Interview with Gary Kittle

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Like reading, it's the excitement of the unfolding story, except with writing it's like picking up a book of blank pages and the words appear on the page before your eyes as you're thinking them up. It's exciting, yes, but a bit spooky, too - especially with some of the ideas I come up with. But there has to be an audience. It's not enough to write in a vacuum. Recognition and appreciation count for a lot; they keep you going, inspire you. I love the idea of people reading something I've written, even if they don't like it. Possessing, as I do, the social skills of a lettuce, writing is my way of connecting with others. As a friend once said of me: 'Writing is not something you do, it's what you are.'
Who are your favorite authors?
List time, then: I like Patricia Highsmith, Pat Barker, Leo Tolstoy, Philip K. Dick, Ian McEwan, Doug Johnstone, Stephen King, Andrew Cowan, Mark Billingham, George Orwell, Susan Hill, Graham Swift, and J. M. Coetzee. Well, they do recommend would-be writers read widely!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have several medical conditions (that's my punt for the sympathy vote) so I have to keep fit, which means running, cycling, walking, using the gym, etc. Then there's work, which is fortunately only part time. I share my life with a wife, a teenage son and a dog. I love watching and making films. But I'm afraid I'm not one of those modern men that cook as a hobby - which clearly influenced my portrayal of Chris Haynes in 'Bully for You'!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
'The Man Who Hated Dogs', and it was terrible. Mark Twain once said that every writer, no matter how talented or mediocre, has to write the 'crap' out of themselves before they find their voice. When pressed he estimated this to be approximately one million words. Well, I haven't written that much, but what I've been writing recently is certainly 'my writing'. You never stop learning and improving, but I'm ready to 'come out of the writing closet', as a fellow writer told me recently.
What is your writing process?
Some authors write and review as they go along; others get the whole thing out of their heads to the very last word and only then start editing. With me, it can go either way. I'll only stop and revise midway if I'm convinced what I'm doing is a screw-up. Once completed I tend to work on something else for awhile and come back to it later. It gives you a new perspective on what you've put down if you have a break. And I should add that many projects start off as daydreams that I carry round with me, sometimes for years. We can't all be like Dostoevsky; it's true what they say: ninety percent of writing is re-writing and sometimes what you leave out is more important than what you put in.
Describe your desk
It's big, solid and capacious. It's fairly neat and my chair has wheels deliberately removed, so I am literally on the edge of my seat as I write. Everything I need is within easy reach, though, and it's well lit. There's nothing like a headache to ruin the writing process. Writing without a desk is like cooking outdoors: there's still a lot you can do but there will always be limitations (not that I cook, remember).
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the middle of nowhere, in a part of the country that might have been Essex or Suffolk but felt unclaimed by either. I lived in what was then called a 'dormitory village', because people just came back there to sleep or recover at the weekends. I had relatives, but they were either working long hours or unwell; so I had only my imagination to keep me company. One thing I do remember is being surrounded by great storytellers. My Great Grandmother used to tell me ghost stories by the fire in her old cottage as the wind screamed around the eaves outside. A couple of my teachers at school were also first-rate raconteurs. Then there was the library, which I fell in love with to such an extent I ended up working there. To this day I still remember my Grandmother leaning close to my ear as she tucked me into bed and saying, 'listen very carefully, Gary, and you can hear the dead scream.' Which was no joke since Gran's house was haunted by three spirits: a weeping lady, a mist that hovered on the stairs and a pair of piercing red eyes that occasionally appeared at the windows. I was quite a nervous child, by all accounts.
When did you first start writing?
As a teenager, which is quite late, I suppose. I've been writing on and off ever since. Sometimes I didn't write for years, what with a career and family, etc. But whenever I stopped there was part of me that used to say, 'OK. Can we get on with what we were born to do now please?' And the older I got the more imperative that voice became. if I could just sit here and write forever, I would. It's very much like an addiction.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I wanted to write about bullying, since I had been on the receiving end of it at school. But I was in two minds whether to look at bullying in childhood or adulthood, because it's a serious issue in the workplace, too. So in the end I came up with a story combining the two. In a way I was trying hint that we live in quite a bullying culture overall. It's not all confined to the playground; there's cyber-bullying, trolling, sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. It's all bullying. In fact, I read somewhere that British adults work more hours unpaid than any other European Union country; and there must be some degree of bullying involved for employers to get away with it. I tried to guard against sensationalising or trivialising the issues; but I feel justified in taking the story on as a survivor myself. I think the ending of the novella demonstrates just how serious bullying is. They say the bullies suffer too, but only if they are being bullied by a third party (as in the novella); though looking back, the bullies I remember at school were some of the most troubled souls on the register. Do I feel sorry for them? If you ever bullied me, come and ask me to my face and I'll show you.
What are you working on next?
I'm doing a web series called 'Where the Sky is Tainted Red' about a psychopath who engineers his own execution so that he can torment new victims as a poltergeist-type spirit - though he's overlooked something very important in his excitement. I've also got a few other screen projects coming up including a sci-fi short, a feature film and a series of documentaries. I'm writing another stage play, following the relative success of 'Walking Through Wire' in London last year, and I've written a micro-episode series called 'A Town Called Benny'. As for e-publishing I have a download target, which if I pass it will spurn a new novella, probably 'If Looks Could Kill'. On top of all that I'm co-writing a drama series called 'The Block' with DT Film Productions. (I'd best get on with it all, then!)
Published 2015-10-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Glass Alibi
Price: $1.30 USD. Words: 60,770. Language: English. Published: September 17, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
Geoffrey Madeley's wife Claire has a secret hidden in her mobile phone, and the more she tries to hide it the more he thinks he knows what it is. Refusing to let someone run away with the love of his life, Geoff takes drastic and decisive action. But he soon learns he has made a catastrophic miscalculation. With time running out and the net tightening fast, Geoff must fight on to win. At any cost.
Dumb Angel
Price: Free! Words: 30,270. Language: English. Published: February 6, 2016. Categories: Screenplays » Sci-Fi, Fiction » Transgressional fiction
At last Don has a wife who will do anything he demands, without question. And if she really was his wife he’d be breaking several laws; so it’s lucky she’s only an android sex toy that looks like her. Acting out his deepest, darkest fantasies Don goes too far, causing the android to malfunction. But at least there are no witnesses - until the doorbell rings and standing outside is the real Mary.
Nine Lives
Price: Free! Words: 30,870. Language: English. Published: November 4, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Inspirational, Fiction » Transgressional fiction
These nine powerful stories focus on the lives of adult men; some from the present, others from the recent past. Though many could be considered tragedies, there are also moments of justice, courage and humour. Both sexes will appreciate the experiences of these intriguing characters, however; whose collective message is that confronting our weaknesses can often become our greatest strength.
Bully For You
Price: Free! Words: 21,990. Language: English. Published: October 13, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Transgressional fiction, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Chris Haynes thinks he has everything under control - until his wife leaves him and a mugger jumps him after work. Now his young son is rebelling big time, the mugger hasn't finished with him yet and there's something he would rather keep secret under the summer house. It's time for Chris to prove himself as a father and a man, but fighting back could be the most dangerous response of all.