Last year I went along to a tremendous, free event at the Portobello Book Festival and I've just picked these snippets from Criminal-E:
SATURDAY 8th OCTOBER
DALRIADA on the PROM
DOUG JOHNSTONE, writer, musician and journalist, talks to Allan Guthrie about his new novel Smokeheads. This event includes a whisky tasting in collaboration with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society
SUNDAY 9th OCTOBER
FROM IDEAS TO PAGE
Join MARIANNE PAGET, new writer; FRANCIS BICKMORE, Senior Editor Canongate Books; and ALLAN GUTHRIE, Literary Agent, author and editor, in a workshop about getting published.
You won't do much better for entertainment next weekend, I can promise you that. I'm just hoping there are tickets left.
And here's today's interview, please welcome James Everington.
Hi, uh, James
This is weird isn't it, interviewing yourself?Yeah. Solipsistic. But don't you mean 'interviewing myself'?
Don't you mean 'Don't I mean...'
Oh piss off.
Looks let's just start again shall we?
Okay, so you've written some books have...
Wait, aren't I supposed to be asking the questions?
No I mean, the me in bold?
Shit. Okay, let's start again shall we?
Fine. So you've written some books have you?
Only kidding. Yes, I published my first collection of short stories, The Other Room, earlier this year.
[whispering] I think you're supposed to sell it a bit more... Like maybe mention you can get it in the US too?
[whispering] Well ask me some good questions about it then!
Uh. What's it about?
Jesus. Well, okay, it's a collection of horror short stories. Influenced by writers such as Ramsey Campbell, Shirley Jackson, and Robert Aickman these tales, like all good horror stories, are as much about the psychology of the protagonist as the fate that awaits them.
That's was quite good.
Yeah, the bit about psychology and,um...
You weren't even listening were you?
Well, let's face it, I've heard you doing your self-promotional spiel so many times now. Do you know how bored I get of the same old bumpf?
Think of the poor readers. I bet they're sick of hearing about The Other Room on every damn forum and blog they visit. Yeah, yeah it's got lots of good reviews. Yeah, yeah some pretty talented authors seem to like it too... Boring!
Hey, they might not know about your new book though.
What The Shelter you mean?
Yeah [cough US too cough]
It's a novella you know. People don't like novellas.
Well why the hell did you write one then?
It just came out that way. 15.5k words is the right length for this story. I wasn't going to artificially inflate the length just to please some namby-pamby readers.
[whispering] They can hear you, you know. So, uh, what's it about?
It's another horror story, about a group of boys in the 1980s, trying to find and break into an abandoned WW2 air raid shelter. I doubt it will spoil it for anyone if I say that things don't go too well when they do. [whispering] Was that okay?
So what do you think you're strengths as a writer are?
Well, uh, I think I'm quite good at atmosphere, at building up that feeling of unease that something, somewhere, has gone wrong. I'm very much influenced by Poe's idea that everything in a short story should work to the same end and... Wait, shouldn't I be asking the questions?
Look, let's just start again shall we?
Fine. So you've written these books and...
James Everington (both of him) blogs at Scattershot Writing. Join him there for even more of this kind of narcissistic nonsense.