians of Bremen Town. My memory isn’t that good. The first one I actually remember reading would have been Five Go To Smuggler’s Top.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Anything and everything makes me laugh, even the most inappropriate things. I have a pretty dark sense of humour. I don’t cry very often, but when I do it’s usually something to do with cruelty towards children.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
There are a few; Nelson Mandela, Tolkien, Clive Barker, to name just three. Anyone who inspires would be great to have a conversation with.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
“He didn’t fuck it up too badly…” Because I could’ve.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Yes. I pretend that I can play 8-ball pool every Monday in a league.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t watch TV too much, but the Walking Dead and Game of Thrones are must see viewing in my house. Lately, I’ve been getting into the Elementary series too. The Tom Hardy series, Taboo, has also been compulsory viewing since it began. Strangely for a writer of dark fiction, I don’t really like too many horror movies. Horror is always better in the head, for me.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Bangers and Mash has always been a firm favourite, that and a good old-fashioned Sunday roast. My favourite colour is a certain kind of dark blue and favourite music is heavy metal.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’d like to have been Batman, but never had the billionaire status or the physique.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Y’know, a website is a thing that has been on the to-do list that I haven’t gotten around to, but people can always reach me through my Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Paul-Flewitt-Author-of-Dark-Fiction-352745188170046/