My interview with Arco Van Ieperen. 

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On Saturday 22 September, I took part in the Festiwalu Literatury Wielorzecze  in the town of  Elbląg here in Poland. Nick Sweeney and I were interviewed by Arco Van Ieperen.   Radek Obuchowski translated. Here is a version of that interview that I thought some of you might enjoy.

Why did you choose the genre of Crime Fiction for your novels and short stories?

Well, maybe the genre chose me? I started writing regularly in 2008, after discovering online flash fiction sites – most of which were crime fiction focused. A Twist Of Noir, Powder Burn Flash, Beat to A Pulp. That said, it’s also an area of writing I’ve always enjoyed. Crime fiction covers a multitude of fictional sins and – outside the mainstream – allows for odd character studies – from Jim Thompson to Patricia Highsmith to Damon Runyon and more.

What are the difficulties in getting short stories and novels published nowadays? It is different from, say, twenty years ago in your opinion? Do you think it’s easier to get published in a major language such as English than in a less popular language like Polish?

I’d never even considered writing – well, never finished anything – in the good old bad old days of publishing, but my scattershot attempts at storytelling conveniently coincided with the rebirth of indie publishing – most of which is in English. It looks like it’s even harder to get published by the Big 6 these days. Publishing is a business, after all.  And business doesn’t like risk. If you write in Polish, you’re only going to get published in Poland in the beginning. But the success of Scandi Noir shows that it’s possible to do well when translated into English. I’m not sure why Polish writers haven’t cracked that market, to be honest.

Humour is an important element in your novels and short stories – what is the function of humour in your work?

I write about people. People in extreme situations. People at odds with life, their frailty. As Charlie Chaplin said. “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.”

You mainly write short stories and novellas. A Case of Noir, although it has the same protagonist throughout the book, reads like a series of short stories. Do you prefer shorter forms of fiction to longer novels, or is it only a question of time before you write a longer work?

I started writing via Six Sentences- tell a story in six sentences – and the stories got longer, so a novel is probably on the horizon.  A Case Of Noir is indeed a series of short stories that I did for a now defunct Italian publisher but they’re stitched together with a rusty needle and a loose thread.

 In an interview with David Nemeth you said that you “have already written more than most people need.” Do you think the crime fiction market is saturated or and does that discourage you from writing more, or do you give in to the constant need to write more?  

I was joking- a bit- in that I’m well aware that my stuff has little chance of mainstream success. You’d think that the crime fiction market would already be saturated but reports of its death have clearly been exaggerated. I’ll keep plodding on doing my own thing, whatever.

Your work is readily recognisable as British fiction, regarding vocabulary, slang and subject matter. What makes British fiction different from its American counterpart in your opinion?

Maybe our sense of absurdity. It’s something we relish in many ways. American’s are sometimes chastised for lacking irony but I think it’s just that they can be painfully sincere.

 I’ve read that you played the bass in a number of bands in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Your work is filled with references to music, musicians and lyrics. How important is music for you and what role does it play in your fiction?

It’s probably because I’m too idle to stretch to far outside the parameters of my own experience. But life always has a soundtrack, doesn’t it?

I know it’s a tedious question as I’ve been asked myself hundreds of times but: Why Poland?

Unlike Groucho Marx, I’ll join any club that will have me as a member! After I finished my TEFL course, I applied for lots of jobs in lots of places and a school in Poland were on of the first to answer. It seemed churlish to say no.

Has living abroad affected your writing in any way? Is it easier to write about your home country from a distance?

For sure it’s a view askew. Discombobulation is its own reward.

 I truly enjoyed your novel Last Year’s Man, which of course is this year’s book. Could you tell us something about the story and how it came about, without providing too many spoilers, of course?

The big influence was the British comedian Tony Hancock, and also Takeshi Kitano.  A sense of resignation to time moving on. An existential shrug of saying – ‘Stone Me, What A Life!’ And the fool’s errand of nostalgia.

Alcohol and drugs play a significant role in your work. Characters are often drunk or hungover, or drinking to stop being hungover. Do you think it reflects the crime scene and/or the ex-pats scene, or is it more of a Marlowian mood setting that you aim for, a wink to the noir from the forties and fifties?

Well, it’s never a great stretch! For sure the shadow of those tropes is cast, but it’s more about writing about people I know and situations I’ve known or know of. And most heavy drinkers are hopelessly deluded. Unholy fools. Which is great for absurdist noir fiction. As I’ve said before, crime fiction is about bringing order to chaos and noir is about bringing chaos to order.  So ….

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I’m Interviewed at My Book Place

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Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I write as and when I can, in an ad hoc and slapdash manner. It’s a pretty good reflection of how I live my life, really.

What authors, or books have influenced you?
Damon Runyon because he created his own world. Allan Guthrie because he showed a darkly humorous view of the world that fit mine. Graham Green’s Brighton Rock and Gerald Kersh’s Night and The City. Jim Thompson and Elmore Leonard. Patricia Highsmith. Les Edgerton.’

You can read the rest HERE.

David Nemeth interviews me at Do Some Damage

MY XMAS NOIR AT DO SOME DAMAGE

David: I enjoyed one of your latest books, “Last Year’s Man” which displays the wit in your writing. So, what makes Brits funnier than Americans? Kidding. A bit of a safer question, what is it that makes the English so damn funny?

Paul: I think the Brits revel in our own ridiculousness, we know that life and people are absurd. After all, there are two types of people in the world and they are both preposterous. The most preposterous are the ones that don’t know they are, of course.’

Rear the rest of the interview over at DO SOME DAMAGE.

ITW Roundtable discussion July 23-29

itw_logo_members_wbI’m over at The Big Thrill taking part in the ITW Roundtable discussion July 23- 29:

“How do you choose your character’s names?”

‘With ThrillerFest firmly in our rearview mirror and our writing bucket full of inspiration, we turn to ITW Members Alan JacobsonDani PettryPatrick OsterJay BrandonRobert J. StavaPaul D. BrazillKim AlexanderSarah SimpsonWilliam BoyleDavid Orange and Lisa Black as they discuss how they choose their character’s names.’

Check it out and JOIN IN!

A Short Interview and A Few Tasty Reviews

cropped-gazeta-wb-43.jpgOver at Unlawful Acts, Indie Crime Mastermind David Nemeth takes a look at Last Year’s Man and says:

‘“Last Year’s Man” is a one-sitting book, so grab a pint or two or maybe some whiskey, sit back and enjoy.’

Read the rest here.

Over at Amazon.com, Kevin McNamara also reviews Last Year’s Man and says:

‘Mr. Brazill is a master in this genre. A story about an aging hitman set both in London and Seatown. With a broad cast of characters, this book has action, wit and suspense. Highly recommended.’

Jack Strange reviews A Case Of Noir over at Goodreads and says:

‘The whole is greater than the sum of the parts – although the parts are so good you’ll savour them individually, as you work your way through them.’

Meanwhile, over at Near To The Knuckle, I say a few words about my forthcoming short story collection, Small Time Crimes.

NTTK: Thieves, killers and cannibals – the stories in your latest collection, Small Time Crimes, are brutal and dark. But they are also, at times, comic, and that fun factor really grips. What’s the trick to getting readers to laugh about crime and murder?’

Check it out!

I’m Interviewed by Tony Black

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Over at Pulp Pusher, I talk to the Tartan Noir kingpin about Last Year’s Man and gangster films.

We haven’t had a Q&A at Pulp Pusher for quite some time. So, I thought we should so something about that. 

We’ve asked the one and only Paul D. Brazill along to tell us about his latest tome, LAST YEAR’S MAN.
TB: I just read the blurb for LAST YEAR’S MAN, and fuck me, it sounds a bit tasty … I’m hearing echoes of Get Carter in there. Tommy Bennet is an assassin with a hard paper-round, and he’s getting on a bit. What appealed about bringing him to life? 
PDB: For sure, the shadow of the Brit comedy of my youth hangs over Last Year’s Man. The ghost of Galton and Simpson and especially the Tony Hancock of ‘Too many things went wrong too many times.’ Tommy’s had enough. He’s looking for respite. Takeshi Kitano’s sad-sack persona was also an influence – especially Sonatine and the end of Zatoichi.’

Check it out here!

I’m Interviewed By Chris Rhatigan

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Chris Rhatigan interviews me over at the All Due Respect blog:

‘Paul D. Brazill is one of the most entertaining and original voices in the independent crime fiction community. I recently spoke with him about Last Year’s Man, his latest book through All Due Respect about ageing hit man Tommy Bennett.

— When I first learned about the online crime fiction scene about ten years ago, you were one of the first writers I started following. How have things changed since then?

Those were great, fun times, weren’t they?

There seemed to be oodles of cool ezines out and about: Powder Burn Flash, Pulp Pusher, A Twist Of Noir, Beat To A Pulp, Thrillers, Killers n Chillers, Thuglit, Plots With Guns, Spinetingler, Death By Killing and more. What treasure troves! There seemed to be lots of strange voices telling stories with nodules and spikes. I’m sure I would never have started writing without them.’

Read the rest HERE.

An Interview And A Few Tidy Reviews For Last Year’s Man.

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There’s a lot of it about …

Over at TOE SIX PRESS,  Sandra Ruttan asks me about Last Year’s Man and she reviews it too!

She says: ‘I love an author who can engage me and surprise me and give me a complicated protagonist to root for. If you do too, you’ll find Last Year’s Man to be a highly engaging read.’

Over at Amazon.com, E. Hobart says Last Year’s Man is ‘Another beautifully written noir gem from Mr. Brazill’ and Dee Arr says ‘This is noir at its best.’

Down BRIT GRIT ALLEY, Paul Heatley says: ‘I think this may well be Mr Brazill’s best book yet, and that’s saying a lot.’

At BOOKS FROM DUSK TLL DAWN, Susan Hampson says: ‘The whole darn book is brilliance. ‘

At CRIME FICTION LOVER, Purity Brown says: ‘All in all it’s a good, fun read from a master of flash fiction.’

And at GOODREADS, Warren Stalley says: ‘Littered with Mr Brazill’s typical rapier sharp one liners this short Brit Grit novel is a joy to read for any crime fan wanting some light literary refreshment. ‘

Turned out nice again!

 

I’m Interviewed at We Are Cult

CULTBANNER200DPIOver at We Are Cult, James Gent interviews me about Brit Grit and more:

‘Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was born in Hartlepool in 1962, which was the same year the first Beatles single and the first Bond film were released. It’s no coincidence, I’m sure.

My first job was on a government scheme updating ordinance survey maps. It wasn’t as glamourous as it sounds.

I’ve worked in a second-hand record shop, a toy shop and as a welfare rights worker. I’ve been TEFL teaching in Poland for more than a decade and have yet to be deported.

What is your creative background?

I don’t think I have one. I played bass in a couple of bands in the early ‘80s but then, didn’t everyone? I did a screenwriting course in the ‘90s and wrote a screenplay. I sent it to ‘a well-known film production company’ but they never got back to me. It was the only copy I had of the bloody thing but I never bothered to ask for it back.’

Read the rest HERE.

I’m Interviewed By Richard Godwin

I recently had a Chin Wag at Richard Godwin’s Slaughterhouse. 

Paul Brazill is the master of Brit grit and hardboiled. His stories and novels ring like a chime out of a gangster flick, one with heavy overtones of London. He is adept at using contemporary culture to highlight and augment the inherent drama in his fictions, which are peopled with low lifes and hustlers. Paul met me at The Slaughterhouse, where we talked about Brit Grit and his new work.  

What are you writing right now?

‘The Days of Danny Spencer’. It’s the story of a disgraced ex-copper trying to put his life back together. It’s a London-set urban western, after a fashion

If you were to write a Carry On what would it be titled, and who among present actors would you cast in the lead roles?

It would be Carry On Expendables

Sly Stallone could do the Sid James parts, Jean-Claude Van Damme would be a great Kenneth Williams, soppy old Ryan Gosling would be Jim Dale and Arnie could be the new Babs Windsor, for obvious reasons.

Is Brit Grit on the rise and does it lack the sentimental addiction to resolution that classifies much crime writing, particularly that churned out by the industry?

Brit Grit is bedraggled and unkempt and there’s a lot of it about! Martin Stanley, Robert Cowan, Tom Liens, Aidan Thorn and Paul Heatley, for example, all write books that are away from the mainstream and aren’t interested in tidying things up.

What else is on the cards for you this year

Fahrenheit 13 will be rebooting my seaside noir Kill Me Quick! And I have another seaside noir coming out later this year from All Due Respect/ Down and Out Books. It’s called Last Year’s Man. It’s like Takeshi Kitano mixed with Alan Bennett.

Thank you Paul for a classic interview.’

I’m Interviewed at Tripwire Magazine

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TRIPWIRE – THE GENRE MAGAZINE  has articles on films, TV series, comics, and much more. It also has interviews with the likes of artist JEREMY MANN and writer/ director ALEX GARLAND.

And I’m very pleased to say that editor-in-chief  JOEL MEADOWS recently interviewed me.

‘TW: London has been a very rich place for crime fiction going back to Victorian and Edwardian times. What is it about the city that continues to bewitch and obsess crime writers and yourself in particular?

PDB: Arthur Conan Doyle said that London was ‘that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained.’ That seems about right. London is a hodge-podge of people, a mish-mash of askew characters, and they all have stories.’

Read the rest HERE.