Welcome to part one of Confessions of a Reviewers’ interview with England’s very own, Duncan P Bradshaw. There are rumours that no other country will have him due to some……incidents!
If you don’t know a lot, or indeed anything, about Duncan then read on. In this interview Duncan was kind enough to take the time out to give us some detailed and, brutally honest and funny answers to all the questions I threw at him.
In Part One, tonight, we find out some general information about Duncan and his writing and influences. In Part Two, tomorrow night, Duncan will give us some specifics on his new book Hexagram, and also some more general life stuff. In Part Three on Thursday, Duncan will tell us what to expect from him in the future and take on the mighty Ten Confession!
On night four, as always, I will be posting my review on Hexagram.
There is much much more to come from him this week as well but I will keep you posted on that as we go.
Nothing left to say at this point other than go grab some nibbles and a drink and sit back, and most of all……enjoy!
CoaR - So tell everyone a bit about yourself in general. Who is Duncan P Bradshaw?
DPB - I’m the man in the closed toilet cubicle, who makes grunting sounds when you’ve just finished. I’m the one who drinks from your favourite mug and leaves that weird burst bubble scum around the rim. I’m the voice in your head, telling you to drop your phone out of the moving train window. I am DOOM INCARNATE.
When I’m not doing all of that, I type out the weird and wonderful things that pop into my head. These sometimes form coherent sentences and paragraphs, and ultimately, books. I’m then lucky enough for people to exchange money for these books, so that my frozen thoughts can be thawed out, in other people’s brains.
I live in Wiltshire, Southern England, with my wife Debbie, and our two cats, Rafa and Pepe. Having been sterilised in a freak accident involving a Greenpeace boat and a VHS box-set of Friends, I’ve dedicated myself to being as utterly annoying as possible. In that regard, I’m doing alright.
CoaR - Can you confirm that the P stands for pisshead?
DPB - The P stands for many a thing, depending on who I’ve vexed, or the current Martian transition. It is mainly used as a tool of wonder, as people remark, ‘I wonder what it stands for?’ If they knew the truth, the enigma would be ruined.
CoaR - Do you have a normal “pay the bills” job, and if so, can you say what it is? It is rumoured you are a gigolo?
DPB - I do indeed, but it is pretty dull, if I told you what it is, it would likely send you into a coma, one that you would not recover from. To counter this, I used to tell people I was a hitman, or a honey collector. Contrary to the scrawls on many a wall, I've never been a gigolo. Sorry to disappoint Nev, but if you do require those services, a certain Daniel Marc Chant would be more than willing to 'accommodate’ you.
CoaR - Why writing? Why decide on that as a career?
DPB - One of my favourite things at school was writing stories, I had a repeat character called Andy Beatemup, an inept spy, based on the Russ Abbott character, 'Basildon Bond’. My problem though is that I can be quite a lazy sod. A few years back, Dan, out of the blue, said he'd written a book. Bastard, I thought. Coupled with that, Justin had also written two. Bastards, I thought. It was the final kick up the arse, if they could find the time, then by Jove, so could I.
I really enjoy it, don't get me wrong, it's not all sunshine and rainbows, but I finally have a vent for my weird thoughts.
CoaR - Take us through your process for a story. How do you start it and follow it through to the final product?
DPB - Pretty much everything spawns from a rogue thought or one line of dialogue. Prime Directive for instance, was borne out of five words going round and round my head, I drove Debbie potty one night with its constant repetition. From there, it linked up with some other ideas I had bouncing around already, and BOOM, I had enough to start with.
More often than not, ideas are dismissed, as they just don't have enough to warrant a story, or something else bullies it. I'll spend a few days thinking about the general narrative, a few characters, setting, maybe a few key events. Then as soon as I come up with a first line, I'll open a new word document, and begin.
I tend to fly out of the gates, but then get bogged down. As I'm a pantser, in that I don't plan a book, I write in the evening, then spend the next day at work thinking about what I did and what's next. I get home, make any corrections to problem areas, then crack on with the next bit, repeat and rinse.
I edit it three times before I send it to beta readers. Usually, whilst I'm waiting for the feedback, I'm already tinkering, getting fonts sorted out, working out little design details, that sort of thing. Then I'll go through what people said, take on board anything of note, discard anything which isn't useful, and then do another couple of rounds of edits, before getting it proofread. When it comes back, I then get it into book templates and get it looking all purty. That part is one of my most favourite parts of the process to be honest. I’ll then order up a physical proof for one last edit, and voila, it's ready for release.
CoaR - How do you keep track of your ideas? Do you carry a notebook with you everywhere or write stuff on the back of your hand?
DPB - Most of my ideas, I just remember, if it's really good and I don't want to forget it, I'll email myself. It's usually just a line of dialogue, which I think is either hilarious or disgusting. In the future, I will have to invest in a gadget of some description, but here and now, the ole brain is doing alright.
CoaR - Is the pipe just for show?
DPB - The pipe is in fact, a breathing tube. My alien physiology is ill-equipped to deal with the concentration of gases and people vaping. To counter these otherwise poisonous materials, my people formed a rebreather, which I fashioned into a pipe, so I can integrate with you bunch of savages without anyone knowing.
CoaR - Can you tell us if any of the characters in your books are based on people you have come across in your life or maybe even yourself?
DPB - Plenty! Though, I would say that most aren’t complete representations of people I know. I tend to take a few of their quirks or traits, and magnify them, as when you’re trying to create a character, you need to make them memorable. I don’t want to make caricatures, but sometimes, I need a character whose sole purpose is to help transition the story from one point to another. They get a chapter, maybe two, if they aren’t quirky in some way, they just don’t get remembered.
Even the times I use people’s names in books, it is rarely a full reflection of them. In Class Four: Those Who Survive, I asked for volunteers to be characters. I’d say none of them are based fully on the people who share the name. It’s a balancing act, like all of writing. Though sometimes, when you get inside the head of a character you’re writing, you see similarities with people, which you can then try and use as a guide.
I think the character people ask me about the most, is Philip from Class Three. He’s based, loosely, on me, but as above, I’ve skewed the personality to make him a bit larger than life. Though I don’t make up songs about zombies who have been cut in half, I do have a habit of engaging mouth before brain sometimes, with varying degrees of riposte from people.
CoaR - Every book you produce has a wonderful cover to show it off. How much input do you have with them and how important to you are they?
DPB - This might seem an odd thing to say, so bear with me, but I think that the covers are probably the most important thing, even more so than the words contained within. With the boom of self-publishing, and small presses, the market is swamped. If someone is flicking through a list of books, where none of the authors are household names, the cover is going to be what will make or break that person putting their hand in their pocket and buying it.
Yes, you have to write well, or at least be able to tell an interesting story, but if your cover looks like a montage of stock imagery, or you’ve used Times New Roman, it just looks like amateur hour. For me, I love going to an artist with a brief, and seeing what they come up with. I get a bit of banter within the SHC for being quite particular, and the brief I send to artists, is quite exacting. In my mind’s eye, I know what I want, and whilst I appreciate that what I’ll get back will be different, I need it to incorporate certain things.
Art, and being able to draw, is one of those things I would love to be good at, but I completely suck. Though I do have a pretty clear idea of what I am after in my head. I have been really lucky with the artists I’ve found so far. Each of them are completely different, but they’ve all nailed what I asked of them.
I love having an image on the front, rather than just stylised words, so you can rest assured that, anything I’ll ever put out, will have something eye catching on the front. Will it appeal to all? Of course not, but it’ll be the closest representation of what I want, and that is all I can ask for.
Whilst we’re on design...I just want to point out that my books don’t stop at the cover. If you’ve ever bought a physical copy of my books, you’ll see that I apply the same principles inside. For example, Celebrity Culture, my bizarro novella, uses a different font for every single disease. There are forty-six of them. FORTY-SIX. I love putting these little touches to my final product.
There’s a little section in the physical version of Hexagram which does just that. I researched it online to get it looking as close as possible to the real thing. Vague, I know, but best go pick it up and see huh? Ultimately, these little design decisions may seem trivial to some, but to me, it helps convey more to the reader.
CoaR - Any chance I can have some money off you for the laptop I ruined spewing coffee all over it after seeing your pose in front of Jabba the Hutt?
DPB - You best take that up with Jabba himself I’m afraid. Being one of his slave girls has some perks, included within that is any claim for damages caused by my sultry demeanour.
CoaR - I plan to interview the three stooges, sorry, the three men responsible for The Sinister Horror Company all together so won’t go into it too much here, but how is that working out for you all?
DPB - It’s going alright, I think the nucleus of why we started off the Sinister Horror Company is still there, of a fashion. Just, as is the way, things change. I don’t think it would work if we weren’t all friends, as each of us has wildly different personalities and approaches.
I for one, am not the easiest person to get on with at times, and, hand on heart, there have been a few occasions when it has been a real struggle. Fortunately, I think we’ve found a way of working now, which cuts down on some of the areas which caused issues beforehand.
Nothing worth having, ever comes easy.
CoaR - What do you think of the state of play in the writing world these days? Particularly the horror genre?
DPB - It’s an odd one, with the advent of self-publishing, there is now so much out there, it’s unreal. There are some people, who feel that it should all belong to them alone, which is an odd concept to fathom, fortunately, they are in the minority. With the big publishers doing what they’ve always done, the underbelly of horror is beginning to bubble. In a good way.
I read an interview Justin did at the beginning of the year, and he likened it to the indie music scene of the late eighties/early nineties. I think this is a brilliant analogy. Right now, you have some truly amazing writers out there, doing some astonishing work. Couple that with some excellent small presses, the world of genre fiction stands on the edge of a real boon.
You have some people who have really mastered the art of promotion and finding out, A) what they’re good at and B) what people want, and they are giving that to the readers. This year alone has seen some really excellent books coming out, and I think that there are plenty more to come. I really get the feeling that I’m in the midst of something cool.
Yes, there are people being dicks, but that is true in any walk of life. Hell, think back to school, or your workplace, there is always that person or persons, who are utter bell ends. We are all in this together, so share people’s Facebook posts, recommend books to people, point writers in the direction of an artist you think would be perfect or them, anything that can help make kickass books, do it. The scene is only as good as the people in it, and from what I’ve seen, it is something to behold.
Well that is your lot for Part One of the Interview!
Please remember to come back tomorrow night when Duncan will be talking some more about his writing in general and telling you all you need to know about Hexagram!
Thanks again for visiting Confessions of a Reviewer!
CONFESSIONS REVIEWS DUNCAN P BRADSHAW
One day upon waking, as if from some frightful nightmare, I sat at my laptop and typed out letters, which formed words, slowly they created sentences. People read it and said, that's okay that is, have a biscuit. And I said yes.
I live in Wiltshire, in Southern England with my wife Debbie and our two cats, Rafa and Pepe, they just miaowed a hello at you. Between bouts of prolonged washing up and bungie cord knitting, I type out the weird and wonderful things that run around my head.
My debut novel, zom-com Class Three, was released in November 2014, the first book in the follow up trilogy, Class Four: Those Who Survive is out in July 2015. I'm then going to try and get some novellas released which are on something other than the undead.
And for more about Duncan, visit his site or find him on social media:
And for more about Duncan, visit his site or find him on social media: