Monday, March 4, 2013

Ten Questions for Five Writers.

Tom Vater kindly asked me to play a chain interview.

Tom Vater is a writer working in South and South East Asia. He writes both in English and German. His articles have been published around the world. He is the author of several books and has co-written a number of documentary screenplays for European television and cinema. TIME Magazine described his recent work as 'exuberant writing'.

The idea is I do the interveiw and then ask the same ten questions to five other writers.

They are being shot on to the following five Asia based writers.

Tom Tuohy – Non-fiction writer. Watching the Thais. Thailand.

Thom Locke – Fiction writer – The Ming Inheritance. Thailand..

Ujwwal Dey – Mumbai based author and editor of Freedom Fiction. India.

Ismeal Galvan. Splatter Punk novelist of Blubber Island. Japan.

Guy Lilburne. The Thai Dragon. Thailand.

But first, my interview.

What is the title of your book?

Bangkok Express.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Tom Vater put it better than I could in his Chaing Mai City News review:

“Bangkok Express is a wild and uneven ride through Thailand’s seedy underbelly.”

What genre does your book fall under?

If there is such a genre as,

Pulp Crime Thriller,

It’ll be in that one.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

As most ideas do it flew through my window one day in the shape of an insect. It had beautiful purple wings and it sang to me in a tired voice. I held it in the palm of my hand and said, ‘Eureka…’

I jest.

The germ of an idea may come in a dream or while walking down the street. Or while walking down the street in a dream for that matter. The actual execution of that idea onto the page is an entirely different animal. The idea is the easy part. I have a hundred ideas each day for new books. The trick is trying to shape that idea into something saleable.

That’s the trick.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

From the first draft of Bangkok Express to the current version has taken around eight years.

It was my first effort. I felt I had to put it out in the stores first. I’ve written a lot of other books, short stories and articles.

Bangkok Express was my first.

I lost my virginity to it.

So to speak.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Read enough books. It is only natural to want to write books. I read thousands of books as a kid, thought I had a chance at writing one.

But that particular book?

I was living in a beautiful country and I wanted to tell the world about it. I was twenty-four years old.

Like I say, a virgin.

I learned more about the country and updated the novel as I discovered new crime stories and read new writers.

No one thing or person inspires one to write. It is not a choice. I can’t choose not to write. It’s more like an addiction or a compulsion (much the same thing.)  Each book is a new circle of hell, but I love the process, especially the early romance with a project. The final edits are like a bitter divorce. Who gets to keep what? Having your shortcomings shoved down your throat before the final judgement. I am getting better, I hope.

What inspired me to write the book? The first sentence. Then the next one.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

A Thai-based publisher handles the electronic angle. My print books are under my own imprint with a nice distribution deal with a Thai based operator. I came close to a deal with a New York agent two years ago, the deal fell through and I decided to just try and get the word out. Maybe I’ll go the agent route for the next one, or maybe not.

What other works would you compare this book to within your genre?

I try to keep things light and comical so Charles Bukowski’s last novel Pulp, perhaps. Thailand based David Young writes some cracking books over here. It seems we share some of the same readers. Sukhumvit Road by Young would be a nice comparison. And of course anything by Burroughs, Chandler, Cain.

One reviewer compared me to James Ellroy, another to Hunter S. Thompson. I'm wise enough to know I'm nowhere close to these guys or any of the others above.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

John Cusack as Joe Dylan. Devon Aoki as Gantira. Some badass as Shogun. Directed by Stephen Chow. And if you’re reading Steve, Steve, Steve?

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

All characters are named after members of my direct family and the students that I teach English in Bangkok. I have to care about my cast...

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