Welcome back! Can you believe it's the end of Janaury already? I just had an exciting weekend with my first "free" day through Amazon Select. Hope to post some results later this week. But, this is The Same Six Questions and it's not about me. Welcome aboard Liame Dethridge!
Hello, Andy! I live in Ipswich; a weird place in the South East of The United Kingdom. I spend all day, every day writing fiction and non-fiction, composing and producing jazz and electronic music and producing large-scale abstract expressionist artworks. I have been many things in my life, and I've undertaken many different jobs and vocations. I currently devote myself entirely to creative pursuits. I enjoy writing immensely; it is something that I feel I would like to do for the remainder of my days. I was diagnosed with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder in 2007 and this has had a profound impact on my day to day life. Most notably, however, bipolar disorder has introduced me to an exceptional creativity; one that makes creative writing an especially rewarding pursuit. I have a wild and expansive imagination and my works are often infused with a spectrum of diverse literary colours. I have a sense of humour and it's one that generally finds its way into my fiction and non-fiction alike. I like smoking too much, pushy women and David Lynch films. Nice to meet you.
The Same Six Questions
1. Have you published a book yet?
I have not yet published a book. I have, however, written a 128,000 word screenplay that intentionally blurs the boundaries between off the shelf fiction and movie narrative. It is entitled 'Interrupted Darkness' and it is my intention to collaborate with a gifted filmmaker in its production. I have composed and produced the film soundtrack for Interrupted Darkness too, in addition to the overall sound design for the production.
My current work in progress is entitled Bad Jimmy.
Jimmy Franklyn is borne of a character that we have all come across in the course of our lives, but one we have seldom understood. He is the misunderstood prodigy; the young eccentric; a boy with a passion for the finer things in life and imbued with an unreservedly direct way of attaining them. He's the boy next door ... the unusual, perplexing and somewhat surprising boy next door.
It is my hope that Bad Jimmy will one day soon achieve mainstream literary circulation, and in so doing, furnish me with the private helicopter I have craved since infancy ... the one with the tinted windows and the mini-bar.
2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I first had the inclination to write creatively when being berated for truancy at school. I had an on/off relationship with school attendance from the age of 14 and, as a result, I faired less well academically than would have been hoped for. My English tutor retained her belief in my abilities however, and encouraged me to focus on what she believed was a defined area of skill; English Language. Her approach and her encouragement would lead to a newfound belief in my abilities and I have thanked her ever since.
The definitive moment of realisation however, would come some years later; when I met my former wife, Anne-Marie. I would create bizarre stories on the spot and calmly relay them to her as if from memory; non-sensical and deliberately tangential tales that would digress into weird and speculative territories before returning to make an overall poignant moral point; something to lend context and meaning to the absurdities of my former words. Anne-Marie would patiently entertain my stories and, now and again, interject questions designed to throw my prose and form; seeing if I could recover from the change in direction. Sometimes I would stumble, sometimes I would recover. From that point on, I made it my mission to always creatively recover. One stressful day when, in hindsight, I had not timed my offering particularly well, she would simply say;
'Can't you write a book or something?'
I remember thinking 'You know, that's not a bad idea.'
And so here I am; subjecting the world to my unique lunacy, with a kind-hearted moral undertone. Thanks Annie ... and I'm sorry.
3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?
My first written fiction was entitled 'The Intravenous Theatre.' It was very dark in nature and, in truth, it was rather ill-conceived.
It had some very unsettling undertones. It was written during a particularly bleak period in my life and it heavily reflected my somewhat pessimistic outlook of the time. I allowed two people to read it. One of these people loved it and gave me glowing feedback, whereas the other person found it repellent and disturbing. 'Horrifying' was the exact word that they used. Given the 50/50 nature of the feedback, I felt none the wiser. I asked the two people concerned to read it again, but this time included the cover art; A collage of brooding imagery and themes by the same name.
I recall the reaction vividly. I was taken to one side by the father of my then girlfriend, during a birthday celebration, and told in no uncertain terms to place a sizeable distance between myself and his daughter. Given the nature of his words, which I won't divulge, and the subsequent parting of company, I felt it might be for the best to radically alter the piece. The other person enjoyed it all the more second time around and gave me equally glowing feedback for the accompanying cover art.
Given that 50% of the market had seen it fit to disown me, I burnt it, along with the accompanying art piece. Whilst I still sometimes regret this action I do think that perhaps it was for the best. If nothing else, it served to illustrate that you can ostracize people if you don't consider your subject matter carefully. In retrospect, I am glad that it met with immolation and glad that I was able to move on from it.
4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?
My first indication of being able to write something that someone else would enjoy, occurred during a stay in Marylebone, London, at the age of 15.
I was staying at a friend's who lived above a very busy pub and I was struggling to find the money to travel from one part of the city to the other via the tube network. I remember sneaking into the pub one night at around two in the morning, borrowing 10 GBP from the cash register and writing a note as to my intentions, for the owner.
The note simply read;
'I have taken Ten Pounds without asking. I know this wasn't technically the right thing to do but I've been eating bits of cold ham for 5 days and I need to eat something that smells normal. I'm going to Camden to sell my skateboard and when I return I'll give you the money back. Sorry ... that kid with the hair from upstairs.'
Written in all earnest and completely unaware of the reception I'd receive, I reluctantly returned with a pocketful of change and a sorry look on my face. Far from the reception I expected, the owner actually poured me a drink and said I could keep the tenner. He framed my note and put it on display behind the bar, saying that 'it was the best thing he'd read in a long time.'
Apparently, it raised a few smiles for some years afterwards.
5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?
I'd like to meet Emily Barr-Featherham from my book Bad Jimmy.
I could elaborate, but I don't think I will.
You'll have to read it. You won't forget her, I feel sure.
6. It's a dark and stormy night...you're alone in the house...there's a knock at the door...you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?
There's a monkey without a face ... just an endlessly black hole where its mouth should be and a movement under its skin that suggests that its facial features are somehow intact beneath its taught layer of newly-formed facial tissue. There are different voices emanating from the endlessly deep hole in the centre of its crude face and they're whispering over one another; sometimes audible and sometimes drowned out by a chorus of similarly abstracted voices, but there's a faint impression of high-pitched Victorian Era circus music also; coming from deep inside the endless black abyss.
Thanks so much for sharing with us, Liame! Good luck with the book. Sounds like you're on your way. For more of Liame and to keep up with his writing exploits, check out his Web page or follow him on Twitter.
Be sure to stop back in on Thursday, when my guest will be John Blackport! See you!