Friday, 1 July 2011


If you're in the US and you're struggling to put together that first novel, Lawrence Block's The Liar's Bible might be the book for you at $2.99.  I've not read it myself, but there can't be many better tutor's around than Mr Block.

Speaking of first novels, one of the finest writers around is about to release his.  You can find out more about Donald Ray Pollock's book if you to
Hardboiled Wonderland or Amazon's Books Of The Month or here at Eleutherophobia . Talk about whetting the appetite.

I'm also delighted to say that
Dirty Old Town (and other stories) has made it's 500th sale.  There have even been 4 in Germany, so der ball rollt...

And now to one of the champions of British fiction, Charlie Williams.  If you read the Hardboiled Wonderland link, you'll see that The Book Depository do free postage abroad, so what are you waiting for?

Here's Mr Charlie Williams. 

You at the back, remove your hat.


Take it away Charlie.

So, Charlie, what are you drinking?

I've just poured myself a shot of J&B, thanks very much.

Drinking on the job, eh? Isn't that called a piss artist?

I'm not on the job. This is a thing for Nigel's blog, and I consider it relaxation.

OK, so why the booze? If it's so relaxing, why not--

We're supposed to be talking about books and stuff here. I think.

Fine. Your first book, Deadfolk , has just been republished. Why is that? I mean, there are plenty of great books out there that don't get a second chance like that. Are you saying yours is better? What?

The Royston Blake series is with a new publisher now - AmazonEncore. When they signed the fourth book One Dead Hen, I told them I had the rights back on the other three, which were originally done by Serpent's Tail. We thought we'd put those out one per month, leading up to the new one in August.

What's this "we"? since when did an author get a say in what gets published when?

Actually, Amazon are pretty collaborative. They consult on most things, right down to actually listening when you say what the cover should look like.

These books are about a bouncer. Have you ever been a bouncer? what makes you think you can get inside the head of one?

I've never been one. I don't know why I thought I could get away with that, the character just popped out. I've always been fascinated by that job, though. It's so far removed from most other jobs.

The character "just popped out"? What bullshit. Writers make stuff up. It's manufactured.

Only insofar as I craft the story as it comes out. It's like the Bayeux Tapestry - the story is there to see, but it could have been woven in a million different ways.

What utter bollocks.

That's just your opinion. Others might think it's an original way of looking at it.


Hey, that's going too--

How's that J&B going down?

Erm, fine, thanks.

What about your other characters? You've got a pub singer in Stairway To Hell  and a brothel bouncer in Graven Image . What's that about?

I guess I'm just not interested in characters who have regular jobs. At the same time, I'm interested in work, and the pride we take in our positions and sense of identity we derive from them. In a way, these are quite mundane jobs because you have them in every shitty town across the world. It's just a slightly different way of looking at that shitty town.

I think you're talking from somewhere between your butt cheeks.

Look, I'm meant to be interviewing myself here. We're meant to be on the same page. What's your problem?

I just want to make this worthwhile. You want me to go easy on you?

No, I just--

Where do you get your ideas from?

You know, they say that's a stupid question, but it's not. Everyone gets original or interesting things occuring to them, but a writer is the person who can spin them into a premise. He has trained himself to spot a flash of gold in the silt of daily experience.


What, you're wondering if that's not such a bad good answer? Admit it - you like it.

I admit nothing. Why did you change the name of your novel "Fags and Lager" to Booze and Burn?

To me it will always be Fags and Lager, but when Amazon set about republishing it they flagged that first word up as a problem. And it's not just because of the difference in meaning between UK and US. A title like that gets blocked by half the online censorship algorithms in the world. It just shows up as "**** and Lager", if it shows up at all. I thought of calling it "Cigs and Beer" or something but the title Booze and Burn just popped out. (Yeah, it "popped out" - get over it.) "Burn" is obscure UK prison slang for cigarettes, so the meaning of the title is the same. And you get alliteration now.

You just had to shoehorn the word "algorithm" into this interview, didn't you?
Can't we just get along?

No. Never. Anything else to say?

Erm, Deadfolk is available really cheap right now - 99p for Kindle  or as a paperback here or here. This is the one that made The Guardian say "The more politically correct among you can read this as a social comment, the rest can just enjoy the ride."  Go for it.

Listen to you...why don't you just get a job on the Shopping Channel?

Why don't you just fuck off.


  1. I've just started One Dead Hen and it's going down a treat, although I think it had to be smuggled into Poland in a bag of heroin.

  2. Charlie Stella says:

    Charlie rocks. I’m a fan going back to Deadfolk (brilliant stuff) and here’s a review of his last one (One Dead Hen). Royston is the man. Free the Mangel One! Nigel, you rock too ... for doing all this extra work. You da man. Review of One Dead Hen:

    Thanks Charlie. In fact, both Charlie's rock.

  3. Indeed he does, Nigel. Rocks hard as a bag of double ought buck to the testicular area.