Paul Southern


Following an induced labour some time in the 1960s (due date: Halloween night), Paul Southern had his subscription to a normal life revoked by itinerant parents, who moved from city to city. He lived in Liverpool, Belfast, London and Leeds, then escaped to university, where he nearly died of a brain haemorrhage. After an unexpected recovery, he formed an underground indie group (Sexus). Made immediate plans to become rich and famous, but ended up in Manchester. Shared a house with mice, cockroaches, and slugs; shared the street with criminals. Five years later, hit the big time with a Warners record deal. Concerts at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Melody Maker front cover, Smash Hits Single of the Week, Radio 1 and EastEnders. Mixed with the really rich and famous. Then mixed with lawyers. Ended up back in Manchester, broke.
He got a PhD in English (he is the world's leading authority on Tennyson's stage plays), then wrote his first novel, The Craze, based on his experiences of the Muslim community. Immediately nominated to the Arena X Club (the name Arena magazine gave to a select group of creative, UK-based men responsible for shaping the way their readers lived and enjoyed their lives). Wrote a second book, Brown Boys in Chocolate, which predicted the London bombings. Fell foul of the censors and subsequently gagged by the press. Got ITV interested in a story on honour killings and inter-racial marriages and was commissioned to write a screenplay (Pariah) based on his life story. ITV balked at the content. Subsequently, trod the wasteland before finding the grail again: a book deal with children's publisher, Chicken House. Killing Sound, a YA horror set on the London Underground, was published by them in September 2014. The book, originally written for older teens (16+) and adults, was censoriously edited by the publishers to fit a much younger demographic, and inevitably failed to reach either market; the grail proved elusive and I returned to writing something it was impossible to dilute. Daddy Dearest, a dark, psychological thriller, will be released in 2016.

Smashwords Interview

Your lead character dreads that the lift doors in his high rise will shut on his little daughter one day and she’ll go down without him. Was this a fear of yours?
Yes, it was. The idea of your child suddenly being cut off from you, trapped like that, filled me with every kind of dread. Every parent who has been in a busy shopping centre with their kids knows the feeling when they suddenly look round and can’t see them. For those first few seconds, your world just stops. The thought of them without you, defenceless, wandering around, looking for you, is really the worst feeling you can have. You spend your life protecting them, taking care of them, and suddenly they are gone. What happens to them next is down to the kindness or malevolence of strangers. Or blind chance.
Are you a father? Were you living in a high rise flat with a lift when you were writing it? Did it ever happen?
It nearly happened. My little girl used to call the lift as a matter of course. And one day, she got in without me. I managed to get my hand between the doors before they shut. It was that image of her in the lift that I most remember, looking out at me. A second later, she would have been gone.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Paul Southern online


This member has not published any books.