Interview with Stan Arnold

What made you start writing novels?
I had an idea in my head that wouldn't go away. I'm not very aggressive, so the idea stayed and kept annoying me. It was about two drunken video producers who had been thrown out by their wives and were sleeping in hammocks in their linoleum-floored office in Soho. No work. No money. No future.

So to get rid of the idea, I wrote the first chapter of They Win. You Lose. When it was finished, I thought, 'I wonder what happens next? And after going through that process several times, I realised I was looking at the start of a book.
Why did you leave it so long to write a novel?
I've earned my living from writing in one way or another for over thirty years. I started writing topical songs for the BBC, then became a stand up comedian writing all my own material. Then I started the Stan Arnold Combo - a rock band with the strapline - light entertainment for the bemused. A divorce stopped all that, and I started writing advertising copy, film scripts and speeches for companies.

Writing a 3-minute song, or copy or speech where there is an agreement to get paid, is so different from writing a novel. If someone doesn't like a song - so what, it's only 3 minutes. If someone doesn't like some corporate writing, you work with the client to get it right. But with a novel, you work for months until you are proud of it, then along comes someone and says I don't like it. I didn't think I could stand the rejection. But now I can! And anyway, about 80 per cent of the people who have read the books think they're great!
Where do your ideas come from?
When you're older, particularly if you'd had a lot of different stages of your life, you've seen a lot of strange situations and heard a lot of strange things said. So I use those (embellished a little, or sometimes a lot). I learned so much about writing funny stories from my live stand-up work. It's great, because you get instant feedback, and you can work with that to refine the words to get the biggest laugh possible. I did over a thousand live comedy gigs with audiences up to 2,000, so I have a bit of experience to draw on.
What books do you read?
When I was young I used to read Enid Blyton - the 'Adventure Series. I never got into the Famous Five. If a book doesn't grab me in the first couple of pages, I dump it. Famous Five, Casino Royal, Lord of the Rings - flushed down the toilet within seconds. I read sci-fi and my old Eagle annual.

My youngest daughter grew up with the Harry Potter books and campaigned relentlessly until I read them too. I read anything by Colin Bateman, Nick Hornby and I'm currently searching for a funny book I read about ten years ago, about a bloke who thought he was Errol Flynn.
How would you describe your style?
I hate novels with relentless, detailed descriptions of everything. What people look like. What they are wearing. What the interior looks like. What the road looks like as they're walking along. As far as I'm concerned it's just padding. I want readers to enjoy imagining as much as possible. Bit like radio.

So as soon as I think I've made a point, I want to get on to the next part of the story. You can apply the accelerator at any time. People have described my style as fast moving - which is a description I like.
What is your writing process?
I blast everything down as fast as possible. Then I review, and add in embellishments. I also review when I'm not sure how to move forward. At various points, my wife and I go down to a seafront restaurant, where I bombard her with plot ideas. Then we come home and write them down. She is very patient. Occasionally, I have to make charts to see who was doing what when, and who knew what, and how long certain bits of action would take and are they feasible. Once I know what'd going to happen, I never get writer's block. Perhaps writing to strict deadlines for companies helped me get over that - I just kick off, naturally.
Published 2013-10-10.
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Books by This Author

Vampire Midwives : Sex, Violence & Warm Straight-Jackets
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Series: The Implosion Trilogy, Book 4. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 79,370. Language: English. Published: June 30, 2014. Category: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
Mick and Jim are lured to deepest Yorkshire to film a bogus 'most haunted' video at a 13th-century castle built by architectural vandal, Gregory the Imbiber. The local village is having mass hallucinations about Dracula, Frankenstein and werewolves. Plus terrifying paranormal activities, mad neuroscientists, and Hollywood glamour and glitz, featuring Matt Damon.
Sea View Babylon - Sex, Violence and Spanish Verb Conjugation
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Series: The Implosion Trilogy, Book 3. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 69,060. Language: English. Published: October 6, 2013. Category: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
In Lanzarote, Mick and Jim book into Sea View, a 1950's style Blackpool Guest House. While enjoying a pedalo ride, they are threatened with assassination by both the CIA and KGB, and drawn into a web of espionage, lies, deceit and sexual excess involving MI7 - so secret, even MI5 and MI6 don't know about it. The climatic showdown is orchestrated by Polly, the world's most foul-beaked parrot.
Daring Dooz : Sex, Violence & Useful Household Cleaning Tips
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Series: The Implosion Trilogy, Book 2. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 84,640. Language: English. Published: October 5, 2013. Category: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
Mrs Hathaway, Mick & Jim's svelte 60 year old office cleaning lady does martial arts/extreme sports courses via video and online. Daring Dooz is a global magazine, full of the fictitious adventures of scantily-clad women. But Mrs Hathaway is the real thing. She takes on global challenges for a £2 million advance. Mick and Jim video, and share her terrifying exploits up the River Amazon and beyond.
They Win. You Lose. - Sex, Violence and Songs from the Shows
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Series: The Implosion Trilogy, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 66,750. Language: English. Published: September 8, 2011. Category: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Sex, Violence, Songs from the Shows. Two video makers drink too much, don't earn enough, and are on the run from the mafia. Sex trade and Am Dram in Southsea, hitmen wearing pink Mexican outfits, a mystery job in Las Vegas - with Reservoir Dogs look-a-likes and Thelma and Louise suicide-a-likes. Showdown on the Strip saves them from sudden death and propels them into a new lifestyle - or does it?