Thursday, 24 May 2012

Author Interview: Callum Gibson

Tell us about your novella Buckle
Buckle is a short story about a guy named Chuck and his failing relationships with the women in his life and the little spot of darkness that lurks in his brain – that lurks in all of our brains. The thing is, Chuck’s is starting to grow, it’s starting to speak, and it’s may just start to control him. It’s a horror story without monsters, a romance without love, and, in some places, a comedy without jokes.

What inspired you to write it?
A few years ago I got an email about a short-horror competition ran by some website or another and, though I really wanted to enter, I had nothing that quite fitted the bill. The problem was that the closing date was only a few hours after I’d read the email and so I set about quickly writing a 3,000 word short, and I wrote the most horrific things I could think of. I suppose I wasn’t in the best of places back then and found myself annoyed with almost everything and everyone. I felt low and lonely, bullied by fate (yeah, that’s how it felt) and perpetually hungover and in the three hours it took to write the original iteration of Buckle it seemed that all of that, um, poison poured out of me and onto the laptop. So, yeah, I was going through a bit of a rough patch and I got to wondering, what if it wasn’t just a rough patch? What if someone’s entire life was one long rough-patch? What if some poor guy’s life was a constant slog of misery, emasculation, and failure? What if he turned inward to his own fantasies as a release, and what if those fantasies were darker then he ever thought possible?
Over the years Buckle has changed and grown to, what is now, the finished thing. I wanted to write a horror but, although it is horrific in places, I consider it to be more of a love story. A sad and often demented love story, but a love story nonetheless.

Are you a planner or do you write more organically?
It depends what I’m writing really. I always have a bit of a plan, but how detailed the plan is very much depends how long/complex the piece I’m working on is. But, much like any plans, they grow and change as the writing begins to build and take shape and by the end the original plan couldn’t look more different from the finished thing if it tried.

What are your strengths as a writer? What do you feel you do well?
That’s a hard thing to answer and honestly, I’m not sure. I know I like my characters and I think I draw them in relatable ways, that no matter how huge their faults are, or how dislikable, there will always be some feature of them that will allow the reader to identify with them. I like the way my characters often say disgusting things but still come off as being quite sweet. I’ve also been told that I’m pretty good with language, that my writing has a certain rhythm to it, which is nice. Oh, and I’m good at swearing too – that’s a definite. I consider myself to be quite poetic when it comes to vulgarity.

What are your weaknesses. Where do you feel you could improve as a writer?
What could I improve on? Everything, I guess. But that’s the whole point, isn’t it – to keep writing, to keep getting better and better, to keep learning. And I also have a weakness for terrible jokes that I always stick in my stories even though I’m probably the only person who finds them funny. They mostly come out in the edit, but sometimes I just can’t help myself.

Who is your favourite author and why?
My favorite author is Stephen King. Everything he writes tends to blow my mind whilst melting my face and it was his book It that made me want to be a writer in the first place. There was something about the way it was written, about his characters, about… everything, that spoke to me. It made me want to have a go, in the hope that one day I’d be able to write something that would touch someone in the way his book had touched me.

If you were to write a soundtrack for Buckle what 5 songs do you feel you couldn't leave out?
Awesome question, and one that’ll probably take an hour or so to answer and, even when it’s done, it’ll probably still come back to me over and over again and I’ll kick myself for things I’ve missed. Right, I’ll have a swing at it, in no particular order.
Pain for Pleasure – Sum 41
Losing My Touch – The Rolling Stones
St Anger – Metallica
Beautiful – HIM
Dead Man’s Gun – Ashtar Command

Are you currently working on any other writing projects?
Yeah. I guess like any other writers there’s always something to be getting on with. Right now I’m going through the edit of a new novella that will hopefully be coming out soon called Year of the Rat. I’m also working on a sequel to the coming-of-age novel I wrote whilst doing my MA at university and that’s taking up most of my time.

Where can my readers find out more about you?
I’m on Twitter at @airisbad1, so if anyone’s interested in listening to my ramblings on a regular basis then hit me up on there. I’m also on Facebook if you want to pop on over to that. And finally, if anyone out there wants to hook up on the Playstation my PSN ID is airisbad. Come and join in the fun.

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