Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Greetings! I’m Duncan P. Bradshaw, and I recently clocked up forty years of existing. Not bad going I’d say, all things considered.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I currently live in Chippenham, a town in the mighty county of Wiltshire, in Southern England. Pretty much always lived down south, except for an eleven month stint in Wales, which was rather fun.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’m married to a rather fabulous lady called Debbie. We met around twenty odd years ago, but it wasn’t until ten years ago that we actually got together. I fancied her from day one, but various things conspired to keep us apart. We have a couple of cats who share our home, Rafa and Pepe, who love nothing more than miaowing at us to feed them, or to give them attention.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’m currently on the last round of edits of my highbrow literary novel, CANNIBAL NUNS FROM OUTER SPACE! which is about a coming of age tale, set in Canterbury during feudal times. Okay, so I’m telling porky pies, it’s about cannibal nuns from outer space, and is a little silly.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I always loved writing when I was a kid, and was one of those people who said, “One day, I’m going to write a book,” but never did. Back in the summer of 2014, a mate of mine decided to self-publish, and I thought if he could do it, so could I. So I did. I can’t imagine my life without it now.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’d say the day CLASS THREE was released into the world. Such an odd thing to see the words you’ve spent so long putting together into coherent sentences, in one place, and in book form. Even now, getting proof copies in the mail, is something amazing.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve loved zombies for a very long time, and after my mate showed me it could be done, with some application, and giving up of things, I just started. I kinda had a rough idea of a story, from a long time ago, but that went out of the window when I started to write it. I decided to stick to what I know, and did a road trip, of sorts, with the main characters being two brothers. The zombie apocalypse is the catalyst, but it’s the relationship between them that is the main thing.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I was dithering for ages about what to call it, finally deciding on something from Max Brooks’ zombie classification. Class three is the stage before total world domination by the undead. It’s the beginning of the end, and it’s exactly when the book is set. Everything familiar is about to go bye-bye, and it’s that scrabble to get to those you love, and get to some perceived sanctuary, to make sure they’re safe.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
To be honest, I couldn’t tell you. I know what I like writing, but whether it’s a defined style, I’ll leave that to the readers, who will invariably compare and contrast. I like putting humour in my work, sometimes to the far end of the silly spectrum, other times, not so much. A part of being British involves taking the piss out of yourself and others, and humour is as much a weapon as a defence mechanism. Even in the most serious of situations, people will make jokes, again, to varying degrees, but it’s just how people are.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Most of my books are a little out there, so the broad themes are definitely not based on real events. A lot of the interactions and details are based on things that happened, or dreams, stuff like that. I realised a few years back that I write for two people, me and my wife, so I put in a few little things which only she and I will get. The problem with being a writer, is that you don’t get to see people’s reactions to your words. It’s tricky knowing which joke works, or which scene hits the right notes. Seeing, and hearing Debbie’s reaction is invaluable, so it’s my little way of saying thank you to her.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Not really, I love travelling, but I don’t use it as inspiration or a guide. Meeting new people in different parts of the world is always good, and you should always look to see more of the world, but I tend to base my stories in locales which I know. It makes them more believable as I’m able to convey things better.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I’ve used a number of different artists so far, each have done sterling work on the covers they worked on. It’s one thing I would love to be good at, drawing, but I suck really badly. I’ve designed one myself, but that was a very straightforward one, so not a hardship. To me though, the interior is as important, and I love using different fonts, and a number of other things to try and make that experience of reading one of my books, a little more unique.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I wouldn’t say so, HEXAGRAM is probably the most overt, in that I get infuriated with humanity at times. Yes, we’re capable of such wonder, but we can be so callous and self-centred. We need to open our eyes and appreciate that there’s so much more we can accomplish, we just need to stop being dicks and work together. All I ever aim for, with anything I write, is to entertain. Whether that’s with a few thousand words, or tens of thousands, I don’t mind. I have a low boredom threshold myself, so want to keep people turning those pages.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I’d say the writer who last made me sit up and notice is J.G. Clay. We are Facebook chums, but one thing I’ve discovered, is that being chums and then reading their work, can be a little disconcerting. If I’m not keen, I then have to try and convey why, so I’m being constructive, rather than a simple, “I don’t like it.” I read Clay’s Tales of Blood and Sulphur when I was working in India earlier in the year, and gladly, I didn’t have to say anything back to him other than, “That was bloody excellent.”
I’d say my favourite writer is Danny King. His writing is just so engaging, it’s not stuffy, you don’t feel dumb reading it, or feel that it’s too pretentious. He’s funny, smart and meets my key requirement, is thoroughly entertaining. I am lucky enough to share a TOC with him in an anthology, my story is the one after his, and that was a big deal for me.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I’d say my mate, Justin, who some know as J.R. Park. We’ve been friends for over twenty years now, and a few bad times aside, we’ve been in each other’s corner since we first met all those years ago. It’s always good to chat with him about what he’s working on, and vice versa.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Nope, it’s definitely a hobby, I think it’s quite rare to make enough money from this to be a living nowadays. It’s certainly not impossible, but to replace my income stream from my current job, with my writing, would be an awfully big ask. It can be tough at times finding hours in the day to do stuff, but it’s possible. Of course, I would love to do nothing but write, and make books, but I’m realistic enough to know that it’s extremely unlikely.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not at all, I’m not someone who suffers from regrets, about anything. You do things, bad things even, because of how you feel at a moment in time. I’m no saint, but to want to change those times would mean that I would be a different person. You always learn from your mistakes, and celebrate your successes, but I would never want to go back and wish them different.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
That it’s okay to take your time. I managed to write my other books pretty quickly, but CANNIBAL NUNS took a lot longer. I think it’s just down to experience. The more you do something, you find different ways of working. I’m in no rush now, I’ll go at my own pace, I’m not in a race with anyone.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
On the brief I’m sending to the artist for CANNIBAL NUNS, I’ve said that the main character, Father Flynn, is basically Tim Curry with a curly mullet and a great big bushy beard. I’d settle for that.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Man, I’m not one to give advice, especially on writing. So many people say that their way is the best, and that if you don’t write for three hours, in your special chair, with the right amount of sun facing you, whilst strangling a goose, that you aren’t doing it properly. It’s bollocks. You find things out as you go, my only advice is this. Tell the story as if you’re sat down next to someone in a pub, and you’re relaying the events to them. But that’s just how I do it, you gotta find your own way, even then, you’re always learning. Just make sure you spend time reading a wide variety of books, and most importantly of all,write.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I think you’re ruddy marvellous. I’m amazed that people want to read my words, so I’ll say it every time I get asked. Thank you, and I hope you enjoy it.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, by Margaret Atwood. Amongst the small press books, I love reading stone cold classics, particularly dystopias. Gotta say, I’m loving it, it’s up there with 1984 for me so far.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
There were two that stand out, one was a pop-up book called Duncan the Dinosaur, which I’ve still got somewhere. The other was Puff the Magic Dragon, and it was this little hardback, with two stories in. My parents always encouraged us to read, and though I went through a barren spell in my twenties, am glad I got back into it.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I find that the older I get, I’ve become a bit more of a sap, stupid little things now will make me well up. I’m not a big crier, but it’s not something I get embarrassed by if it happens. The last thing anyone should do is repress emotion, that shit is gonna come out of you one way or another, and I know as well as anyone, that it’s better to vent along the way, than keep it bottled up inside. Also, I pretty much laugh at anything, and it’s rather distinctive. Hell, I was being chased around an abandoned mall by people dressed up as zombies and I was laughing my head off.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Hmm, I think I’d have to choose Kurt Cobain, such a big influence on my late teenage years, and a bit of an enigma. Would be good to work out the truth from the fiction about him.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I go out to circuits a few times a week, and do Pilates/Yoga/Tai-Chi on a weekend. Find that the older I get, I need to do something to balance out the drinking and biscuit eating. Most of the time I’m working, reading or writing, play the odd video game, or watch a hockey or football match if possible to wind down.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m not a big TV watcher to be honest, we tend to have Sky Sports News on most of the time at home. We’ve been watching the Rocky movies recently, trying to watch some which we missed years ago, or not seen for a while. I’ve got a stack of zombie films to get through. My all-time favourite series is 24, and my favourite sitcom is Bottom. I’d happily watch both over and over ad infinitum.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
My musical tastes are wide and varied, and play a big part of my life. At the moment, my two favourite bands are Enter Shikari and Angels and Airwaves. They are up there with all-time faves, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Cypress Hill, The Prodigy, PM Dawn, Pop Will Eat Itself and The Shamen. Food wise, it’s all about biscuits. Give me a packet of custard creams and a well-made cup of tea, and you’ll have my attention. My favourite video game of all-time is Grand Theft Auto 3, and whilst we’re on favourite things, my two favourite sports teams, are the Winnipeg Jets in hockey, and Everton in football.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Probably just go back to what I did before, play video games, annoy the wife more. There are plenty of places left I want to visit, things I want to do and see, I’ve got enough to keep me going until my heart stops beating.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
If the casket is a-rockin’, then get the hell out of there! I’m probably one of the undead.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My website has background information on all of my books, plus a shop, bibliography, all that good stuff http://duncanpbradshaw.co.uk/ but better yet, go Like my Facebook page, I post regular updates and general silliness there https://www.facebook.com/duncanpbradshaw/