Got the Sunday night blues? Well fear not- I’ve got an awesome interview for you from the fabulous Paul D. Brazill, a Brit Grit writer who specialises in short stories that celebrate the rich tapestry of life.
Tell me about how you came to define your writing style. What drew you towards darker fiction?
I like to think that I write dark comedy. Cruel but funny yarns that are absurdist and at times grotesque. I think that’s probably how I see the world. I’ve always found the odds and sods of life to be the most interesting and that’s who I like to write about. They’re the kind of people that fall into open manholes, literally as well as metaphorically. I draw a lot from people I’ve known over the years and the stories they’ve told.
What is your background in writing and how did you get in to writing gritty crime fiction?
I once wrote a screenplay which I sent to Scala Films and then disappeared off the face of the earth. After that, nothing until 2008 when I discovered a few online flash fiction sites, such A Twist Of Noir, Powderburn Flash and Beat To A Pulp. I liked what I read and decided to give it a go! I’ve just continued in the same manner and still seem to be getting away with it!
Please tell me about your books. Why do you believe they have become so popular?
Oh, my books aren’t that popular. However, it seems that there are some people who have a similarly askew view of the world as me. They’re usually-but not exclusively – British men of a certain age… as am I!
Some of your short stories have been translated into a number of languages. How do you think this affects the message you are trying to get across? Are there any drawbacks to reading novels in translation?
To be honest, I think a lot of my stuff isn’t really translatable. Too many puns and cultural references, maybe. For example, it always amazes me when Americans get what I do. I suspect that the books that translate best are strong on plot which leaves my stuff isn’t. But it’s great to be translated. Very flattering.
A number of your books are set in London. Why do you believe England’s capital is the setting for many crime novels and why did you choose to set your own books there?
Waifs and strays, the flotsam and jetsam of life. I think London has such a richness of larger-than-life characters and locations that the setting is always interesting. Even Sherlock Holmes talks about ‘London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained.’ You never have to limit your cast of characters if a story is set in London.
Tell me about Brit Grit as a genre. What are its defining characteristics?
I think it’s more about what Brit Grit isn’t. It isn’t the middle-class comfort of a lot of fiction, especially crime fiction. It’s about characters on the fringes of life. It’s much more character based than plot based, though not exclusively.
What drew you to this particular style of writing?
I’ve known a lot of interesting and quirky characters over the years, so … write what you know and then screw it up!
Have you got any projects coming up that you are particularly excited about?
Cold London Blues will be out in July from Caffeine Nights Publishing. It’s a loose follow up to my book Guns Of Brixton. Here’s the blurb:
‘A killer priest is on the rampage across London and an egotistical Hollywood action movie star is out for revenge when his precious comic book collection is stolen. Meanwhile, gangster Marty Cook’s dreams of going legit swiftly turn pear shaped when one of his bouncers accidentally kills one of his salsa club’s regular customers. Razor sharp wisecracks, gaudy characters and even gaudier situations abound in Cold London Blues, a violent and pitch-black Brit Grit comedy of errors.’
Are there any new books or writers that you are looking forward to later in the year?
One book I’m really looking forward to reading is Les Edgerton’s memoir ‘Adrenaline Junky’ I’m a big fan of Les’ fiction and he’s lived a rich and colourful life, to say the least.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Thanks very much for the interview.
I’d just like to say a massive thank you to Paul for taking the time to speak to me, it’s been great. Look out for my review of The Last Laugh, coming soon to the Dorset Book Detective. Check out his website HERE to learn more about Paul and his brilliant stories.