My aren’t the weeks just speeding by? I can hardly believe that it’s only 2 more Fridays until the UK Meet and until the Not Quite Shakespeare anthology will be available to buy. [Or you can comment to these interview posts for a chance to win a copy].
I’m looking forward very much to both the anthology and the Meet but for the moment am making do with grabbing the authors contributing to the anthology and forcing them to answer questions about their work. Today’s
victim author is Sam Evans.
Have you always lived in the UK? If not what drew you back?
I was born and bred in the North West of England just outside Manchester in ex-coal mining town, semi famous for its Rugby League and that’s pretty much were I have always lived!
Is there any place that is a must-see for any visitor to the uk?
With the exception of London (and even I get excited when I go there – still) I think the Lake District is a must see place. It’s a beautiful part of the country, home to Beatrix Potter, Wordsworth, the Wainwright Lakeland Fell books (you might need to look these up) and of course the Lakes. I still love going there and it’s about two hours from my house straight up the M6.
In how many counties have you lived? Cosmopolitan or rural?
I’ve not really travelled very far, all my homes have been within quite urban built up areas – think coal mines, cotton mills and industry. Technically now though I reside in Cheshire, but my family home is only live five minutes down the road and that’s situated in Lancashire. I’ve also lived in Merseyside (at University) and close enough to Manchester United Football Ground that I could hear the shouts and boo’s on match day.
My other half was brought up on a farm so when I visited him I couldn’t sleep because there was no traffic outside, sirens, drunk people shouting, not a thing. Now I’m a bit more used to it and I have driven a tractor and can wrangle chickens to collect eggs, but the difference in the two environments is so overwhelming at first.
What inspired you to write your story for the anthology?
My story is based in Blackpool, with is a seaside town on the North West of England. Most people who live in the UK have either heard of it, visited it, or both and most have wide ranging opinions of the place – some good, some bad (I know I asked).
The inspiration for the story came after I visited the town with family (it’s about 50 minutes from my house) to see the ‘famous’ Illuminations’. We spent time walking up and down the Promenade and in particular looking at the Comedy Carpet which sits on the promenade right in the front of Blackpool Tower. On it is the name of every comedian (think Tommy Cooper, Morecombe and Wise, Peter Kay) Hollywood stars (Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra) and any other performer who has graced the town’s stages.
When I got home and dug a little further into its history I found that Blackpool was, at one point the place to go if you wanted to get famous and still to this day over 17 million people visit Blackpool every year. However rather than concentrate on the rowdiness, the hen and stag parties that grace Blackpool’s streets I wanted to do something a little different and original to show it off a little and that’s where the story grew from
Could you tell me a little about it?
The story is called Illumination and centre’s around Josef Sivok a joiner who works for his uncle. We meet him on a cold stormy Blackpool night as he about to say goodbye to the beloved theatre he inherited off a family member. Unfortunately a lack of cash and funding has resulted in Josef’s family selling it to The National Trust – who want to do ‘god knows what’ to it. He thinks is just handing over the keys but instead he meets a very cute and bossy NT representative called Maxwell Bond and takes him on a tour of the building.
Could you please tell me about your other work?
This is my first published work. I’m a bit of a nervous, anxiety ridden first timer. When I wrote Illumination I never expected it to be picked, I just wanted to write, finish a small project and formally submit something.
The process has taught me so much, about formatting, grammar, story build up and how to catch the IRS’s attention.
What are you working on at the moment?
My current project is novella, set at Manchester Pride 2013 and is loosely based on an overheard conversation between three guys who I met whilst watching the parade go past on the Saturday afternoon. One of the men spent the whole time complaining about the red leather shirt he had been made to wear and the story bloomed from that.
I also have a hankering to write about a serial killer….
Please could we have an excerpt?
This is the beginning from Illumination my NQS story:
Josef Sivok couldn’t help but stare up at the gable end of the Blackpool Lyceum with its decaying woodwork and crumbling render. A particularly strong gust of wind had just crashed into its side wall and deposited what looked like a skipload of sand and debris at the base of it.
“Shit.” He said under his breath, kicking out at the pile with a steel-toe-capped boot. There was probably enough sand sat there to create his own desert island, and he swirled the boot in a figure of eight in it.
The wind that blew from the Irish Sea tonight was relentless, bringing in waves high enough to crash over the sea wall. It was making him grimace with every facial muscle he had each time a gust of it hit the side wall of the building.
That last time it had caught the black cast-iron guttering that ran down the length of the building.
Jo’s ears, already highly trained listening devices, could hear the metal brackets that where supposed to hold the iron pipework to the brick scraping from side to side as the downspout fought against each strong gust of wind that hit it.
He thought it was bad enough standing outside exposed to the elements, but to watch them it destroy parts of his beloved building was like twisting the knife in the wound.
He should probably stop calling it that and just get used to the idea. Because as of three o’clock that day, the paperwork had been signed and the Lyceum was no more Josef’s building than it was that of the average person walking down the street.
Or it would be, as soon as the new owners picked up the keys from him.
Oh and the cover and blurb of Not Quite Shakepeare are now available!
Take a ride to Northern Scotland on the famous train, the Jacobite, and rediscover desire. Get lost in the Peace Maze in Northern Ireland during a downpour and let a handsome young redhead come to the rescue. Take a tour of historical Blackpool on the English coast and set the stage for the perfect romance. From England to the outer isles, the UK holds treasure troves of romance, history, intrigue, and—naturally—quirky British humor. Not Quite Shakespeare samples it all in fifteen stories.
A man in London makes an accidental confession of sexual need to a virtual stranger who happens to be his boss. An American revisits West Sussex and rekindles an old flame with a romp in the stables. A couple finds their perfect third while vacationing on a pig farm in Yorkshire. In the office, on the race track, or in the kitchen baking bread—romance in the UK is alive and well, and full of sweet surprise.
Ninety-nine Problems by Becky Black
The Jacobite by Bette Browne
Illumination by Sam Evans
Wag, Not a Dog by Theo Fenraven
The Benefits of Hindsight by MA Ford
Apollo, Heathcliff, and Hercules by S.A. Garcia
Misadventures of Mislaid Men by Penny Hudson
Rough Tackle by Annabelle Jacobs
Bread and Butter Pudding by Jules Jones
First Contact by Rhidian Brenig Jones
Chanctonbury Ring by Sarah Madison
Tops Down, Bottoms Up by Jay Northcote
In the Doghouse by Chris Quinton
Wrong Number by Megan Reddaway
Best Vacation Ever by Rob Rosen
You can pre-order it HERE