Thursday, August 23, 2018

Interview with Paul D. Brazill

Paul D. Brazill was one of the first independent crime writers I stumbled across when I got into this game. Two things that stood out with Paul is the humor in his writing and his support for other writers. Paul has two new recent releases: "Small Time Crimes", a collection of short stories published by Near to the Knuckle, and "Last Year's Man", a novella about an aging hitman returning to his hometown. I reviewed "Last Year's Man" a few weeks back at Unlawful Acts. You can find out more about Paul D. Brazill on his website.

By David Nemeth

David: Good lord, you sure do publish a lot. What’s your secret? Okay, seriously, what’s your writing routine like and about how many words do you write per day?

Paul: Oh, I’m not even remotely disciplined. I write ‘now and then’. Quite often, I go a few days without writing anything.  It’s the scattershot approach that I take to most things in life. It probably means that I limit the type of things I write to short stories, flash fiction, novellas. I don’t see me breathing down Don Winslow or David Pearce’s neck anytime soon.

David: You’re out there day after day hustling other writer’s work. I know that you turned me on to Paul Heatley’s “Motel Whore” and Tom Leins’s “Skull Meat”. First, thanks for that. I also know how much time that takes, but unlike many writers of today you are actually reading your contemporaries’ work and promoting it. Why? Wouldn’t your time be better spent writing your own stuff?

Paul: I got ‘into’ writing after discovering online flash fiction sites like Beat To A Pulp, A Twist Of Noir, and Shotgun Honey. I liked the stuff I read and decided to give it a go myself. A lot of those writers have their own books out now and I read most of them and see no reason not to promote stuff I like. I’ve already written more than most people need.

David: I haven’t had a chance to read “Small Time Crimes” yet. Could you tell me something about it?

Paul: Small Time Crimes is a typically scattershot collection of short stories and flash fiction. Here’s the blurb: ‘Hit-men, con men, jewel thieves, career criminals, killers, crooks and cannibals. They all congregate between the pages of Paul D. Brazill’s Small Time Crimes - a brutal and blackly comic collection of short stories and flash fiction that views the world at its most askew.’

David: I enjoyed one of your latest books, “Last Year’s Man” which displays the wit in your writing. So, what makes Brits funnier than Americans? Kidding. A bit of a safer question, what is it that makes the English so damn funny?

Paul: I think the Brits revel in our own ridiculousness, we know that life and people are absurd. After all, there are two types of people in the world and they are both preposterous. The most preposterous are the ones that don’t know they are, of course.

David: Much of your writing features music, lots of music. Back in the day, were you involved in the music scene?

Paul: I was lucky enough to hit 15 when punk exploded. In 1977 I sold my massive collection of American comics for a fiver and bought Talking Heads ‘77 and Jocko Homo by Devo. I started going to see lots of bands – The Clash, Joy Division, Magazine, The Adverts etc- and I even joined a couple of bands as a bass player though I was never any good!

David: Have you any thoughts on why music plays such a role in your fiction?

Paul: See above! Formative years and all that.

David: You’ve been living in Poland for quite some time teaching English as a second language. Why Poland? Why not some country bordering the Mediterranean?

Paul: I did my TEFL course in Madrid and enjoyed it there, though the 42c heat and siestas didn’t suit me. I was tempted to stay but I wanted to go to uncharted territory, which Poland was at the time.  I actually applied for a few jobs when I finished the course – scattershot again. The first job I was offered was in Bratislava – the instructions were fly to Vienna and take the night train to Bratislava. All very Ipcress Files! The job and city looked good but for some reason I was suspicious of it so I turned the offer down. The next email I read was from a school in Skierniewice – a small town in Poland. Just over two weeks later I was living in Poland. And here I stay!

David: More importantly, how does being an expatriate affect your writing?

Paul: Jason Michel of Pulp Metal Magazine once said that the ex-pat life keeps you in a state of permanent adolescence! For sure I have a big distance from current life in the UK which gives my yarns- especially Last Year’s Man - a sense of nostalgia.

David: Give me five books to read, genre is not important.

Musical Chairs by Kinky Friedman
White Rabbit K A Laity
The Portable Dorothy Parker
Rat Pack Confidential by Shawn Levy
Blue Heaven by Joe Keenan.


Paul D Brazill said...

Thanks for the interview, David!

K. A. Laity said...

Always a great interview with Mr B. Ta for the mench!

Al Tucher said...

Great to see PDB back!