Short, Sharp Interview: John B Bliss

PDB: What’s going on now?

Loads! Really excited about The Murder Boys reaching new audiences so looking forward to promoting that. And I’m murderboys amazonwriting a sequel to TMB too. It’s got a working title of Essential Oil and picks up the hero of TMB, Richard Turner, five years later; he’s a motorcycle courier getting involved left wing radicalism in 1980s London. It kind of asks the question: how much of the wrong thing can you do for the right reasons?

PDB: How did you research this book?

The idea for The Murder Boys came out of personal experience – although I certainly never got involved in a killing and went on the run like Richard and his best mate Ali do. But a lot of the characters and situations are kind of composites of people and situations I got involved in growing up in Oxford in the late 70s and early 80s. I had to do a bit of research for the climax of the novel – Richard ends up fighting his nemesis and the whole thing takes place while an episode of Top of the Pops is playing in the background. The songs and order are completely accurate. I even set it up as a playlist to write to!

PDB: Which of your publications are you most proud of?

Well it’s got to be The Murder Boys: it feels great to get a first novel under your belt. But I’ve got high hopes for the next book too. I always though writing a book was like swimming across a lake – you don’t think you can do it and when you’re out there you don’t know if you can make it; but once you have you kind of understand the process and where you are in it. Which basically means: keep writing!

PDB: What’s your favourite film/ book/ song/ television programme?

Oh tricky. Because it depends on my mood and stuff but here goes … Polanski’s Chinatown; Irving Welsh, Trainspotting; Ian Dury and the Blockheads – hit me with your rhythm stick; The Sopranos. How’s that?

PDB: Is location important to your writing?

Of course. Time and place is like another character and permits the characters to behave as they do.

PDB: How often do you check your Amazon rankings?

Got a feeling that’s going to be a big part of my future…

PDB: What’s next? Well I want to get Essential Oil finished by the end of the summer and start thinking about book three too. I’ve got a couple of great ideas…

Bio: John B Bliss grew up in Oxford in the 70s and 80s. He was drawn to unusual characters and counter culture. The perverse thing about the evil of Thatcherism, he says, wBlissas that it made people rebel; there was actually loads of creativity that came out of the anger and ennui generated by the marginalisation of society. John worked in a few dead end jobs before studying media at the University of Sussex; he has worked extensively in television and scripted a number of short films and full length screenplays. Turning to prose fiction has brought some awards for his short stories and now the publication of his first novel, The Murder Boys. John lives in Brighton and is married with two children.