Scarlet – Wrong Way [Official Music Video] Video Made by Osomly in Letnica / Zielona Gora – Poland Director / Script / Screen Writer – Frank Duffy Production manager / Costumes / Makeup – Aga Ejsmont Photography and editing – Michał Koźba Starring – Aga Ejsmont / Oliwia Chilińska Storyboarding – Krystian Seredyński Marionette made by – Artur Endler
Who 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 pauldbrazill.com
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?
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?
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?
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.
PDB: What’s going on now?
I’m just finishing up the final edits on a novel for a literary and film agency, and I’m halfway through a fourth short story collection, Leaving The Room.
PDB: How did you research your latest book?
Hungry Celluloid is a collection of short stories, and apart from a bit of fine tuning in regards to background details, the rest was pure imagination. Stories like She Is Waiting and Ambiguous wrote themselves given my background in teaching abroad, so it was relatively plain sailing.
PDB: Which of your publications has been the most successful?
I would have to say that they’ve all sold similar amounts, though I’m hoping Hungry Celluloid will do good business.
PDB: What’s your favourite film/ book/ song/ television programme of 2015?
The latest Mad Max, which was unbeatable in terms of cinematic spectacle, has been a definite highlight so far, but the three films which have had a huge impact on me this year have been It Follows, Listen Up Philip and The Spectacular Now.
As for music, I’d say Husbands by Savages has been my favourite track so far.
TV, there has been a lot I’ve just caught up with, but True Detective the second series, Happy Valley and Wolf Hall were the shows which did it for me.
PDB: Is location important to your writing?
Always. Even when I’m writing a story set in a fictional landscape I need to make it believable, so usually it possesses its own geography, which I tend to achieve by blending elements of places I know.
PDB: What’s next?
After I’ve managed to get both the novel and short story collection out of the way, I have to decide between two novels. I’ve finished researching them, but I’m not sure which I want to commit to as yet.
The first, Immersion, is a science fiction thriller set in Warsaw in 2025. It’s a combination of a police procedural and murder mystery, whose backdrop involves both AI research and online dating sites.
The second, as yet untitled, is a non-generic novel set in Liverpool at the start of the 1990s, and is about a a group of friends travelling to a Battle of the Bands competition in Bradford.
I’m over there along with Simon Kurt Unsworth, Ian Ayris, Stephen Bacon, Lisa Tuttle, Sam Millar, Mike Evers, Christopher Fowler, Dennis Etchison, Howard Lynskey, K A Laity, and many more.
So pop over and listen to the MUSIC OF THE NIGHT
True Brit Grit is out now!
“The BRIT GRIT mob is coming to kick down your door with hobnailed boots. Kitchen-sink noir; petty-thief-louts; lives of quiet desperation; sharp, blood-stained slices of life; booze-sodden brawls from the bottom of the barrel and comedy that’s as black as it’s bitter—this is BRIT GRIT!”
45 British writers, 45 short stories. All coming together to produce an anthology, benefiting two charities…
Children 1st – http://www.children1st.org.uk/
Francesca Bimpson Foundation – http://www.francescabimpsonfoundation.org
The line up…
Introduction by Maxim Jakubowski
1. Two Fingers of Noir by Alan Griffiths 2. Eat Shit by Tony Black 3. Baby Face And Irn Bru by Allan Guthrie 4. Pretty Hot T’Ing by Adrian Magson 5. Black Betty by Sheila Quigley 6. Payback: With Interest by Matt Hilton 7. Looking for Jamie by Iain Rowan 8. Stones in Me Pocket by Nigel Bird 9. The Catch and The Fall by Luke Block 10. A Long Time Coming by Paul Grzegorzek 11. Loose Ends by Gary Dobbs 12. Graduation Day by Malcolm Holt 13. Cry Baby by Victoria Watson 14. The Savage World of Men by Richard Godwin 15. Hard Boiled Poem (a mystery) by Alan Savage 16. A Dirty Job by Sue Harding 17. Stay Free by Nick Quantrill 18. The Best Days of My Life by Steven Porter 19. Hanging Stanley by Jason Michel 20. The Wrong Place to Die by Nick Triplow 21. Coffin Boy by Nick Mott 22. Meat Is Murder by Colin Graham 23. Adult Education by Graham Smith 24. A Public Service by Col Bury 25. Hero by Pete Sortwell 26. Snapshots by Paul D Brazill 27. Smoked by Luca Veste 28. Geraldine by Andy Rivers 29. A Minimum of Reason by Nick Boldock 30. Dope on a Rope by Darren Sant 31. A Speck of Dust by David Barber 32. Hard Times by Ian Ayris 33. Never Ending by McDroll 34. Imagining by Ben Cheetham 35. Escalator by Jim Hilton 36. Faces by Frank Duffy 37. A Day In The Death Of Stafford Plank by Stuart Ayris 38. The Plebitarian by Danny Hogan 39. King Edward by Gerard Brennan 40. This Is Glasgow by Steven Miscandlon 41. Brit Grit by Charlie Wade 42. Five Bags Of Billy by Charlie Williams 43. It Could Be You by Julie Morrigan 44. No Shortcuts by Howard Linskey 45. The Great Pretender by Ray Banks
You can get it as an ebook from Amazon.
Or a paperback from Lulu.
Laughing At The Death Grin!
A short fiction anthology from PULP METAL MAGAZINE.
Edited by JASON MICHEL with stories from
He had said he didn’t wanted to commit himself to a collection early on, but he was pretty happy with what he read, and said let’s do it. To be honest, I was very surprised. I wasn’t sure if what I had written was going to be classified as horror anymore, since everybody kept trying to stick a ‘speculative fiction’ tag on my work.
But Tom was great, and has been very supportive. I think I’m very lucky to be working with him and Billie.
Please give us a little background on yourself and your writing career.
Frank: I was born in Liverpool in 1971, but grew up in large provincial village just down the road. I attended a Catholic all-boys school, which was still in those days floundering under the misapprehension that caning and general acts of arbitrary violence against their pupils was an acceptable norm of the education system. Naturally, it has since made its way into my work.
As for my writing career I’ve been writing ‘seriously’ for five years now. When I say seriously, I mean that I started to submit my work. I’ve written for as long as I can remember, which is to say since I was eight years old. I’ve placed stories on both sides of the Atlantic, and I seem to hover between what the industry calls speculative fiction (when they don’t want to say horror), and outright bona-fide horror.
‘She blinked her eyes rapidly, batting the gentle tide of white which was slowly submerging her and made another decision. It would hurt, but she had no choice but to act. Nicky counted…one…two…three…, and with a cry that escaped without her knowing it, she was sitting upright. Her head did not spin or roll, but instead obstinately refused the gravity of her concussion. She dug her hands into the snow that bordered her like the chalk outline of a corpse in a murder scene.‘ (‘For Me’ by Frank Duffy)
Frank: Actually, the first thing that made want to aspire to be an author, wasn’t a book, but a teacher I had in junior school. Her name was Mrs. Cardwell, and she used read to us (‘us’ being a relative term… children from my year aged 7, and the ‘bigger’ pupils who were 8 or 9) from a book of traditional ghost stories every Monday morning, straight after school assembly. Of course this was a children’s book, but the effect was nonetheless quite staggering. I remember it was raining outside, and all the children, about forty of us in total, sat around her while she read to us. It was quite exciting as you can imagine for a child of seven.
At the end of this she read Walter De La Mare’s poem, ‘The Listener’ to us, and asked the older kids to go home and write a story on what they felt the poem was about. Us younger kids weren’t asked to do this, but nevertheless I went home and wrote my own version of events anyway.
The first book which had an impact on me was most probably Ramsey Campbell’s collection ‘Demons By Daylight’. I remember being too young to appreciate what was going on when I read the stories, but I knew that there was something special happening.
The first novel that had a similar influence on me would have to be Stephen King’s ‘Christine’. I’ve gone back many times to ‘Demons By Daylight’ because there’s so much to savor, and as an aspiring writer, there’s an awful lot to learn from reading it time and again, but I haven’t read ‘Christine’ in over 25 years.
‘Father Jose got out of the van. He walked along the pavement and up to the back of the vehicle. Inside something thumped the walls. The metal rippled from the repetition of the commotion, concentric circles of violence and emotion that drew the attention of nobody but a young boy in a sleeping bag. The priest opened the back of the van, stood aside as the door slid upwards, rolling and twisting on its motored chain. He pulled himself into the back and crouched down by Liu’s eldest daughter. He had shackled her to the floor, her arms and legs encased in heavy bracelets chained to iron loops set into the floor. He produced the fourth key and held it front of the face of the creature.”It’s time,” he said.’ (‘The Last Supper’ by Frank Duffy)
Frank: Obviously like a lot of other aspiring writers in horror, Ramsey Campbell is without doubt somebody I have admired for a long time. But I tend to find that the writers I admire are usually outside of horror, such as Penelope Fitzgerald, Michael Chabon, and Truman Capote.
Of course there are many writers in horror whom I do admire, and whose work I love, but they are too numerous to mention here.
What do you consider to be the major themes in your writing?
Frank: If you’d asked me that several years ago I might not have been able to answer. It took other people to point out what was staring me in the face, namely that a lot of my stories deal with people who feel out of place, not lost in the physical sense, but somewhere in a mental landscape of their own design.
‘Simmons lay half on the bed, his back arched, the woman with the broken nose embracing him, pulling him towards her with one hand. Her other hand was in his partner’s mouth, up to the wrist, bulging in the depths of his throat; a face Harrison had trouble recognizing swung towards him, its eyes pleading. The woman grasped Simmons tighter as she forced the hand further, and slowly moved her head in Harrison’s direction. “He needs more than me,” she said. His partner flailed a useless hand at the naked back of the woman. “Want a try?” she asked.’
(‘The Signal Block’ by Frank Duffy)
What do you feel is the most important and fully-realized story you’ve written?
Frank: It changes week to week. But for now I’d have to go with, ‘And When The Lights Came On’. This story encapsulates what I want to do stylistically, but more importantly, I think it shows me finally embracing the story, the idea, running with it in as many directions as possible, letting the beast out of the bag.
Frank: That’s such a difficult question to answer because I’m always discovering something new every year. The list is fortunately endless. But two examples of the kind of work I have recently been thinking about would be Paul Auster’s ‘The Music of Chance’, which showed me the many wonderful ways in which direction and narrative can be used to complete a truly personal perspective, while Ramsey Campbell’s ‘Midnight Sun’has been instrumental in showing me the awe of traditionalism in the supernatural can be reworked into a modern setting to create something at once beautiful and horrifying.
I would be a liar if I said I didn’t aspire to write like these writers, but of all the writers whose work technically impresses me, that would have to be Michael Chabon. I want to write like Frank Duffy, but I wouldn’t mind having a little bit of what he’s had.
Frank: Enormously. Poland is much like England in that its history is reflected in everything you look at. Whether it’s a derelict piece of communist architecture, a brand spanking new residential block, or Chopin’s former residence, the physical landscape generates the kind of feeling I get from being anywhere in England.
Which is surprising given that Polish people in general are not at all superstitious, and have no time for horror. Given their history that isn’t surprising.
‘The stark brilliance of the underground had begun to show him things he’d rather have not thought about; the stamp of indefinite weariness on so many faces had shocked him; the seemingly arbitrary explosions of unexplained violence had given each train ride an abnormal musicality all of its own…the screams, the yelling…the uncontrolled language. Of course the city had eventually clamped down on it, deploying regular patrols in a pattern difficult to predict, but the faces never changed, nor did the sense that the train was taking them someplace other than home or work.’ (‘And When the Lights Came On’ by Frank Duffy)
What are your future writing plans?
Frank: Well, I’m working on a collection at the moment, and after that I’m probably going to rework a near-future satire. My ultimate goal is to find a publisher for a novel I’m working on called ‘Deadline’. But generally just to keep writing.
Visit Frank‘s website THE JOURNAL here: http://coaction.wordpress.com/
Read False Pilgrim by Frank Duffy here: http://www.screamingdreams.com/ezine.html