Friday, 10 June 2011

Writers talk about writing: Paul D Brazill

(Once you've finished reading what Paul's got to say, check out the whole series of interviews here.)

Now for the next in the series of interviews. Paul D Brazill came into the world kicking and screaming and he hasn’t stopped since. You can find Paul pretty much anywhere there's an interesting discussion going on about crime fiction, often generously promoting the work of others, but the best place to start is at his blog: You Would Say That, Wouldn't You?

We're in a lift, I'm someone important (come on, pretend), you've got thirty seconds (tall building, slow lift) to tell me about your latest book.

‘13 Shots Of Noir’ is a lethal cocktail of dark fiction that will be published pretty damn soon by Untreed Reads.

It starts with a TUT and ends with a THUMP.

Uh-oh. Not sure lifts are meant to stop suddenly between floors like this. Guess we've got a bit more time. Ignore the flickering lights and creaking sounds above us. Would you like to tell me about other books or stories that you have available?

Well, there’s a lot going on at the moment. I recently had a story published online at Beat To A Pulp. LoVINg The Alien is the first part of a serial that I wrote with BTAP’s editor David Cranmer.

I have a story, Guns Of Brixton in the new Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime. I’ve expanded that into a novella which is currently being perused by Pulp Press.

I’ve got a story in the forthcoming Pulp Ink anthology, called The Lady & The Gimp and one in the new ezine Noir Nation, called Who Killed Skippy?

(And speaking of Noir Nation, check out the excellent video trailer.)

And there’s more…my Amazon Author page is here.

Please stop repeatedly pressing the emergency button. The comment about building a ladder of bones to reach the ceiling hatch and get out of here was just blue-skies thinking. So, what are you working on now?

I’m writing a psychic detective story/novella called The Crime Scene and an action/ spy novella called Code Name: Blackwitch- ( Think Nikita meets Catwoman) And there’s a follow up to Guns Of Brixton on the cards called Fulham Fallout.

And there's more ...

Noir. Discuss.


High jump.

I recently gave Dead End Follies my Ten Rules To Write Noir, which is pretty much covers that little topic.

Or, the title of this LP.

You're a tireless and generous promoter of the work of others. How the hell do you find time to write your own stories, and what gives you inspiration to write?

I have none of the money/time consuming commitments that a lot of people have- mortgages, kids- and I don’t need to earn much money for day to day living. So, I only need to work about 20 hours a week. And I work from home so I have more time than lots of people. I'm a cucky lunt.

I have no real idea what kick starts the writing. A word, a sound, a picture, a name. I'm still winging it.

You live in Poland - is there a thriving Polish crime fiction scene that you know of?

No. There really doesn’t seem to be. Maybe it’s due to the effects of communism trying to supress the imagination. The country was emotionally frozen for so long and there is a missing generation, too.

There is no real history of transgressive popular culture here, either. Cultural appreciation seems either to be ‘highbrow’ or completely mainstream, although D Lynch, QT and the Coen’s films seem to do well, so perhaps it will change with the next wave. And more writers like Hammett, Chandler and Megan Abbott are getting translated into Polish too.

In your own writing, what do you think you do well, and what do you wish you could do better?

I’m good at the daft little absurdist moments of normal life and rubbish at writing action scenes. Some of the scenes in Stuart Neville’s The Twelve, for example, are brilliant. Wish I could do that.

Do you have a book or story that you're very fond of, but you think should get more attention from the world than it has.

Not by me. I think I get more than enough attention! But when I read something like Julie Morrigan’s Convictions or Dave Zeltserman’s Blood Crimes, I think, why isn’t this a best seller?

What book do you most wish that you had written?

The Bible.

What is it that really pushes your buttons as a reader?

If I like the cut of someone’s jib, then I’m in. Personality is pretty much everything for me, in all aspects of life.

If you could tell an aspiring writer to ignore one commonly given piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t write what you know, write what you like. Life is short.

Gibbons or tigers? (NB this question is to help me in compiling my List of People Who Are Wrong).

I was born in the Chinese year of the tiger so, rather like Lulu, I’m a ti-grrr!

What’s the difference between American and British crime fiction?

About a couple of zeros on the advance.

How many Nordic crimewriters does it take to change a light bulb?

One. It is a very simple procedure.

Meticulous research is both enjoyable and important / what's the point in writing fiction if you can't just make stuff up - discuss.

Ray Banks once said that he researched just enough to avoid getting caught out and that seems about right to me.


  1. Ah, the legend that is PDB. Fantastic interview, thoroughly enjoyed that - ta! Can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to '13 Shots of Noir'. I reckon that's spot on about research, by the way - too much detail or not enough accuracy both ruin a story. And thanks so much for the kind words - even when it's all about you, you share the love!

    If there's anyone out there who hasn't read Paul's stuff, this is a great time to discover it. Stories that power on like a runaway train, characters that stay with you long after you've finished reading and a deft touch with prose, dialogue and humour that'll leave you breathless, wincing, smiling, or laughing out loud. (Or, if you're also a writer, pretty damn jealous.)

    Watch this space - PDB's gonna be huge. (And get '13 Shots...' when it comes out, it's gonna be epic!)

  2. Great interview, enjoyed the ten rules too,and looking forword to more PDB, but it's hard to keep up, seems I can't read as fast as you write, plus I have to write a little from time to time too.
    Still wonder what brought you to Poland, I heard Berlin has thriving art and lit scene.
    Totaly agree with the research. nobody wants to read pages of facts and details in a fiction novel,I just do as much as I need to get the reader to that place, and the rest is just human emotion and that stand up for any reader in any time period, that's what important. And the weather, I try to get the weather in. lol

    Thanks for shareing

  3. I know from my own experience that PDB is indeed a tireless promoter of other writers. Turnabout is definitely fair play.

  4. Ejoyed reading it! Thanks for the link.

    Ed Lynskey

  5. Congrats on all the new stories you're getting published Paul. Yes, most definitely a great supporter of other writers. It's inspiring :-)

  6. Well Mr. Brazill, King of Noir. You are no slouch when it comes to being interviewed. I'm sure there so much more you could have said, your talent is endless. Ian, you were very smart to have Paul drop by. The best of luck to BOTH OF YOU.

    Jeanette Cheezum

    11 June 2011 02:27

  7. Terrific interview. Can't wait for 13 Shots of Noir.

  8. Great interview. Especially the funny stuff. I say if you're going to write noir, you need a great sense of humor to be balanced. The question remains, though, is any writer balanced? That, I won't answer.

  9. Hi! Paul D.Brazill...
    What a very informative, light and breezy, interview...I too look forward to your upcoming writings.(Printed words...)
    Paul D.Brazill, Thanks for sharing all the links too!
    deedee ;-D

  10. Thanks all. And thanks to Iain for letting me talk cobblers.

  11. At last! An insight into where the mad genius finds time to be so prolific. That's my army of clones theory out the window.
    Great interview.

  12. My pleasure Paul, thanks for contributing.

    Glad you've all enjoyed it.


  13. Paul is a cracking writer. He deserves lots of success. He really is his own man out in the world of crime fiction. And yes, God knows where he finds the time to write such brilliant stories when he's out there on other writers behalf, getting them noticed. A gent and a dude.

  14. You're a busy man, Mr. Brazill. Rightfully so--you keep cranking out killer work.

    What do you mean you're no good at writing action scenes? Bah! You kill em.

    And I love the write what you like comment--makes sense to me.

  15. He don't 'alf give a good interview, that Brazill

  16. A 'cucky lunt'? LMAO.

    No one's said it yet, so... Brazilliant!!!

    Top geezer. One of life's good eggs.


  17. Thanks for the email link. Great interview. Must be disciplined and spend my web time better. That means things like this.

  18. Thanks for this Iain and thanks to everyone for stopping by.

  19. No problem, great interview, and glad so many people have had a chance to read it.