Short, Sharp Interview: Gareth Spark.

marwick's reckoningPDB: Can you pitch Marwick’s Reckoning in 25 words or less?

A British gangster in Spain contends with Romanian mobsters, an ex-lover and his former employers, as he searches for the truth behind a friend’s murder.

PDB: Which music, books, films or television shows do you wish you had written?

I’ve been reading a lot of Harry Crews lately; fantastic writer.  I admire the way he seems to absolutely be sure of himself and his place in the world. We don’t seem to have that so much, this generation; identity seems fractured by the greater complexity of this world we have. I’d like that certainty, and to be able to write like that. I’ve also been re-watching Sky TV’s FORTITUDE. The writing and characters and the overarching mystery are so well drawn and profound, and the setting so instantly compelling that it makes me seethe with envy. Wish I’d written that.

PDB: Which books do you think would make great films or TV series?

I’d like to see Brian Panowich’s BULL MOUNTAIN make some kind of appearance on TV, Sam Hawken’s Camaro books also would make for a compelling TV serial. I’ve just read Benjamin Myers BEASTINGS, and that would make for a cracking film.  Justin Hill’s SHIELDWALL too; that would be fantastic given a HBO sized budget.

PDB: Who are the great British writers?

I’d have to go with Graham Greene, for his vision and technique. Arthur Machen, one of the greatest. M.R. James, for his powerful storytelling and the way he evoked the dark side of the British countryside. Algernon Blackwood. Malcolm Lowry for UNDER THE VOLCANO. Alan Moore, whose JERUSALEM I’m waiting for with feverish glee. Writing today? Off the top of my head, Ramsey Campbell, Mark Morris, Benjamin Myers, China Mieville, Ian Rankin, Richard Godwin and about a thousand others I could name had I the time.

PDB: Your writing is very visual. Which childhood images have you retained?

I grew up in a very beautiful part of the world, and that beauty can be dramatic; winter storms, the sea like a dirty mirror, moorland black beneath clouds the colour of old coins, murky forests that hide ruined castles (that last one’s legitimate too, not just my waxing poetic, google Old Mulgrave castle). That all has seeped into my writing, sure, but being a complicated sort of person the things that affect me more are along the lines of graffiti stained concrete, rusted abandoned cars, broken wire fences and barbed wire filled with torn plastic fluttering like prayer flags. Dust and industrial spaces at the edge of town. That’s what I remember. Those liminal spaces and the summer burning over asphalt roads…Orion’s belt above a play park with broken swings and a twilight so deep and palpable it washes over you like a river…an abandoned railway bridge that was always pale and sepulchral against air the colour of faded till receipts. The blue smoke from my Gran’s cigarettes drifting upwards to a yellow ceiling in light falling through a lace curtain. The river Esk, murky as Builder’s tea after a week of rain, lapping at greasy fishing trawlers. It all stays with you, makes you the writer you are destined to be, the only one you could have ever been.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

I’ve been working on a novel for the past *coughs* so many years. Too many years really, when I see how productive other writers can be. There’s a lot of hustling out there, I just want to get it right, make sure the book’s saying what I want it to, while creating something dramatically interesting; making sure the characters aren’t just stock types or ciphers, but actual people as best as I’m able. It’s also set during the 1940’s, which has called for a bit o’ research. I like to get things as accurate as I can, historically. Hope it’ll be worth the work.

In the meantime, I have some short stories coming out soon on a couple of my favourite short fiction websites, some poems over at In Between Hangovers and I have a novella outlined for when I have the time to write it. Having a day job and 7 children commands a lot of one’s time and I’m grateful to whatever munificent deity allows me the time to write.

PDB: Anything else?

Support the small presses, that’s where the quality is, and leave reviews wherever you can for writer’s whose work you appreciate.

Bio: Gareth Spark is from Whitby, Yorkshire. His short fiction and poetry has appeared in Shotgun Honey, Line Zero, Out of the Gutter, Near to the knuckle and Deepwater Literary Review, among others. He is the author of Snake Farm and Marwick’s Reckoning.