Hydraxia Interview

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Monday, 06 September 2010 20:03 | Author: Simon Patterson | Grant Gillespie Interview

I caught up with Grant Gillespie recently, author of the well-received ‘The Cuckoo Boy‘, featured by Books To Furnish A Room. He kindly, answered a few questions for me and provides an insight into the inner workings of his writing, with the odd sentence reminiscent of this generation’s great authors – I’ll let you decide who:

HY. What started you on the writing path?

GG. I’ve loved writing stories since I was a child. I remember at school, it was called ‘composition’, which is somewhat dry but lyrical too I suppose. When I was about 17, I won a creative writing competition and was awarded a place on a writing retreat with Helen Dunmore, which was really exciting. I’ve written short stories and novels ever since.

HY. Where did the cuckoo boy idea come from?

GG. My ideas for The Cuckoo Boy accrued over quite a long period. I’ve always enjoyed writing about childhood, because children are so rawly human in their appetite for joy and cruelty. Then the Bulger killing – and the reactions of the press and politicians – had me examining the age old question of whether we are all born ‘innocent’ or whether some people are born ‘evil’. The question at the heart of the book is ‘Given the wrong set of circumstances, what child isn’t capable of murder?’

HY. What was you’re experience of getting published?

GG.I have always written because I love the act of writing and creating, but getting a novel published was really thrilling. The process itself was so rewarding too because To Hell With is such a uniquely noble enterprise. I don’t think that I could have landed in more sympathetic or visionary hands. I’m eternally grateful to them.

HY. Which writers influence you?

GG. It’s hard to say exactly which writers have influenced me because I’m always reading and a real mishmash of genres and eras, so probably all of them in one way or another. My favourite authors though are mainly English and American from the early to mid 20th Century – Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, Evelyn Waugh, D.H. Lawrence, Ernest Hemmingway, Scott Fitzgerald and Dorothy Parker. In fact I have lined my writing room with the pages of The Waves by Virginia Woolf. I think that would be my all time favourite.

HY. What are you reading?

GG. I have a few books on the go, which isn’t like me. There’s The Crimson Petal and the White, by Michel Faber, Lights out for Wonderland by DBC Pierre and Troubles by J.G Farrell.

HY. Have you signed a lot of your books?

GG. I have signed a fair few books, mainly for my pals.

HY. Which do you prefer, writing or acting?

GG. I love writing and acting in equal measures. The first involves maximum autonomy. I can write wherever I choose and don’t need anyone else’s involvement during the initial process – but then it’s a solitary pursuit, whereas acting requires a director/producer/fellow actors and it goes on and on and on. As I an actor I can’t really generate my own work, but on the plus side it’s very sociable and is all about working with a team of people. For me the two jobs make a very happy marriage. They’re very different animals but there is also a very useful overlap in terms of character development.

HY. What are you currently working on?

GG. I’m currently on the second draft of a novel called There is the Sea, about tsunamis, synaesthesia, suicide and talking doors…

HY. What’s next?

GG. Next is hopefully some more acting work, then perhaps a modern day ghost story?

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