Sakina Murdock came to visit me from the other side of the pond today. Charlie is very excited to see her. This might not end well.
E: Welcome to the blog. Have a seat, make yourself comfy. Charlie wanted me to make you scones and tea, but I told him he was a racist and he should go back to rotting in the corner like a good corpse. Unless you wanted some tea…
S: I hate tea. Unless it’s green tea. Or fruit-herb-don’t-know-what-the-shit-it-is-but-it’s-good-for-me tea. Cheese scones, yes. No tea.
E: Your book is called Autotherapy. What can you tell us about it?
S: Autotherapy is a vampire novel with a difference. Lots of differences. It’s not a horror in the true sense; a detective thriller. It gives us a twisted, scientific reason for a vampiric condition with serious implications for the future of humankind, and is seriously short of the gothic romance which you normally get (sired vampires, deep love and posh people). It’s set in secret tunnels underground, disused quarries, merciless weather and English countryside, and the intention was not only to write a great story, but to capture the essence of Cumbria’s Eden Valley, too. I live in a really magical place, and I’m a natural show-off.
E: Do you have anything new in the works?
S: I’m working on a couple of ideas right now. One’s a premise; environmental disaster backdrop, which I’m really excited about. I haven’t yet wrestled my characters into position. The other is sitting in my laptop with a third of the story blocked out, heavily involving spirit possession, but with a mental health theme.
Where are the cheese scones? I thought there were going to be scones.
I briefly considered reminding her that the scones were Charlie’s idea, and that I called him a racist corpse, but I figured if I pretended not to hear her, she would stop asking for them.
E: Who are your favorite authors and what was the last book you’ve read?
S: My favourite all time author is Terry Pratchett. I never read a book of his that I didn’t love. I read them again and again, and I always laugh. The last book I read was Alan Bennett’s Smut – Two unseemly stories. It was laugh-out-loud funny, examining the intricacies of ‘ordinary’ people and their relationships. Just hilarious. I also liked it because it was set in suburbs of Leeds, a city I know pretty well.
I take it there are no scones.
It appears that ignoring the scones is not, in fact, making them go away.
E: You also do some freelance work, right? What’s that like?
S: It’s the best ever. Writing words that people pay you for. It’s also a nightmare, because all I want to do is write, 24/7, and live happily ever after, but I’m not ready to jump to full time writing just yet. My strategy requires a few more maneuvers yet.
I only stayed for the scones. I love cheese scones.
E: You have a day job in the medical field. How much does that help you when you’re writing?
S: Sorry, Erin, it’s way not a medical job. I work in home care, which involves assisting older and disabled people with tasks they struggle with, to enable them to live independently in their own homes. Tasks run from personal care, to cooking and cleaning, and helping with medications and ailments, but the main aim for me is to get my customers laughing. If there’s a smile and a joke, then life doesn’t seem so bad, does it?
E: You live and write from the UK. What can you tell us about the differences between the European and North American markets? Are there things you have to do for one that you don’t for the other, etc.?
S: Oh man, I have no idea what that even means. Beyond spelling, requirements seem to be the same across the board, but that’s probably because I’m brand new, and I know nothing.
You know, you probably shouldn’t invite people over on the basis of something which isn’t true. I could have done with some scones. Slathed in slightly salted butter.
E: What piece of advice has someone given you that you found to be the most helpful, and what was the worst piece of advice someone gave you?
S: The best piece of advice lately was when my mum told me to move my face away from the dog’s face. As I got up, he bit me on the arm. To be fair, I think I knelt on his tummy fur as I stood, but hell am I glad I had my face turned away. Right on my sunburn, mind you. Wear sunscreen is probably the best bit of advice ever.
Bad advice is harder. I try to listen to advice, but I assess it under my own terms and take my own choices. I suspect I’m a know-it-all through and through. Bad advice makes things difficult sometimes, but I always make my own decisions. Only got myself to blame for bad ones.
Gimme the scones or the corpse gets it!