The gloom of the day was melting into an even dimmer evening, and my mood suited the tone of the scene most perfectly. I had spent the whole day trying (and failing miserably) to complete another chapter of my autobiography 'What a Bleeding miserable bastard I am'.
It is a labour of love for me; the love comes from knowing just how lovely I am, but the labour has been trying to convey what a wonderful individual I have become without sounding too... smug. You see, I am not a well admired individual. The people of the nearby village of Nether Stinkhole, upon which the barren and grim towers of my castle look down upon, find me to be a figure of fear. I'm not sure how they came to this conclusion; of course I demand that they send me a sacrifice each full moon or face the wrath of my hounds, and yes I have ran amok through the town in the dead of night before wearing only a Mankini and armed with a chainsaw, but come on, what kind of benevolent, fatherly dictator would I be if I didnt show them the wrongs of the world, and what might happen to them if they didn't have me to protect them.
I had spent the day bent like a wizened crone over my laptop, uttering loud and unmentionable curses every few minutes and occasionally tapping away at the keyboard (mostly deleting the utter drivel that had spewed forth from my mind).
Every half an hour or so I would ring the bell to my cook, Dahmer, and demand sweet and savoury delicacies, the like of which only he could produce. I am a compulsive eater you see, my mind is fed mainly on snacks and barely little else. I am a martyr to my Hangry outbursts (which normally involve chasing Manson, my butler around the house with a crossbow screaming 'Doritos, Doritos! Where the fucking hell are my Doritos, you thieving bastard!")
The words were not coming and my stomach was beginning to stir a rage inside of me. How could I write my most brilliant prose without the aid of savoury corn snacks, dubiously collected meat based products, and Haribos (to cleanse the palate) .
I was about to call on Dahmer's culinary skills once more, when the doorbell rang. My fury rose, it was Manson's night off and Dahmer would be too busy slaving over a hot body to answer it himself. I would have to answer the bloody thing - really, what was the point of having slaves? It better be somebody interesting or they'd be on their way to becoming the main course.
I slammed shut my laptop and stormed downstairs to the door. As I opened it I was met by the sight of a young lady, bag in hand.
I decided that I would hold off on adding her to the menu, and spoke to her. I invited her to come into the drawing room and our conversation was as follows:
Hello, what brings you to Holbrook Towers this foggy evening?
I am returning the set of avocado bowls I borrowed from you last month. They didn’t work.
I have a hummingbird mind and cannot settle for too long on ideas and thoughts. Can you tell me about your book in the briefest of terms?
In the abstract, it is about the idea that we could chose to care about the deaths of strangers, rather than preserving our compassion for those who are nearest or most like us.
In the plot, Anna scans the news for reports in which the victims of war or terror are presented only as a number. Dismayed by the indifference in the news items to people who die in distant lands, she writes portraits, one for each of the victims, in an attempt to acknowledge the real impact of their deaths. Her own life is held in check, restrained by grief, caused by the death of her daughter at the hands of a violent boyfriend. It is only in this act of love for strangers, that she allows herself an emotional connection to the world.
I bestow upon you the gift of Doolittle. What is the first animal you would seek out for a conversation and what would you ask them?
I would seek out wolves. I would ask them if I could join them, and what it felt like to run in a pack with endless, vital energy, what it felt like to run alone through a dark forest with no fear.
I love a good sculpture, wax figures especially. Unfortunately there are a lot of rubbish ones about look at these horrors;
I think we should change the state of affairs immediately.
Your adoring public wish to erect a statue of you in your home town. What would be your pose and what would inscription on the bottom of the statue be?
I would be standing on top of Tatlin’s tower, hands on my hips, smiling. The inscription would read ‘Come in, the water’s lovely.’
“All life is art.” Discuss.
All life is absurd, so I guess it might as well be.
Novel writing is a full time job, except you don't often get paid for it. What part of writing a novel do you prefer the most? What lessons did writing a novel teach you?
There are little pebbles of words that drop into place, smooth and round. They fit exactly what you are trying to express. About five or ten words bound together. It doesn’t happen often but is incredibly satisfying and it reaches into something that is deeper than satisfaction. A feeling of connection to the human condition.
Writing a novel taught me that I have patience after all. It also taught me, because I had so little experience of it, that having patience can be much more of a difficult and dreary slog than I had EVER imagined or feared.
Name one skill, talent or gift that you would like to have and how would you use it to create happiness and inner wellbeing?
I would like to have the gift of instant switching off. I would use it to take naps - that would be bliss.
I love a good bit of useless information. I store it in my mind, pushing out the useful stuff like; people's names, birthdays, family members. Tell me something absolutely pointless that I can reel out to score a point at the next pub quiz?
There was a time before the internet (I know, right? But wait, that’s not even my interesting fact) when the only way to find things out was to go to museums and such. On one trip to the Natural History Museum I saw a creature called a pink fairy armadillo. A few years later, it seemed so unlikely that I had to go back and check it actually existed. Now there is wikipedia, and I can tell you that the pink fairy armadillo is the smallest species of armadillo. It is also one of few mammals that does not have external ears visible.
I always wanted to be a zoo keeper when I was younger, either that or a billionaire philanthropist. What did you aspire to be as a child, and do you still harbour a yearning to be an astronaut, brain surgeon or serial killer?
I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until I was one. It started with writing what I thought was an art project. Now I can’t believe it wasn’t always my dream.
I wanted to be an artist since I wanted to be anything. For a while I wanted to be a medical illustrator. I do make use of that both in visual art and writing. The book I am writing now has an isolated man who treats old medical diagrams as though they are maps.
Where can I find you on the interweb to find out more about you? Do you blog? Tweet? Have your own website? Where can I support your wonderful writing?
Thank you for the questions, they were fun and difficult and thought-provoking. Later today, I will start a subscription service and begin agitating in my home town to generate some enthusiasm for the sculpture, start identifying a prime location where it can be seen from many different angles.
My website and blog are here: https://lrallison.net
She was indeed an engaging individual, and all thoughts of sending her to the kitchen, and the frankly iffy mercies of my head chef, had left me. I took the avocado bowls (making a mental note to flog Manson for handing out kitchenware to the natives again) and let her go on her way.
Once she had gone I visited her Unbound page and made a pledge of support for her beautifully written novel. I very much look forward to reading it and seeing my name appear as a supporter inside (to be honest it is currently the only way that I will be seeing my name within the pages of a book any time soon).
Please head over to her page yourself, you would be a fool not to.
If you have enjoyed reading this blog interview, please feel free to explore my interviews with other Unbound authors.
If you yourself would like to pay a visit to The Castle of Despair for your very own author interview then please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
I would also be incredibly grateful if you would consider giving my own attempt at literary glory a look. Pop over to my Unbound page www.unbound.co.uk/books/domini-mortum