Sunday, May 2, 2010

7 Questions: Paul Brazill

You are a prolific writer. What's your daily writing schedule like?

Oh, I don't have a schedule and I don't write every day.

I don't have my own computer- never have. My girlfriend's computer is in a room that her mother uses to give massages so, when it's free I sit down and maybe write but more likely mess about on Facebook or something. I've started making notes in a proper notebook most days, though.

I write in short bursts which, I suppose, is why I write flash so much.

You got started late penning crime fiction. What was the spark?

I think the discovery of ezines like Powder Burn Flash was really important. From there I discovered a new world and new writers. In fact it was Keith Rawson who sent me over to Powder Burn Flash via his My Space page and Cormac Brown - whose stories I'd enjoyed at Powder Burn Flash who encouraged me to write my first story for Six Sentences.

How did an Englishman wind up in Bydgoszcz, Poland and decide to stay?

Well, it all started in 2001. I was working as a Welfare Rights worker in London -where I'd lived for 10 years - and took a six month sabbatical. I'd done that job in Hartlepol and London for far too long.

I had the bright idea to use some money I had from the sale of my flat and travel across the USA! Of course that all went pear shaped. I ended up spending two weeks in a hotel near Times Square in New York waiting for the money to come through and-when it didn't - I returned to England with my tail betwen my legs.

So, I went back to my home town of Hartlepool and waited for the cash to arrive. While there, it was suggested that I do a TEFL (Teaching English as as Foriegn Language) course since I didn't want to go back to my old life.

So, I did. I did it in Madrid for 4 weeks in 42 degree heat.

Back in England after the summer I applied for a completely random selection of jobs around the world and within two weeks was living in Skierniewice in Poland with no knowledge of Polish, of course.

Since then I've lived in a few places in Poland. I lived in Warsaw the longest. I was ready to go back to England for a while when I came to Budgoszcz on a three month contract and met Daria, The Black Witch, and with her help became self employed, moved in with her and started writing.

Poland has had a colorful but sometimes harsh history. What is the mood of the people today?

Poland is stil in the middle of rebuilding itself. The Nazi invasion and almost 50 years of Stalinism have taken their toll. One effect of that is that there is a 'missing' generation and a massive gap between the older more conservative generation and the youth, who are completely enjoying the new freedoms, especially since Poland joined the EU.

It has became normal for young people to travel to the UK and Ireland at the drop of a hat, for example, and the level of foreign language skills has made amazing progress even since I've been here. The younger generation are very much internationalists.

How did you land the Pulp Metal Magazine gig?

Sometime last year I bumped into Pulp Metal's Dictator and novelist Jason Michel over at Outsider Writers because of something I wrote about Robert Mitchum.

He's an EFL teacher in France, he asked me if I would write a regular column for Pulp Metal and so I said yes, though I've been focusing on interviews lately.

Away from writing, what preoccupies Mr. Brazill's time?

Well, I teach just enough to pay for my keep. I don't have much money but I don't have much stress either.

My students come to me, so sometimes I don't leave the house for days in winter!

I drink far too much booze, I'm sure, though a lot less than I used to. I can't write when I drink or have a hangover though.

I occassionaly go to the opera with Daria and my mates and, if the weather's okay I go for a walk in the forest with the dogs.

I go to the local art house cinema every Tuesday. I watch Polish soap operas that I don't really understand and I usually read at least one novel a week and a few short stories.

And I faff around on the internet a lot ...

What's the most lame brain thing you ever did as a teenager?

Lame brain? Selling my cherished comic collection, which I'd built up over about 8 years, when I was 15. I sold it for 5 pounds and bought Talking Heads 77 and Jocko Homo by Devo.


Naomi Johnson said...

I learn all kinds of new expressions from you, Paul. "Faff" is my new favorite word.

Thanks for this, David.

Kathleen A. Ryan said...

Thank you, David, for interviewing Paul. I've become quite a fan of the talented Mr. Brazill. I always enjoy his stories. "The Sharpest Tool in the Box" in the first issue of Needle is terrific.
Congrats to Paul on his recent Spinetingler Magazine Award nomination for "Tut," which of course appeared on BTAP.

David Barber said...

Thanks for another great interview, David & Paul. Paul's a huge inspiration to us late comers to the blogging world and I, for one, have certainly learnt a lot from reading his stories and his blog. Thanks!

Unknown said...

David great interview with Paul. One day i wanna sit down with this guy and throw a few brews.

David Cranmer said...

Naomi, You bet. Paul has been someone I wanted to know a little more about for awhile. I'm glad you agree.

Kathleen, Needle is waiting for me back at the house. I'm looking forward to reading it. "Tut" is one of the finest stories of last year and it was an honor to publish it.

David, Paul hit the ground running. I would have thought he had been writing for decades.

Frank, My thoughts exactly.

Paul D Brazill said...

Thanks for the interview, David and thanks for the comments all.

My new plan is how I can arrange a boozing session with Frank and David.

Laurie Powers said...

Thanks for interviewing Paul, David. He's one of my favorite people, on and off the Internet, and it's nice to get to know him a little bit better. I'm envious of his lifestyle though. I need to meet a male Daria.

Michael Solender said...

oy, grand prattle and in sight into the mind of the big bamboozler. most excellent!

Steve Weddle said...

Very cool stuff.

Salvatore Buttaci said...

Paul, for me it's always a joy, not only to read your top-notch stories but also tidbits of your life. This interview was well worth the read!

jrlindermuth said...

A grand interview, Paul. Enjoyed it. You must be the only writer who works around the schedule of a masseuse.

Christopher Grant said...

Thanks, David, for the interview with one of the cornerstones of A Twist Of Noir.

Paul is one of those writers that, when you see his name, you don't really care what the subject matter is, you'll drop everything to read his story.

And his life story (or at least those parts mentioned in the interview) are just as intriguing.

Madam Z said...

This may be the only interview that I read all the way through, two times! It is very, very interesting and answers some of the questions I had wondered about. Such as...what brought you to Poland, the land of Few Vowels. I'll bet that the Polish word for "Faff" is "Fff." Right??

Chris said...

Wait, wait, wait -- selling classic comics may have been a poor decision, but I refuse to accept any transaction that results in owning Talking Heads 77 and Jocko Homo as

That aside, fantastic interview all around!

Unknown said...

It's always nice to learn more about how a top story teller takes time out to make his top tales tip-top. I tip me hat ,too, to the two of you for this take on a true talent on't'internet.

Ps. Don't know why I had an attack of the 'T's then... maybe cos am drinking a cup.
Pps. I'll keep taking the tablets!

Ron Earl Phillips said...

So that's the other side of Paul Brazill ... I'm still getting to know the top side. Good interview.

Timothy Hallinan said...

Great interview, fascinating life. It's always inspirational to meet someone who's actually broken out of the mold and set sail, to mix metaphors, into a wider life. And I love the line about not having much money but not having much stress, either.

How's the coffee in Poland? Coffee is really important.

Al Tucher said...

Great insights into a great writer, and an answer to the riddle of Budgoszcz. What more could I ask?

Alyssa Goodnight said...

I love the expression, "it all went pear-shaped," although that's probably not Paul's favorite part of things. :)

Pamila Payne said...

Paul really is a late bloomer inspiration. Age and treachery serves us well in crime writing, and still allows for a reasonably clear conscience. Thanks for the interview.

SueH said...

That was very interesting - and explains a lot of the dark mystery of 'the man at the bar'!

I'm always entertained by Mr Brazill's writing - and in awe of his prolific output! (plus, he usually says nice things about my stuff - grovel, grovel ;-p)

Long may he continue!

Carrie Clevenger said...

I'll take a night out boozing with ya. I can't write when I drink either. Totally against the stereotype you know. Great Q/A Paul!

David Cranmer said...

I'm glad everyone has enjoyed the interview and thanks for the kind words.

Paul, The drinks are on me but one question... who is the designated driver?

Jodi MacArthur said...

I've always wondered why you were in Poland too. English, writing, drinking, opera, a lovely woman... sounds like a wonderful life, Paul. Cool guy you are.

I can't believe all the writing you are able to do using someone else's computer. Fantastic.

Great interview, David!

Anonymous said...

My hats off to David, and you Paul.
this is one of the best interviews I've had the pleasure to read.
Paul, you should write your memoir.
It would be fantastic!
Cheers, my friend.

Cormac Brown said...

An excellent interview and insight to one of our best rising writers.

Jarrett Rush said...

From what I have been able to piece together from this interview and from Paul's blog I am convinced his life story would be just as interesting as anything he might pull out of his brain.

Thanks for giving us a little more insight.

Unknown said...

Imagine how much MORE prolific you would be if you had a notebook computer ;)great interview

Anonymous said...

I liked learning more about you, Paul. I had the idea you were a stockbroker or one of the Bilderbergs or something, but no, you're much simpler rooted in the earth. Just when I was about to hit you up for a loan too....shame. Good interview, though. And look at all your fans!

Anonymous said...

PS You look a hell of a lot like Edward Norton.

Paul D Brazill said...

Thanks for reading everyone.

I like the idea of me as a stockbroker A9! Wouldn't the red braces clash with my eyes?

Ed Norton? I like that. Has he turned into a fat bloke,though?

Helen Ginger said...

Fun interview. I like the term "mate." It says so much more than "friend." Wish we had it here in the states.

Straight From Hel

Erin Cole said...

One of my favorite interviews- everyone wants to know about the writer! I enjoyed hearing about your travels and experience; your honesty and lifestyle are admirable. Thanks for sharing.

Glenn Gray said...

I wouldn't mind knocking down a few with ya, Paul.

Joyce said...

Absolutely outstanding interview. Paul is one of my favorite authors, and it's terrific to get to know the man behind the pen.