PDB: What’s the SP on Urban Decay?
Urban Decay is a book I’m very proud of. It’s a bunch of short stories, that are about more than just crime, it’s about people. It is largely a crime collection, but I hope people take more from it than that, at the heart of every story are characters that I want people to see and understand, even if they don’t agree with what they do. It’s been out a few months now and I’ve been thrilled with the reaction I’ve been getting to it, particularly from other writers, it’s been picking up some great reviews already.
PDB: You’ve just joined the Thirteeners. What’s the story there?
Seeing the cover for When the Music’s Over was a surreal moment for me. This is a book that I started writing around five years ago. It started life as a 75K word novel but I didn’t think it was working. I loved the story but it felt bloated and overwritten. Last year I started following Number 13 Press on Twitter and I picked up a few of their books. I was so impressed with what I was reading I had to try and write something for them. I remembered When the Music’s Over and thought maybe it was something I could turn into a novella. I spent a month or two re-reading it all and sharpening it up and then sent it off to Number 13… And today it’s available to buy.
As far as the story, it’s old fashion noir set in the modern day. I’ve taken a character who’s best days were years ago and forced him back into the criminal world he once stepped through with ease to investigate the murder of his former employer’s son.
PDB: How much research was involved in the books?
When the Music’s Over took a fair amount of research, just to get the setting right, in terms of location and time. There’s a section of the book that goes back to the early 90’s and I really enjoyed retreading that time, particularly the music. I was a huge fan of the grunge scene as a kid and as I wrote that part of the book I spent a lot of time listening to Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains etc…
PDB: Which crime writers do you enjoy?
I enjoy many more than I have time to read these days. George Pelecanos will always top my list and I’m a huge fan of Block, Lehane, Leonard, Connelly, Billingham. I’ve also discovered a number of talented indie writers since I started writing myself, Darren Sant, Chris Leek, Gareth Spark, Tom Pitts, B.R. Stateham, Grant Nichol and many more have all impressed me massively with their work… And, you’re not so bad yourself Paul!
PDB: Do you read outside the genre?
Yes, I read all sorts of books. I read a lot of biographies, mostly about musicians. I really don’t care what the genre of book is, I just want to read a really good book. I do tend to read mostly crime, but I’ve read everything from Harry Potter to Harry Bosch, from Charles Dickens to Danny King.
PDB: What else is on the cards?
I’ve got another novella I’m writing at the moment, it’s sort of finished but I’m just going over it and making sure it’s in good shape before I decide what to do with it. I also have a few short stories written since Urban Decay so I reckon there will be a third short story collection at some point. I’ve written a 10K short that I’m not sure how to publish, what I’d really like to do is find a publisher that would take it on with a bunch of my friends also writing 10K shorts, a sort of ‘Aidan Thorn introduces…’ collection to showcase some of the great writers that I’ve got to know. Finally, I’ve started a novel, and when I say I’ve started I mean it’s about 1,000 words at the moment so it’ll be a while before that one rears its head