You can find my interview with Liam down below! Thank you again! Enjoy :)
1. First off, thank you Liam for taking the time and doing this interview with me! Let me start with asking you what the inspiration was for your novel "Wild Life"?
You’re very welcome – thanks for having me. The idea for Wild Life actually came to me years ago, back when I was at university. I lived miles away from the campus, so I used to trek across town, cutting through this creepy local park on the way. Whatever time of day it was, I always had the feeling I was being watched, that somebody was crouched in the bushes, staring out at me. As time went on, I developed the idea further, imagining a whole community spying on me from the shadows, living off the land, hiding in the trees. Things just sort of snowballed from there...
2. How long did it take to transform your idea into a book? Have you re-written some parts?
Wild Life was actually the first book I ever attempted to write, almost eight years ago. I gave up about halfway through, down to a lack of confidence more that anything else. I couldn’t get the idea out of my head though, and as my career slowly developed I kept going back and working on it secretly, jotting down character ideas and plot points when I should probably have been doing other things. Around four years after my first attempt, I finally sat down to write it again, but about halfway through disaster struck – I dropped a cup of coffee on my computer, destroying all of my work. I was too devastated to start over, and so again I moved on to other things. A few years later, my novel Real Monsters came out, and following its success my publishers asked if I was working on anything else. Without thinking, I began pitching Wild Life to them, telling them about this secret community of middle-aged men living out a Lord of the Flies style fairytale in an abandoned inner city park. After that, I didn’t really have a choice, and so I sat down to write it for the third, and thankfully final, time. After all these years, I’d kind of got it into my head that the story was cursed – that it was going to mysteriously delete itself from my hard drive or spontaneously burst into flames or something. I can’t tell you how relieved – and amazed – I was to finally get there in the end!
3. When did you find your passion for writing?
According to my Mum, my first literary triumph came at the tender age of five, when I won the Year One short story competition for my piece ‘Why I Feel So Sad’ – I guess that set the tone for things to come. In all honesty though, my passion is for stories, rather than the physical act of writing. I make up stories all the time, about strangers, friends, things I see out of the window. I have an overactive imagination, I guess, and writing is just one way of getting those stories down. Writing’s too slow though. It takes forever to write a novel. It’s frustrating. I’ve got a pad with about 60 novel ideas sketched out. I’m going to have to live to 100 if I want to get them all down. Either that, or I could farm them out, à la James Patterson. I could build my build my own literary sweatshop, row after row of starving students chained to laptops while I stand there with a whip and bullhorn. Actually, that sounds like a few of the call centres I’ve worked in…
4. Which authors inspire you and why?
Authors who write with integrity, who don’t sell out, or kowtow to the latest fad for thirty pieces of silver. Authors who have a physical impact on me, who tie my guts in knots, wring out my heart, or keep me up for days. Authors who stick doggedly to their vision in the face of widespread indifference, financial hardship and increasingly infinitesimal attention spans.
In no particular order, I’m a big fan of the following: Justin Torres, Dave Eggers, Benjamin Myers, Emily St John Mandel, Adrian Barnes, Socrates Adams, Colin Barrett, Kerry Hadley-Pryce, D.W. Wilson, Cormac McCarthy, Wells Towers, as well as the usual suspects: Bukowski, Kerouac, Vonnegut, Hemmingway, Herbert Selby Jr, Raymond Carver…
5. Which advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Brace yourself for a life of unremitting poverty, isolation, back pain and faltering eyesight – ha! Seriously though, my advice for aspiring authors is to stop making excuses and start, right now, today. I know people with an insane amount of talent but walk around with empty notepads. ‘I haven’t got enough time in my life to write.’ ‘I’m not in the right place emotionally.’ Screw that. There is no right time or right place. All you’ve got is now. Start writing. And then once you’ve started something, for god’s sake FINISH IT. Don’t give up halfway through because it’s stopped being fun. None of this is fun. You’re not doing it for personal enjoyment. You’re doing it because there’s a sickness in you that needs cutting out and smearing across the page. So get cutting. Chop-chop.
6. Last but not least: Can you give us a sneak peak into your new book? ;)
The book I’m working on at the moment is called The Tourists. It tells the story of a British family whose cut-price package holiday turns into a nightmare when the tiny island they’re staying on erupts into anarchy, leaving them stranded, destitute and unable to speak the local language… Think Station Eleven set on Ayia Napa!