Another excellent interview for you, this time courtesy of the wonderful Graham Wynd, who talks about inspiration, writing styles and the essence of noir fiction.
Tell me about how you came to define your writing style. What drew you towards darker fiction?
I really couldn’t say! I’ve just always been drawn to dark things, horror and ghosts, even as a kid. I loved scary stories. My little brother and I used to always have this book out of the library called Shrieks at Midnight which was just macabre poetry. I used to write a lot of horror but then I slowly drifted into noir and crime because I loved the style.
What is your background in writing and how did you get in to writing gritty crime fiction?
I’ve always written a wide variety of things, fiction and non-fiction. As an academic I study rather esoteric things (medieval magic for example) but I can totally blame my getting into crime fiction on Paul Brazill because he suggested I write a story for his Roman Dalton series and then I just kept writing more and more. Of course I’d always admired writers like Hammett and Chandler, but I hadn’t really thought about writing that kind of thing until I got that nudge.
You write a lot of short stories. What draws you to this style of writing?
I write a lot of long things, too, and it’s great to be able to write the whole of a story in a short time – sometimes just in a day. When you work on something for months or even years it gets to be something you live with. Sometimes you just need to write a story that’s completely different, with different voices, just for a change of pace.
Where do you take your inspiration? Are there any rituals you do to get yourself in the mood for writing?
I get inspiration from everywhere: snippets of overheard conversation, words that jump off the page when I’m reading, song lyrics – that’s a big one. Especially from The Fall. But anywhere: I can’t walk down the street without getting ideas. I wish I could sell them off!
Tell me about noir as a genre. What are its defining characteristics?
For me noir is all about a mood of hopelessness; it’s people in desperate situations who think that maybe just this one thing will turn out right if they take a wild chance and do something crazy – but it’s noir so it will all end badly of course. There’s oodles of atmosphere and usually sex is in the air, because it makes people do crazy things.
What drew you to this particular style of writing?
I think I just have an affinity for it. It comes pretty naturally to me. Maybe I just have a noir kind of outlook. Scotland may help with that 😉
Have you got any projects coming up that you are particularly excited about?
I’m putting the finishing touches on a novella called Love is a Grift and I’m working on a couple of longer things but I’m not sure which one will get done first. I’ve got a short story coming out in a Fox Spirit crime anthology called You Left Your Biscuit and the story is ‘Elf Prefix’ which is a bit of a weird heist story. I’ve got a non-fiction piece on Dorothy Hughes’ The Expendable Man coming out: she’s one of the finest noir voices ever but seldom gets credit for the her extraordinary work.
Are there any new books or writers that you are looking forward to later in the year?
Oh, too many! My TBR pile is huge. I know I’m counting down the days until Brazill’s Cold London Blues is out. Patti Abbott’s Shot in Detriot is out but I mistakenly ordered it in the States so I either have to shell out for a copy here or just wait until I’m in NY this fall.
Anything you’d like to add?
I should add that my novella Satan’s Sorority is noir though it looks more like weird fiction. There’s nothing that happens in the book that needs a supernatural explanation—it’s pure crime fiction. Sexy crime fiction 😉
Thanks Graham for a really enlightening interview! To learn more about Graham check out the wordpress site HERE.