Interview with Paddy Bostock

Where are you from?

I was born in Liverpool but have lived most of my life in London.

When and why did you begin writing?

I guess my interest in writing originated from reading other people’s books. The first things I wrote were sketches and songs for a school show. Later there were poems and more songs, as chronicles of experience, I suppose. Novels didn’t start happening until the mid-1990s, as a daily holiday from work. However, I didn’t start considering myself a writer until my first book, Mole Smith and the Diamond-Studded Pistol, was published by Wings ePress at the beginning of 2012. Since then, four more novels have been released by Wings, Foot Soldiers being the latest.

How much of Foot Soldiers is realistic?

It’s set in a recognizable world, but that’s about the limit of its realism. Several of my characters inevitably come from real life but they’re always grotesquely distorted.Once characters have been set in a fictional context of some sort, they all seem to develop minds of their own — generally not very sensible ones.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I think there’s some of the writer in every story, although clearly you give yourself away more when using the first person. Foot Soldiers was written in the third person so it was possible to look at things from different perspectives all the time. And there’s also the novel’s tongue-in-cheek style to take into account … Never take yourself too seriously is my view.

What books have influenced your life most?

Goethe’s Faust, Camus’s L’Étranger and Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s Breakfast of Champions.

What are your current projects?

There are a few completed manuscripts on the hard drive, some free-standing and others parts of the “Jake Flintlock” series (of which two novels, Two Down and For the Love of a Woman, have already been published). At the moment, I am working on the latest addition to the “Jake Flintlock” series.

Who designed the covers?

Richard Stroud—he’s a class act! Working with Richard on all five of my covers has been as much fun as writing the books themselves.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The aspect of being a writer I like least is proofreading: I only see what I’m expecting to see. What I like most, on the other hand, is setting myself hard problems and then trying to solve them in ways that will amuse a reader.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

When I embarked on Foot Soldiers, the only things I had in mind were a general context, some characters and a catalyst event. After that, I discovered my story as I went along. My plots never arrive in my head full born. I have to ask myself questions all the way seeing as I generally haven’t the foggiest what’s going to happen next.Learning never ends.     

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Laughter helps.

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