Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Historically Hedonistic Ewan Lawrie

The coach station in Nether Stinkhole was a desperate place.  Dimly lit, rancid smelling, with an air of depression known only to the scriptwriters of a British Soap opera.

I was not normally a user of public transport but had recently killed and eaten my own coach driver, in a fit of toddler like rage when he forgot to load my mid-journey snacks on one of my monthly trips to the city.  If there were no sausage rolls on the journey, then all hell was bound to break loose; it was no ones fault but his own.

On this particular night, I was due to head due north, to visit an uncle of mine, who owned a small country pile close to the Northumbrian coast.  It was a God awful place, if truth be told, but had some monetary value and, as such had been under my watchful eye for some time.  Twice every year (at Christmas and birthday)  I would take the long journey up to see the old bugger; check whether he still drew breath, and ensured that I remained his very favourite nephew. 

In the absence of a driver of my own, the agency seemed very reluctant to send another chauffeur/meal my way, it would seem that, if I were to keep this money making charade a reality, then public transport it must be.

When the carriage arrived I was immediately appalled at the sight of it.  It was a very standard affair, nothing at all like my own which was decorated with ornate carvings of the souls of the dead descending to hell all about it.  I prayed to the dark gods that the seating on board would at least have some level of comfort, my derriere is a sacred place and not used to hard sitting and bumpy disruption.  Giving the driver my bags I boarded and gently placed myself on the roughly woven and poorly stuffed cushion.  This was indeed to be a nightmare of a trip.

"We shall be setting off shortly, sir"  the driver remarked as he closed the door behind me.  "I am just waiting for the other passenger that has booked a ticket."

"Do not give him long!"  I barked.  "I am in a foul enough mood already without being delayed by a simpleton."

The driver laughed.  "I think you will be pleasantly surprised, Lord Holbrook.  The gentleman in question specifically requested to share your journey with you.

I was confused, even more so when my travelling companion arrived.

'Oh no,' I thought. 'It's another writer with their new novel.'

The conversation on our journey, was as follows;

Well, speak up! Who are you and why have you boarded my carriage?

My name is Ewan Lawrie and I try to write. I’ve come searching for you after encountering Memento Mori through the writing site Jottify (Resquiat In Pace) and then becoming excited about a fellow Unbounder’s project, viz. Domini Mortum.

So, a writer, eh?  What's your book called and what's it about?  Be quick man, it's a full moon tonight and I feel the change coming on. No more than 42 words.

Keep your hair on! Oh, wait… no offence.

Gibbous House is a Gothic romp of a historical novel featuring a charming but villainous protagonist, the eponymous Gibbous House, its bizarre collection and even stranger household staff. A mysterious society is pulling strings in the background whilst Professor Jedermann experiments on the fringes of chemistry and biology in the dawn of the scientific age.

What's your earliest writing memory. An essay at school? A note of apology to the owner of a broken greenhouse?

There are two things I remember. An alliterative poem involving tomatoes and toes at about 6 years old and later at about 9, a story involving Berlin, the Brandenburg gate and a spy called Alfred Marks. 

Summarise your outlook on life to me in the form of a haiku.

We are just the sum 
of all the words we have read
and those we will write.

What do you think has been your greatest achievement?  Can you better it? What is the dream?

My greatest achievement is whatever the next one turns out to be. I finished an OU degree in 2007 after leaving the RAF three years earlier. That felt like the most amazing achievement, then I did the OU’s Creative Writing diploma. Next, only 2 months ago, Gibbous House, was published. 

You're sat at a dirty table in a greasy spoon caf√© in east London. You've just ordered a mug of builders tea and a plate full of cholesterol, when someone sits in the seat opposite you.  Your eyebrows raise, and you are both surprised and pleased to finally meet them.  Who are they and how many sugars do they have in their brew?  What do you talk about?

That’s a difficult one. If I’m honest, it wouldn’t be a writer. Opposite me would be sitting Tom Waits and we’d talk about Hopper, cars with fins and bars with neon outside, before finishing our breakfast, going out for a drink and ending up at a bus stop in Camden 24 hours later. 

What are you writing at the moment? Is it flowing or is it a stop start affair?

I have 58,794 words of a sequel to Gibbous House and it is very much a stop-start business. The story details Moffat’s adventures in the Americas some 15 years after the events in Gibbous House.

I note from your novel that you are keen to include as much realism and historical detail as you can.  Do you enjoy the research element or would you prefer to just write?

I find the research as much fun as the writing to tell the truth. I can lose hours doing it, but they are never wasted.

Without fear and suspense, life would be a very dull affair.” Discuss.

Yin and Yang, the Manichean balance of good and evil; we do need our opposites to balance the universe and ourselves. I feel, as a society, we have become too risk averse, and it’s unhealthy. As to a life without fear, I suppose one would hardly feel alive in such an existence. 

I wish to know more.  Where can I find you and your work on t’interweb?

Gibbous House is available from some good book stores and . I’m on Facebook here whilst my marketing alter-ego, Please Allow Me, continues to demonstrate the least  marketing skill possible here . My occasionally diverting blog is hereGibbous House’s Unbound page is here, you can laugh at my promotional video. 

I have a vast amount of writing available on, without whom Gibbous House would never have existed.

I had heard enough.  The book sounded most excellent, and I must admit that since our meeting I have purchased and read the aforementioned Gibbous House, and very pleased I was too.  It is an astounding read.  Something which sticks in your mind like a large nail, immovable and not easily removed.  But to be quite honest, I would prefer not to have such a thing removed from my thoughts, it is something which will stay with me for a very long time indeed.  The main protagonist, Moffat, is a man very much from the same mould as myself in many ways, and I would highly recommend that you get your filthy mitts on a copy yourself to see why I love it so.

As the carriage pulled into Upper Shitwick, my travelling companion departed with promises to visit me at the Castle sometime, for High Tea and Low booze.  Perhaps this adventure on public transport had not been such a disaster after all.

If you have enjoyed this blog interview, and the others which I am publishing on a weekly basis, then please visit my own Unbound page where my own book Domini Mortum, A Victorian Mystery novel is in much need of love, attention, and most importantly pledges.

If you wish to be a guest yourself at the 'Castle of Despair' for your very own author interview, then please email me at whereupon I will devise a visit of the most exquisite torture especially for you.

Thank you.


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