Short, Sharp Interview: Michael Young

PDB: Can you pitch your latest publication/ project in 25 words or less? 
 
I’ve seen this bit and lots of people just cheat: 
 
The Sky Might Fall is a short novel out now for Kindle. A hardboiled PI playing the Englishman abroad tries to save an almost innocent schoolgirl embroiled in an international conspiracy. In Hong Kong, mostly. With guns and girls and car chases and stuff. A noir-flavoured thriller, really.  
 
49 words, never mind. 

PDB: Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently? 
 
I’m quite behind on TV. The only shows I’ve watched regularly over the last year or so are Walking Dead and Dr Who. Sopranos will be started soon enough (told you I was behind), but I’m wary of how boxsets can take over your life. Also, I really want to check out that Atlantic City thing, Boardwalk Empire? And that old David Lynch one with rabbits, can’t remember what it’s called. Looks pretty crazy, although I’m not sure it was ever actually broadcast on TV.
 
In movies, I’m getting pretty tired of wading through Hollywood’s shit to find the gems. Most recently, Drive was pretty good; I thought it caught the mood and style of the book really well. Tarantino, Lynch and Cronenberg are about the only modern directors who regularly float my boat, and they don’t make anywhere near enough movies. 
 
Out east I like Park Chan-Wook in Korea and Takeshi Miike in Japan. Okay, pretty obvious, but they make classy intelligent films, and hunting down Miike’s back catalogue always throws up some interesting stuff. Those two both feature in Three…Extremes (2004), a pretty cool and bizarre little horror triple bill I saw last week, also featuring Fruit Chan from Hong Kong, who I’ve never heard of but has a really nice name and tells a fantastically sordid story in his segment.
 
My reading has always been random, sporadic, and varied. Right now I’m liking Josh Stallings, Ray Banks, Allan Guthrie, Christa Faust, Anthony Neil Smith. The new pulp masters, you might say. There’s a lot of young talent getting a chance through the likes of Untreed Reads, or self-published, and I’m a huge fan of New Pulp Press, and Hard Case, of course, especially now they’re on Kindle. Also, I am thrilled by the resurgence of the novella in ebooks. 
 
But I try to keep it varied. There’s always some Bukowski, JG Ballard, Bulgakov or Hemingway that I haven’t read, as well as others. And one of my favourite hobbies is to drink prodigious amounts of cheap rum and read aloud from Finnegan’s Wake until I pass out. Aaah, good times.

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader? 
 
Yes, but ebooks rushed out on the net can make it difficult. It’s not so much the writing as the editing. “Ooh,” I’ll think, “Someone should’ve caught that typo.” 

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television? 
 
I’d love to see my own books turned into movies, but I’d rather have some pretentious and ultimately useless role in the project. Stick me in a Hollywood apartment for 6 months, call me a script editor and I’ll complain about what the writers are doing to my work until the movie’s finished. Then I’ll bitch about it at the premiere, while downing all the free booze.

PDB: How much research goes into each book? 
 
Details, mostly. I like to have my facts straight about things that exist in the real word. With guns and cars, for example, I like to know all about them so I don’t make some basic error. Even if I don’t specify the model in the book, I want to know that the car I’m thinking of really is available in metallic British racing-green, and what capacity magazines are available for the CZ-75. So most of my research is writer’s block by another name. At some point I have to look in the mirror and shout ‘Get on with it!’ like an extra from The Holy Grail.

Research is most important for science bits, historical fiction or countries you’ve never been to, and I don’t write any of that. Anything else you can make up.
 

PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer? 

 
I’m here aren’t I? Go, people, go buy my book. It’s only 99 cents on Kindle for goodness sake. Buy another one for your brother-in-law’s birthday, he’ll love it!
 
No, I’m not on twitter or facebook. But I do have a bit of a blog.


PDB: What’s on the cards in 2012? 
 

 
I have a sales target in mind before I write a sequel, but there could be one out by the end of summer. It was so fun to write (even though it was heartbreaking) that I know I could produce another pretty damn quick. I’ve kinda been thinking in terms of a trilogy, but with nothing quite concrete yet. Also, producing the cover was really fun. I’d like to put out another self-published book just to do that again. A few other interesting projects are underway, so we’ll see what happens to them.
 
Meanwhile, The Sky Might Fall is out now for Kindle. 99 cents, 77 pennies or 0,87 euros. And thanks very much for having me!
 
 
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