Thursday 23 September 2010


I first came across Christian's work over at Dark Valentine and really enjoyed his story. Here he is to talk about himself with himself.

Q1) First of all, thanks for agreeing to this interview, and can I say you look particularly dashing today. The first question is – which literary character would you most like to have created?

A1) Thanks. I had my hair cut especially. Not sure if the sideburns are level though. Anyway, it’s not the most imaginative answer, I’m afraid, but Iago. He’s like Heath Ledger as the Joker – a dog chasing a car. It’s all a game to him, he can’t even make up his mind WHY he wants to screw Othello over.

Q2) So, your writing… what’s it all about?

A2) You mean you haven’t read any? This has to be the most…

At this point, Dabnor unplugged his microphone and made for the door. Fortunately he realised he’d left over half a pit on the table, and came back, somewhat apologetically.

A2 – cont) OK. For those that haven’t read anything of mine. It varies, really, but, my two main areas are swashbuckling adventure, such as the Herbert Smythe stories – a series about a Victorian inventor/detective, which appeared in Astonishing Adventures magazine, and drama. I often like to take a characteristic of my own and exaggerate it, so, for example, in Pareidola, feelings of jealousy and the fear of losing someone translate into acts of violence.

Q3) What are you working on at the moment?

A3) A couple of things. Mainly though, a story tentatively entitled ‘Thin Red Line on the Blood Red Sand’, which is about a tunnel to a distant planet being found during the Crimean War. The British high command believe there to be weapons of great power and so send a young cavalry lieutenant to investigate

Q4) Sounds a bit Steampunk.

A4)Is that a question? Sounds more like a statement. I suppose it is Steampunk, but I’m not sure I like where Steampunk is these days. I prefer the Stephen Baxter ‘Anti-Ice’, or William Gibson and Bruce Sterling’s ‘Difference Engine’ type setting, where the technology is a little more subtle, to the Wicky Wacky Wild Wild West style of Steampunk. I think it’s the same with Cyberpunk. It became too over the top. Look at William Gibson’s stories. It’s like now – flash technology is still the preserve of the rich, with people at the bottom making do.

Q5) OK… so, what else in the world of literature annoys you?

A5) Better call the office, you’ll be here a while… Seriously, though, I’ll give you one, a major bugbear. Biographies of people who just don’t matter (I’m not going to call them autobiographies, as they’re seldom written by the subject). They get signed up for more cash than I can ever dream of (and, yeah, I’m like Han Solo in that way), and take up so much space in bookstores. Football players (soccer to those of you across the sea) are a prime example. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed some, like Paul McGrath’s – he went to the wall. However, a 7 (seven) figure amount in advances for someone whose life, whilst enviable, is hardly the stuff of legend is ridiculous. So what if you’ve won some trophies. Until you’ve snorted cocaine off Miss World’s backside, or wrapped a Ferrari around Nelson’s Column, I’m not interested.

Q6) So, you’ve written, and had published, short stories. Should we expect a novel?

A6) Yes. Hopefully. Maybe? I’ve started several, but another idea always seems to take my fancy. I’ve got them planned out, but the one I’m mainly working on, well, the protagonist is at a standstill. I can’t find that “something” to push him on. I know where he needs to be next, I know how he’s going to get there, but I don’t know why. I don’t want to force it, you know?

Q7) If you could travel back in time and offer some advice to yourself about writing, what would it be?

A7) Start submitting sooner. Don’t worry about rejection, certainly don’t take it personally. The first one you’ll feel, but, deal with it. You’ll get plenty more, but it’s like anything. You become desensitised to it. And some rejection letters have great advice – take it on-board. Editors do a lot of reading. As great as you think you are, accept that some of them know better. Unless they write the rejection in limerick form (yeah, it’s happened, and it was, I’m afraid, a bit patronising).

Q8) What are your thoughts on self-promotion? Do you find it at all crass?

A8) Well, if you pay a visit to my website,, that’s double yew, double yew… Seriously, don’t be ashamed of it. If you’re writing and submitting things to an editor, you’ve got some confidence in your writing and you want it to be ‘out there’. So, you obviously want people to read it, so yeah, go scream it from a mountain top. Use social networking sites, whatever. You can be subtle about it if you want, I suppose. Initially, I felt a bit self-conscious about it, but, then, well….
At this point, Chris Dabnor leans back and stretches, exposing his t-shirt.

Q9) Finally, enough about you…

A9) You’re trying to stop me talking about my favourite subject?

Q9 cont.) …enough about you… What was the last book you read, and would you recommend it?

A9 cont) Z.A. Recht’s Plague of the Dead. Was a bugger to get hold of a copy at a reasonable price, so I borrowed my brother’s when he got one. Enjoyable zombie story, with likeable characters. The one thing that disappointed me slightly was the fact that it didn’t end ‘properly’, being part of a series. The second part is equally difficult to get at a decent price, so, if anyone’s feeling generous, what with Christmas around the corner, an’ all…

Q10) It’s your round, isn’t it?

A10) No.


  1. The Joker/Heath Ledger/Iago parlay. Steampunk's corruption. Victorian SF. Gibson, Stirling, cyberpunk. Novel coming. Mr. Dabnor's playing some strong hands all across the board. Interesting interview that took me a couple of place I hadn't been. Very entertaining also. Bravo.

  2. Thank you. It's good to get my Steampunk rant out...

  3. Great fun. Will bechecking out more of mr D.

  4. Excellent stuff. I'll be checking his writing out as well.

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  6. For those that are interested (and sorry about the thread necroing), you can buy an anthology of my short stories on Amazon and Smashwords: