Short Sharp Interview: Alan Griffiths – BRIT GRIT

Alan Griffiths  has had stories published online at A Twist Of Noir, Pulp Pusher ,Thrillers , Killer N Chillers and Radgepacker Online. He was nominated for a 2010 SPINETINGLER AWARD.

His blog is  BRIT GRIT

PDB) The Krays or The Richardsons?

Alan) Has to be the Krays although I once worked with a bloke who said he was related to the Richardsons.I think he was just trying to put the frighteners on me and was after my luncheon vouchers! Nah, it’s got to be the twins.

PDB) Could you choose three stories as examples of your writing?

Alan) Rat Fink – the first story I ever finished and was happy with. I sent it off to A Twist of Noir with a hope and a prayer and was amazed when Christopher Grant accepted and published it. I owe Chris a huge thank you for his help and encouragement. I also recall a certain PD Brazill leaving a very kind and encouraging comment.

Tom Foolery – the follow up to Rat Fink. I wrote it with Pulp Pusher in mind and was chuffed to bits when Tony Black accepted and published it. 

Monkey Man – this originated from my first attempt at Cormac Brown’s Friday Flash Fiction. It was a fun piece to write. I had more fun extending it and was delighted that Matt Hilton and Col Bury agreed to publish it on Thrillers Killers n Chillers. It’s a personal favourite and I hope to be able to pen a longer more serious piece around the central characters someday.

PDB) Is location an important part of your writing?

Alan)Well all my pieces are set in London (at least they are in my head). I’ve lived in London all my life and it’s what I know. That said I need to push myself more regarding location, period of setting and genre. I sneakily would like to attempt a little Sci Fi after being mightily impressed and inspired by Chad Eagleton’s Six Bullets for John Carter, which is published at Beat to a Pulp.

PDB) Research- essential or a waste of time?

Alan) I think research adds authenticity. For my shorter stuff I do very little research but I use the Internet (Wikipedia etc) when I need to. I think for longer pieces research supports the narrative and makes it real but for me the story, plot and characters are always the priority.

PDB) Which British crime writers float your boat?

Alan) Oh loads, I’m a ferocious reader and that’s what got me into this writing lark. 

Ian Rankin and John Harvey are old favourites. Harvey ’s Charlie Resnick novels are a joy to read and he is a very stylish and accomplished author. Mark Timlin’s hardboiled Nick Sharman novels.

I read many years ago J. J. Connolly’s Layer Cake and was bowled over by it. It was then made into a fine movie that, I think, ranks alongside the likes o f Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. I’ve read that Connolly is working on a sequel and I would love to read that one day. 

I’ve just re-read John Milne’s Jimmy Jenner series of four novels – all are terrific and were written in the 1980’s and 90’s – the last Alive & Kicking is the best and a great example of how a PI story can be written and set, convincingly, in Britain . He really makes a one legged and partially deaf PI come alive!

Of the new generation: Tony Black’s Gus Dury novels are cracking – I’ve read Paying For It and Gutted and eagerly await Loss being published in paperback. Ray Banks is great – I’ve read the first three Cal Innes books and the fourth is on my list.The Charlie Williams Mangel books are top notch and very darkly humorous. Also, Allan Guthrie – Two-Way Split was a great debut and deservedly won the Theakston ‘ s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award.

Recent stuff: The Last Straight Face and the sequel Fat BlackmailBruce Kennedy Jones and Eric Allison; they are very gritty and authentic books. Matt Hilton’s Dead Men’s Dust, which is a terrific ‘can’t put it down’ thriller.  written by

Then there is Danny Bowman (aka Danny Hogan) and all the great stuff he is doing with Pulp Press
I’d better finish there but my Brit crime writer boat is well and truly floated and my bookshelves creaking!

PDB) Have you got a proper job?

Alan) Yes. I’m a bean counter for a large company in London . The job is secure (I hope!) and I’m grateful for it. I enjoy the job but it does not take long for my mind to wander onto the subject of books and writing…

PDB) What ‘ s on the cards for the rest of 2010?
Alan) Continue with the writing. I would like to write longer stories but, blimey its hard work… I’ve just completed a 2,000 word story for a competition and I spent a lot of time on it (I’m not sure if it’s apparent in the finished article though!). I’m very fussy with my stuff and spend an age reviewing and tweaking and reviewing and tweaking – it’s a bit like chipping away at a huge chunk of marble. 

My aim (my dream) is to get a story published in an anthology and to accomplish that I think I need to produce (consistently) some quality longer pieces. Hopefully along the way I’ll continue to get stuff published on Webzines, maybe those that I have not yet cracked. My mantra must be – write, write and write more.I’ll be doing a lot of reading as well. Who knows maybe one day I’ll pen a novella or a novel…

Before I end; thanks to all the Webzine editors. I’ve mentioned AToN, BTAP, PP and TKnC but there are many others, including this cool publication. The stuff these guys do to support us aspiring scribes is tremendous and very much appreciated.

A big shout out to the other Brit Grit aspiring writers – I’ve got my mince-pies on the likes of Col Bury, Lee Hughes and David Barber etc (sorry if I’ve forgotten anybody) – I admire all your work and rate it highly. I think we share the same hopes and dreams and I hope to be able to pick up a book with your name on it in a WH Smith or a Waterstone (or wherever) someday soon and spend some of my hard earned dosh on it. 

Finally, my sincere thanks go to you PDB for all your help and encouragement. Your stuff is not too shabby either and I’m delighted that you will soon be published in hard copy – it’s very well deserved achievement by a very talented writer. I’ll certainly pick up a copy of anything that has your name on it and hand over a few shillings at the till. You’re not a bad bloke really, apart from the flat cap, the Woodbine tucked behind your ear and the emaciated whippet by your side… 

This interview with Cockney Al Griffiths was at  PULP METAL MAGAZINE first