Where do you get your ideas from?
I find most of them in a tin box under the floorboards. I heard something rattling one day, pulled up the floorboard and there it was. The ideas for my first 5 novels were inside, scrabbling around, trying to get out. I released them and put the box back. Next time I looked, the ideas to my next three novels were there. I don’t know who put them there. Maybe I did it myself in my sleep. I honestly don’t know.
What do these ideas look like?
They are like raw, unformed creatures, half insect, half fish. They move in a repulsive way and are slippery to the touch. Many of them are blind. They make pathetic bleating noises, and have tiny nails. Once you have released them from the tin box, they take over your life. Also, they grow fantastically quickly. I mean they are literally the size of a scorpion when you first get them, but they grow to be as big as alligators overnight. In fact they look a bit like a cross between an alligator and a scorpion. They disgust me.
Why do you write crime fiction?
Obviously, I’m the victim of the ideas that I get out of the tin. I’d like to write love stories but I’ve never found any ideas for those in the tin. I wouldn’t even know what they look like. They are probably fluffy and lovely and grow up to be great oversized teddy bears.
Can you describe your writing ritual?
I get up as the sun rises and pluck all the hairs from my body with a pair of tweezers. I then sacrifice either a goat or chicken, or if neither of those is available, I make a large pot of strong coffee. I drink coffee until I have a headache or feel faintly nauseous. Then I chain myself to my desk. Then I unlock the chains because I need to go to the toilet for a wee after drinking all that coffee. I can’t write a word unless I have done all of the above, in that order.
What’s the hardest part of being a writer?
Sometimes I can’t remember where I put the key to the chains and the manacles chafe. Also I have to sit in my own wee. Other than that, the actual writing is quite hard as well. I write most of my novels in my own blood.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t do it. Seriously. It’s a miserable life and it won’t make you happy. Either you’re crap and don’t realise it or you’re brilliant and that’s not good either. People won’t give you the recognition you deserve. Or they will, and that will piss off lesser writers like me. Frankly, I don’t want the competition.
Of your own books, which is your favourite?
The one I am about to write.
Do you have a favourite word?
What is it?
I said, ‘what is it?’ – what is your favourite word?
And I said ‘Pardon?’ It’s my favourite word.
The question mark threw me.
I don’t like it so much without the question mark.
You don’t really have a favourite word, do you?
Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.
Thanks for the great questions.