Wednesday 25 January 2012

Dancing With Myself: STUART AYRIS interviews STUART AYRIS

For anyone who buys from LULU, or would like to, there's a free postage offer just now if you buy from them.  I've missed out on a number of issues of the excellent Needle Magazine (of noir), edited by the talented Steve Weddle, because of the prohibitive overseas posting rates.  Use the code WHOASHIPPINGUK305 and ask for ground shipping and you won't have to pay for delivery.  Go get those Needles.

Most excellent.

I was delighted to see that Matthew McBride has now had 'Frank Sinatra In A Blender' bought by New Pulp Press.  Seems like a marriage made in heaven to me.

There's still time to vote for your favourite at Spinetingler's Best Novella shortlist.  Course, I'm hoping 'Smoke' comes out on top, but seeing the competition I feel like a winner just being there.  I think you should at least see what the books in the list are as it will give you some great reading for a good while.

Another chance to vote can be found at Out Of Bullets Throw The Gun where the brave Pablo D'Stair has taken on a mob of talented Flash Fiction writers.  So far there have been 175 downloads of each, so there should be 175 votes to come by the end of the month.  Pablo also has some free novellas out there for you at Smashwords.  Go check them out if you're at a loose end.

I have also set myself a new challenge.  It's a tricky one.  I'm aiming to stop myself from buying any more books until April Fool's Day.

In the last month I've been sent my 6 novels by Vintage for winning their review competition, picked up 4 new Needles yesterday, a couple of Pablo's novellas, downloaded Crime-Factory, novella's from the Spinetingler list, a kindleful of free books and great-deal books, been sent review copies and some gifts.  If I keep up at that rate, I'll just not get to read and enjoy what I have.  I'll let you know if I crack.

And now it's time for today's dance.  You'll find a cracking review of Tollesbury Time Forever over at Darren Sant's blog in case you want to check it out.  It looks excellent (and it's another of my recent purchases).

Please welcome Stuart Ayris.

“So Stuart, what do you do from day to day other than write?”
I’ve been a psychiatric nurse for the last fourteen years but I’m currently working from home as I’m awaiting a knee operation.

“How did you do your knee?”
My niece?

“No. Your knee.”
Oh, too much football and cricket over the years, too much falling down subways and too many people pointing at me instead of catching me.

“So tell us about your novel, Tollesbury Time Forever.”
Well it’s about a man called Simon Gregory, a Beatles-obsessed alcoholic with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and a love of cricket. The novel follows him as he attempts to be reunited with the son he abandoned twenty-two years ago. It’s set in Tollesbury, where I live, and took about three years to write.

“How long is it?”

“And the book?”
Just over 74,000 words.

“How would you describe your writing style?”
I like to think of it as having the descriptive elements of John Steinbeck and the madness of Jack Kerouac. Tollesbury Time Forever, for example has been very highly praised for it’s prose yet also contains four short stories three poems (one of which is three pages long) and a Blues song. But somehow it seems to work!

“Did you try and get Tollesbury Time Forever published in the traditional way before settling for putting on Kindle via Amazon?”
I sent it to a fair few publishers and agents and hardly any replied. Those that did basically sent standard compliment slips saying it wasn’t for them. I’ve received better compliments to be honest. So I had the choice of ditching it or having a punt. I had a punt and it’s turning out the little man may have been right and the big men wrong!

“How have the sales been?”
Well I was very disappointed with Debenhams this year but I thought PC World made a fair effort.

“And the sales of Tollesbury Time Forever?”
Beyond my wildest dreams - I envisaged maybe selling a hundred overall and I reached that in the first two weeks. The sales in the third week have been phenomenal and the book has managed to stay in the top 60 Literary Fiction Bestseller rankings on Amazon for more or less its whole life to date.

“How has Tollesbury Time Forever been received?”
Incredibly well. I always thought, and was led to believe, that it was an acquired taste, a niche book, something that might appeal to perhaps a carbon copy of myself. As it turns out, it’s had over twenty five-star reviews in it’s first three weeks. I just can’t believe it. It is so humbling and very exciting.

“Can you give us maybe a snippet from Tollesbury Time Forever so readers can see a little of your writing style?”
I am a man yet I am a Hen Harrier also. I am a drunkard and a dreamer. I am a Beatles fan and a lover of cricket. I am a husband and I am a father. I am all these things and more. And I am a friend of yours. I am the world’s best friend. Just think of me not as a schizophrenic but as a Hen Harrier only. A Hen Harrier.

For there is no schizophrenia and there is no depression; no bi-polar disorder, personality disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder. There is just life and trying to get through it. That is all. Look past the drugs and past the diagnosis, look deeper than the despair and higher than the highs - and what you have is a soul that needs embracing, a mind that needs cradling and a heart that needs to beat its beat without condemnation.

Some weeks ago, I was at the marshes with just darkness on my mind. I was rushing to the depths. Yet now I float and I rise. The earth is the same yet I see with new eyes. I have learned that the world does not change. All that alters is the way we choose to see it.

I am no more a man than I am a schizophrenic. I live only in Tollesbury Time. And I will live in Tollesbury Time forever.

“Nice. So what are your next steps?”
Unsteady ones. I’ve had three cans of K cider and my knee is knackered.

“Has she been running?”

“Your niece.”
You’re madder than I am. I’d just like to finish my thanking all those people that have downloaded Tollesbury Time Forever and reviewed it. It has seriously meant the world to me.

“So do you have a blog or anything?”
Yep -

“And do you have any final words?”
Just keep frugaling up the frugals people!!

"What does that mean?"
You'll just have to read the book. Tollesbury Time Forever - out now in all good and sites!


  1. Brilliant! Stuart's a great bloke and has a fine sense of humour, which really shows in this interview. I wish him every success with everything he does.

    Well done!

  2. Great interview

  3. Thanks David and Georgia - it's great that I finally feel sufficiently comfortable to let the true madness come out!! Cheers for all you fine people for making me so welcome!!

  4. Great interview from a top bloke.

    Wishing him all the success possible.

  5. Now that was one heck of a fun interview! My favorite lines were:

    How long is it?”

    “And the book?”
    Just over 74,000 words.

  6. Brilliant interview with an inspiring author and damned fine writer. Love your words, Mr A.

  7. Thank you Madam Z and thank you Lily! Remember, Lily, if it wasn't for you I would never have got the thing up in the first place (the words, I mean, of course!)