Welcome to my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, scriptwriters, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with literary novelist and spotlightee Guy Portman. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Guy. Please tell us something about yourself.
Morgen: You’re very welcome, Guy. Great to have you back. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Guy: Charles Middleworth is my first book, it is Literary Fiction. I am seriously considering other genres for future books.
Morgen: You’ve self-published, what led to you going your own way?
Guy: It seemed like the most rational decision considering the current publishing situation and the fact that my book is not what I imagine publishers would necessarily consider as a commercially viable commodity, like a vampire and / or erotica genre book for example.
Morgen: Are your books available as eBooks? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Guy: Charles Middleworth is available in both paper form and as an eBook. Personally Morgen I always loved paper, but since the purchase of my iPhone I have been coming round more and more to eBooks. They’re fantastic, but paper will always be the closest to my heart.
Morgen: Which author(s) would you compare your writing to?
Guy: I wouldn’t really compare my writing to anyone. However the writing of Mark Haddon and Will Self have had a strong influence on me. One of my readers compared me in his Amazon review to a latter day Thackeray, a comment I very much appreciated.
Morgen: Will’s great. I met him a couple of years ago when my local council had author talks (also Hilary Mantel, Alexis Sayle, Wendy Cope and many more). Sadly they don’t have the budget any more. Mark is actually from the same county as I’m living in but I’ve not come across him other than a brief conversation on Twitter. 🙂 Did you have any say cover of your book?
Guy: I had some ideas for the cover of my book but it was mostly down to the cover designer. She did an amazing job as the front cover really captures the essence of the story.
Morgen: If your book were to be made into a film, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Guy: Good question. I’m really not too sure who would play my main character, Adrian. He’s an actuary by profession and not your typical Hollywood hero type. I guess there would need to be auditions. As for the villain, Theodore, someone suave, vain and arrogant would be required. Umm. Matthew McConaughey would be ideal, though he’d need to do an English accent and from what ‘acting’ I’ve seen him do I’m not convinced he could. Theodore’s Russian wife will be played by the Ukrainian Bond girl Olga Kurylenko. Well at least that’s the plan; I haven’t actually asked her yet.
Morgen: What are you working on next?
Guy: I am about to embark on some short stories.
Morgen: What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Guy: Charles Middleworth is written in the third person due to the fact that I deemed it to be the most appropriate choice for the story. However I would love to write a book in the first person in the future, maybe even the next one. As for the second person I must admit that the concept had never even occurred to me.
Morgen: Most writers have either never heard of it or don’t like it. A few of us quirky ones actually love it. 🙂 What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Guy: I loved writing my book and am really enjoying working on my blog as well. With regards the least favourite aspect, to date it has been the formatting of the paperback version of Charles Middleworth. It was a particularly irksome activity, never to be repeated. Fortunately I paid a company to format the eBook version or I might not be here today.
Morgen: Definitely worth it then. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Guy: I suppose just enjoy it.
Morgen: If a writer doesn’t enjoy their work it’ll likely show to the reader. Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Guy: There is one phrase that springs to mind though not necessarily one I particularly like. At school the headmaster always used to say Carpe Diem (seize the day) and encouraged all pupils and staff members to embrace this phrase. It’s frightfully pompous really, but I guess he had a point and at any rate after hearing it incessantly through my formative years, I’ll never be rid of it now.
Morgen: I’d not heard of it until I watched ‘Dead Poet’s Society’, a great film. And we should seize the day so he was right. Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Guy: I am currently embracing social media in all, well most of its forms (Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin). Social media can be fun and I have met some really friendly, interesting and helpful people, especially on Twitter.
Morgen: What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Guy: Every writer’s future will be unique to them. Ideally for me it will consist of vast wealth, the respect and love of humanity and the knowledge that my name will live for eternity. However in reality if I feel I am making a difference and being appreciated then I will probably be quite content.
Morgen: Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Guy: I have a blog www.guyportman.com.
Morgen: Is there anything you’d like to ask me?
Guy: It’s a remarkable achievement doing a writer interview every single day Morgen. When do you find time to do your own writing?
Morgen: <laughs> I do struggle although I’ve been writing a story a day since last June and am eBooking them which is great. I do have to set aside chunks of time for longer projects (such as NaNoWriMo and existing novels) but I’m lucky in that I don’t have a day job. Thank you, Guy.
I then invited Guy to include an extract of his writing and the following is from ‘Charles Middleworth’…
The meeting hall is a cold, austere and unwelcoming building that adjoins Foley village church. It is constructed of red brick and terracotta tiles; quite typical of the period in which it was built. Adrian is apprehensive, fearful of what he might discover there. Tentatively he opens the wooden door and enters the hall.
The room is bathed in a luminous light that causes him to squint momentarily. As he surveys the bleached walls and orderly rows of chairs, the distinctive odour of disinfectant pervades his nostrils, giving him the impression that this sterile, sanitised environment resembles a laboratory.
‘Hey Adrian, over here.’ Franklin is standing by the far wall bearing a rather manic expression, all bulging eyes and agitation.
‘Hello Franklin,’ greets Adrian.
‘We meet again,’ says Franklin, gesturing with one hand towards an adolescent stood by his side.
‘This is Tempest my nephew.’
‘Good evening Tempest, nice to meet you.’
Tempest does not immediately respond. Adrian examines the diminutive youth warily, finding it most disturbing that his complexion is so pallid, as to be positively cadaverous, which contrasts alarmingly with the darkness of his hair and what appears to be mascara around his eyes.
And a synopsis of the same book…
What happens when Adrian, an actuary, has his banal and predictable existence turned upside down by sinister forces that he can neither understand nor control? How will he react to a revelation that leaves his life in turmoil? Will he surrender or strive for redemption in an altered world, where rationality, scientific logic and algorithms no longer provide the answers?
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on the mixed blog but everything else (see Opportunities on the main blog) is free.
Alternatively, if you’d like a free Q&A-only interview, I now have this blog, https://morgensauthorinterviews.wordpress.com, on which I’ve rerun the original interviews posted here then posted new interviews which I then reblog here. These interviews are Q&A only, so I don’t add in my comments but they do get exposure on both sites.
If you go for the interview, it’s very simple; I send you a questionnaire (I have them for novelists, short story authors, children’s authors, non-fiction authors, and poets). You complete the questions, and I let you know when it’s going to go live. Before it does so, I add in comments as if we’re chatting, and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
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