Frank Duffy Interviews Paul D. Brazill

hungry cellWho the hell are you?

PDB: Paul D, Brazill. I was born in England and live in Poland. I’m the author of Cold London Blues, The Last Laugh, Guns Of Brixton, and Kill Me Quick! And some other stuff. I have short stories all over the shop, including in 3 editions of The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime. I’ve had stories translated into Italian, German, Polish, Slovene and Finnish. I’m working on two novellas. One is set in England and Poland and the other is set in New York, London and Madrid. My blog is

1. In the modern age of the jobbing writer, is there such a thing as an average writing day for you?

PDB: No. I read and write when I have time and when I feel like it. Like most other things in life. Consistency is the city hobgoblin of little minds. Or is that Jim Kerr?

2. How often do you feel a seething envy whenever one of your writer friends posts about their latest publishing success?

PDB: Never.

3. Should prolific writers be tied to a chair for a few days, before being allowed to post constant updates on social media sites relating to their literary prowess?

PDB: No. Unless you’ve got an agent and a big publisher behind you ‘Shill What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole Of The Law.’

4. How long does it take you to complete a short story from start to finish in the age of the internet and Facebook?

PDB: I’ve never timed it. I suppose about 24 hours – off and on- and then piddling about for an hour or so at a time while I’m watching Dog- Bounty Hunter..

5. Can controlled substance abuse really aid the writing process?

PDB: It seems unlikely. I don’t even drink when I read let alone when I’m writing. Horses for courses, I suppose but not for me.

6. What are your thoughts on setting word targets each day? Are they constructive, or is it something only an insufferable pedant would claim essential?

PDB: If you’re a professional writer, it seems eminently sensible but not for a dilettante like what I am. I suppose it should be an achievable word count, if you are going to do it and it probably varies from person to person.

7. Would you like to be a reviled and unpopular obscurantist if it meant having worldwide success in the literary world, or are you a true artist who would never dilute the substance of their art?

PDB: I’m lucky in that I have a job so I can write what entertains me. And that entertains other people, too. Which is nice. If I was offered a ton of dosh to write something? Of course but I’m far too slap dash to end up with an offer like that, I think. I see myself as an entertainer rather than an artist: More Lionel than Roland, More Des than Flannery.

8. More importantly, how often are you involved in an online argument among other genre writers bemoaning the state of the writing community?

PDB: Never. I pay almost no attention to ‘the stuff’ this days.

9. What are the most common gripes that authors make on social media sites which drive you bonkers?

PDB: Nothing. See above.

10. How long does it take for you to decide if the story is a work of genius or utter drivel?

PDB: I immediately know that it’s quite good and that opinion rarely changes.

11. Are beta readers a good idea, or are they the equivalent of your Uncle Bertie’s friends from the local library reading group?

PDB: It seems sensible. I hardly ever do it, mind you. It’s great working with good, honest editors, which I have done and do with Caffeine Nights, All Due Respect and Number Thirteen Press.

12. What is the most difficult form of fiction to write, a short story, a novella or a novel?

PDB: I still haven’t written a novel so it must be that.

13. Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym to kick-start a lengthy career as a writer of erotica?

PDB: If I could do it easily, I’d have no problem with writing erotica. I wouldn’t use a pseudonym though.

14. What has been the longest writing project you’ve embarked on? Was there any point at which you thought of abandoning the story so you could get absolutely sh**faced?

PDB: Guns Of Brixton and Cold London Blues took the longest, I imagine, since they are the longest. It’s finished when it’s finished for me. I don’t get stressed about not finishing things. Story of my life …

15. Have you ever lain awake at night and wondered why you write? Have you ever considered if other people lie awake at night also wondering why you write?

PDB: No.

16. Do you conduct research for everything which you write? Have you ever broken into a top secret facility to add authenticity in the name of research, or is Wikipedia your ultimate guide to authenticity?

PDB: I spy for the FBI. And do as little research as I can get away with. The world is a mouse click away. Or I can make something up. I’m not a journalist.

17. What piece of research might show up on your internet history and give your family cause to worry about your stability?

PDB: Carnaby Street tailors in the 1970s.

18. What life experience has been the most advantageous in terms of writing a story?

PDB: Meeting interesting /funny/ mental people. Ripping off their lives and anecdotes.

19. Should authors give advice to aspiring authors , or should they leave them to do things their own way? What was the worst bit of advice you ever heard ?

PDB: Never give or listen to advice. It usually goes tits up.

20. What are some of the most popular misconceptions about writers from the perspective of the public?

PDB: That writers are rich or even make money from writing.

21. What was the worst rejection from a publisher you’ve ever had?

PDB: Never had one, I’m shocked to say. I’ve had a 2 or 3 short stories turned down but the rejections were usually very polite and I just rewrote the yarns.

22. Have you ever thought of launching a secret hate campaign against a publisher who simply misjudged your literary genius?

PDB: No.

24. And finally, which would you choose, a commercial contract with stipulations about what you’re allowed to write, or a career in the Small Press with no restrictions on what you are allowed to write?

PDB: I’m happy doing what I do. I’m an indie/ cottage industry guy. Never say never, though. If I ever write something that might end up in ASDA or Walmart then maybe I’d give it a shot.

This interview first took place on Frank Duffy‘s Facebook page.

Published by PaulDBrazill

A writer and teacher, from England and living in Poland. 'The Poundland Poe.' Books include The Last Laugh, Guns Of Brixton, and Gumshoe Blues. This/ That/ & The Other.

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