I am thrilled to be today’s stop on Soho Honey Blog tour A.W. Rock has kindly agreed to take part in my Q&A interview for the occasion
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
In my youth I spent too much time around Soho – its streets, bars and clubs – basically hanging out with no particular intent and with no-one in particular.
I grew up in London and in my mid-teens I started visiting the jazz club,100 Oxford Street and after the performances finished I would gravitate down into Soho. If Ronnie Scott’s was still open I
would drop in there or I would visit the Marquee club. Then in the early hours I would go down into Chinatown to one of the all night restaurants and have some wind-dried duck and dumplings.
It was those early influences that shaped my life. I enjoyed the solitary way of life – probably due to childhood experience; solitary but never lonely.
I have met a great variety of uniquely engaging and eccentric people during my time in Soho.
I questioned everything from a very young age – and still do.
When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? And how did you go about it?
In the front of every book I have read I have written a critique of the story structure and my opinion of the dialogue and writing.
My biggest indulgence for many years has been to take several books on holiday and a notebook.
After reading I would write scenes or chapters of my own, in no particular order or context, and after returning home put the notebooks on one side to continue with my work.
Then I decided to write a screenplay which taught me how difficult and how much of a craft writing is.
Although the screenplay was well received it never got a green light to become a film.
I was writing the outline story for a second screenplay and when I got to page 60 realised that I was enjoying the process so much that I didn’t stop until, 2 years later, I had completed 550 pages. After another 2 years of editing, this book eventually became a 350 novel called ‘Soho Honey’
Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for?
I write present day crime thrillers that exist within the claustrophobic confines of Soho, London.
I want to achieve as wide an audience as I can.
What is your writing process? And how long does it take?
I have to persuade myself to start writing in the morning but once I’ve broken the ice I am transferred into the world of Soho that I am familiar with.
Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
Some of my characters are loosely based on people I have known but I give them other charateristics to enhance their drama and oddity. Other characters are invented but could easily be real. I like my characters to be authentic and genuine.
Have you written about a personal experience in your novels?
Yes. I have experienced many of my characters’ adventures but I won’t elaborate here.
What research do you do?
It is very important to me that the detail in every area is correct even though I might only use part of the information. I think it is lazy and disrespectful not to get the detail right. This also applies to the story in which the reader must not have to suspend disbelief in order to continue reading. Lazy story-telling is an insult to the people you hope will read your books.
Who would you co-write with and why?
I couldn’t co-write a book with anybody else because my stories are very personal and can only be told by me. But I have written a screenplay with another writer but even then I had to develop the story and write the initial dialogue myself for the same reasons as above.
I find that it is not until the editing process begins that I can involve someone else and then that person is invaluable.
What’s your favorite book?
I have never had favourites in any area but I do have writers, some of whose work I like e.g. Gogol, in particular his stort story ‘The Overcoat’. His engaging stories contain elements of crime, in an existential way.
Some of Ross Macdonald’s books, for his strong storytelling and strong dialogue.
I like Raymond Chandler’s writing and his insightful descriptions of his characters and his dry humour but his plots often have holes.
I like Stieg Larsson’s ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’. It has a great plot with an extraordinary main character.
Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley books – because of the ominous quality of her books and the way she has captured the sinister character of Ripley.
What is your favorite food?
Again I like selected dishes from a wide range of foods e.g. Pan Asian, good Chinese and Italian food
If I had to live on only one dish I would choose Dim Sum.
What is your favorite film?
As in all areas there is no perfect solution or film.
Films that contain a strong story line from which interesting characters are developed – Cinema Paradiso, Un Coeur en Hiver, Taxi Driver, Ran, Citizen Kane.
Also Aaron Sorkin’s and Charlie Kaufman’s films – for their brilliant screenplays and dialogue, their mad plots and off the wall people, similar to the Cohen Brothers.
What is your favorite song?
I have several songs and artists that move me.
I like the Blues and Soul (Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding), Rock & Roll (Elvis Presley), Motown (Marvin Gaye) and other artists including Tom Waites, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Nora Jones and many others.
How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
By mid April the website – www.sohohoney.com – will be up and running and will have all the info.
Amazon UK link http://amzn.to/1SFzxUC
Amazon US link http://amzn.to/1Urvhtf