Please welcome fellow Rebel, Stuart Yates to the backroom today.
Been hearing a lot of weird noises outside this afternoon … let’s hope we get this interrogation over with before whatever is making those unfortunate sounds works out there are people in here.
What’s your favorite type of takeaway? (Yes, that means take-out in NZ speak)
Describe your current mental status.
Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?
I have 2 works I’m working on – the third in my Hardrada series, which includes plenty of flashbacks,and tells of Hardrada’s early life in Norway. Hardrada has fascinated me for years; he was a real historical person, almost a legendary figure, but nobody had ever done this great man justicve. I thought the time was ripe. The first volume is doing okay and is receiving fantastic reviews. The second will be out soon (late November, 2014 I hope!). I plan on producing 5 volumes as his life is so jam-packed full of adventure, this is the only way to get it all down! I’m also working on a futuristic thriller called Life Minus One, which is essentially about how the rich are going to secure their future by getting rid of almost everybody else, except those who will do all the work! This may or not be apocalyptic, but is certainly very disturbing!
What’s your favorite avoidance technique?
I avoid avoidance techniques
Do you have a favorite coffee or tea?
Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, perhaps you prefer commando?)
I work, full-time, as a humanities teacher, but when I’m writing (weekends and holidays) I get up at 7.30, have my breakfast of coffee and a slice of toast, sit down in front of my pc by 8am, and write. I have a break at around 10.30 – 11am for another coffee, then I continue until around 1pm, sometimes 2pm. When I’m working on rewrites, this can be a considerably longer day as I’m often impatient to get the book finished as others are backing up.
Where do you do most of your writing? (On a train? On a plane? In a car or in a bar?)
At my desk/table in my house
What’s on your desk right now? (If indeed you work at a desk or desk like surface containing stuff.)
Books for my research, post-its for scribbled notes, my pc, an empty coffee mug, a few pens.
Who would you turn gay/straight for?
I’m too old to even consider this
Who are your favorite writers?
Harlan Coben, Henning Mankell, Cormac McCarthy
Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?
No, but my daughters used to
Describe your perfect day.
Not this one
Who is your favorite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?
There was a Korean guy in two of Harlan’s books, but I cannot remember his name. He was truly awful.
Do you have any quirks?
All-time favorite movie and why?
Shane … it’s what’s not said, or explained, which makes it so enthralling. Where has he come from, and where does he go? It is a wholesome film, with no sex or swearing, just a very simple story superbly told and photographed. Apart from ‘The Last Valley’, which I love and ‘The Lion in Winter’, which is just about the finest medieval period film EVER made, most of my favourite films are westerns – Once upon a Time in the West is simply brilliant, as is Unforgiven with Eastwood. If a film brings tears to my eyes then, for me, it is special. All those do. I want to write a Western, and I have some ideas. One day I will.
Red or white wine?
Do you enjoy the editing process?
Yes, I do.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
Burgundy, in France. The scenery is simply awesome and there is so much of it. I love France, and the French. Second place would be Brittany, which reminds me of how England used to be about 50 years ago. And, of course, the houses are so much cheaper than they are in the UK, and the wine is great, the cheese and the bread… a dream.
What is one thing you know about New Zealand? (Please do not mention LOTR or The Hobbit. Am well over them! One mention of anything Tolkien related I’ll let in whatever is bashing on the door …)
Richard Hadlee. GREAT cricketer, perhaps your best.
Favorite Pizza topping?
Olives and jalapeno peppers
What were you before you became a writer?
A junior schoolboy
What is the most random thing you have ever done?
Impulsive? Sending an email to Harlan Coben to tell him how one of his books moved me … and he wrote back, which made me jump with joy.
If you’re not writing, what are you most likely doing?
Thinking about writing
Who is your ultimate character?
Mine? Harald Hardrada. Other than that, James Bond, of course!
What are your favorite genres to read and write?
Dystopian thrillers, thrillers, historical thrillers…in that order
Inspiration – where do you get yours?
I have no idea. Life, I guess. I wake up at the weekends, excited with another day of writing. I’ve spent the week building myself up to it, thinking of scenes, dialogues, etc, so by the time Saturday morning comes I’m ready. But inspiration is a strange concept, one which I don’t think about. I don’t look for it, or struggle, the ideas simply come. I’ve never suffered from so-called ‘writer’s block’ and have never sought out any instructional manuals on how to develop plots. I see the story as a film in my head, so perhaps that’s my inspiration? Who knows.
Whiskey or Bourbon?
I prefer Bourbon, but Cognac beats it hands down
I can hear something trying pretty hard to get through the fire door … any clue what it is?
A small child, no doubt a victim of the zombie apocalypse, searching for her parents so she can feast on their flesh. Why is it zombies are always cannibals? What if they were vegetarians or vegans in life? And if they are dead, wouldn’t they all just rot away in time? So, all we have to do, is keep well away until they are all dust. I think the only film that was in any way even partly believable was ’28 Days Later’, I which the infected had a virus, but were not dead. I love ‘The Walking Dead’, but it is the characters and their inter-action which gives the series such depth, not the basic premise of the dead coming back to life. I mean…REALLY?
Have you ever been to New Zealand? And if not, why not?
No, far too expensive to get there
What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in.)
Two pen-drives, one with my PowerPoint presentation on…I won’t let it out of my sight until it’s done!
Are you apocalypse prepared?
No. But I know where to get some guns and a katana from the Edo Period. It is still sharp!
Laptop, PC, tablet?
Depends what for … PC for writing, tablet for chatting
Ebook or tree book?
Both…although I prefer real books and going into a bookshop is amongst my greatest pleasures.
Tequila or vodka?
Neither, they both taste like petrol
Favorite apocalyptic scenario?
The Road by Cormac McCarthy, or On the Beach by Nevil Shute. You simply don’t know why it’s happened. You have some clues with The Road, but not many. On the Beach explores the aftermath of a nuclear war, but nothing is explained in any huge detail. This is what makes them so damned scary. They allow your own imagination to do the work, and that is GREAT storytelling.
Do you write in silence or work best with background noise or music happening?
I listen to music whilst I write – Tangerine Dream, Brian Eno, Mike Oldfield and movie soundtracks, but nothing with lyrics. Words distract me.
You made it. Good job. Now let’s get out of here before whatever’s outside that door breaks through.