Interview with Charles Coyne

When did you first start writing?
I cannot remember exactly, but I think it was around 1951 or ’52. I had written The Consul (found in Strange Tales). I distinctly remember reading, in the Hull Daily Mail, the reminiscences of a one-time Scandinavian consul who remembered his having to take a revolver with him, when he went to supervise the paying off of the crew of a Scandinavian ship. Just fancy that, I thought. The story then wrote itself.
What is the story behind your latest book?
I presume you mean the recently published book titled Strange Tales. Well, it is really the story of the generosity of my partner, Jocelyn Bates. Five years ago, she decided to treat me to the publication of one of my books. I decided it would be best to get my short stories printed, so we trailed around various printers in Gozo (Maltese Islands). Gozo Press came up trumps. Then there was the problem of who would illustrate it. I spent some time locating Justin Falzon at the Gozo Centre for Arts and Crafts at Ghajnsielem. Then we faced the problem of distributing it. This was solved by the Order of Saint Lazarus. We decided to give all the proceeds from the book to charity – precisely to that Order. That decision solved a number of production problems. Justin illustrated it for free and Gozo Press got someone at the University to design the cover also for free. And so, 200 copies of Volume 1 came out of Gozo Press and I launched it at the Citadel, also in Gozo, at an exhibition of local artists. The Order of Saint Lazarus benefited from the sale of about 60 copies. Volume 2 came out with Gozo Press in similar fashion. Jocelyn insisted that the first volume should be called Volume 1, so Volume 2 followed inevitably.
What motivated you to become an author?
God only knows! God made me and I have always had a yen to communicate my thoughts. I was a management consultant for most of my career and far too busy to write, except for the fact that I wrote a thriller in 1975. It was not until I retired that I found time to really write.
What is the greatest joy for you in writing?
That is simple to answer. It is the joy of dreaming up the plot and then creating the characters.
What are you working on next?
I have a fair number of books that I have already written. The next job is to start publicizing them, which is a soul-destroying task. I have a series of five adolescent fantasies that I would be delighted to submit to a publisher.
What is your writing process?
I do not know that I have anything so grand as a writing process. I dream up a theme and then sit down and write about it. That is it.
Where did you grow up? How did this influence your writing?
I am an only child, hence I grew up somewhat self-absorbed. That was in Hull, Kingston upon Hull, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It used to be the third largest port in England and the largest fishing port in the world. Those were the days. I lived in London for years and it is hard to feel anything for Hull any more, although I recently tried my hand at a thriller about the Humberside Police. My home town is being flooded over by the modern world and I can only recognise a few streets of the Old Town and a few museums.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
God knows. Habit, I suppose. It is difficult to remember when each fresh day brought a fresh new challenge.
When not writing, how do you spend your time?
I go with Jocelyn to the Eden Cinema`s ballet shows and to the Victoria Music Festival. I also go to the Baroque Festival in Valletta. Then there is the Xaghra Festival each year. I know all this does not sound very exciting to modern man, but I also like reading – a lot.
What do you read for pleasure?
It sounds a bit macabre, but I enjoy reading about WWII, learning about all the things that were going on while I was a little boy. I enjoy reading mystery and horror stories and I particularly like reading Tolkien.
Published 2014-09-22.
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Books by This Author

Strange Tales
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 115,700. Language: English. Published: September 22, 2014 by FARAXA Publishing (USA). Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Horror » Occult
Strange Tales (Combined Illustrated Ed.) is a collection of 29 horror stories, many of which are set in the Maltese Islands, and 49 illustrations. Coyne manifests himself a true master at sleight of hand in these tales and their surprise endings.