Every Friday the Author invites a celebrated guest to interview about his work as he strives for literary success.
This week: The Prime Minister wants all the answers…
PM: Thank you for agreeing to this interview today Mark.
Author: That’s okay Prime Minister, it’s a pleasure.
PM: Please, call me Theresa.
Author: Okay. Theresa it is.
PM: Can I just ask you a quick question. Off the record?
Author: Of course. Fire away.
PM: Do you think this skirt’s a bit short?
Author: Not if you stay still.
PM: Good. I wasn't sure. And I just want to say before we start that I’m not keen on the constant drink and drug references in your book.
Author: It’s just a reflection of the society in which we live, Prime Minister. Certainly one that I grew up in.
PM: Yes, but it doesn’t reflect well on the country does it? I think you should cut them out.
Author: But that would destroy one of the central themes of the book. Look Prime Minister, can we just get on with the interview. This is supposed to be about my writing.
PM: Sorry Mark, yes. And please…call me Theresa.
Author: Okay. Can we start?
PM: Yes, right. First question. How did the concept of the Purple Wood evolve? What was the inspiration?
Author: Well it originally started as a children’s book. When I first started painting about nine or ten years ago, I came up with these stylised animals. It was more out of desperation really, because I can’t draw. By creating my own unique images, I could create paintings that people really liked and wanted to buy. That’s where the Weird Rabbits first appeared. Someone, I can’t remember who, suggested that they would make a great children’s book. I think it was the giraffes that spawned the Purple Wood. Because they were yellow I used purple for the background to make them pop out. I started painting purple flowers and trees and it became the setting for the book. I then approached an illustrator and she loved idea and came up with some wonderful images. Some of those are on the website. The problem only came when I started writing. I didn’t know who I was writing for and would come up with inappropriate material for the age group.
PM: Such as?
Author: Well the fairy for a start. Drusilla as she is now. She was effectively dealing in faeriedust. The illustrator was not happy about a drug dealing faerie in a children’s book. She suggested I think about whether it would be better to write a more adult book and drop the illustrated one. I think it was a polite way of telling me to fuck off. And that’s really where the journey started.
PM: I’m not surprised she was unhappy. It’s the drug theme again, isn’t it Mark? Did you have a lot sex in it as well?
PM: Sex. Was there lots of sex in it?
Author: No, of course not.
PM: Oh. What about all the drugs. Have you taken illegal drugs before Mark?
Author: Can we get back on to the questions please…Theresa
PM: Please. Call me Terry.
Author: What’s the next question Prime Minister?
PM: Sorry, yes. How often do you write?
Author: Every day. I think it’s important to keep learning your craft. It’s like the guitar. If you put enough hours in, you’ll get there in the end. I write dialogue and story in the mornings and work on editing in the evenings. That’s just something that works for me. Everyone’s different.
PM: What about the Dr Ingoldsby character? Where did he come from?
Author: He’s an amalgamation really. I’ve pulled him from a mix of all the acerbic and cynical middle-aged men I know personally. There’s probably bits of myself in there - intentionally and unintentionally.
PM: Like some of the experiences?
Author: I guess so.
PM: So you have taken drugs then?
Author: I’m not going to answer that. You’ll have to make your own mind up on that issue.
PM: You should be setting an example to young people like our wonderful footballers do with their fit little bodies and strong thighs. This country’s been going to the dogs since Brexit. I blame the Tories myself.
Author: You are a Tory.
PM: No Mark, I’m a Remain. A Remain! I can’t be blamed for anything because I wasn’t elected. That’s proper democracy at work. You leave the politics to me. I’m more concerned about the drug culture that’s being lionised by you dirty-minded writers and artists.
Author: I think that’s a matter of opinion. There’s always been drink and drug use throughout society for millennia. It’s not worth talking about. Anyway, can we get back on with the interview please?
PM: Sorry Mark, yes. I’m back in the room. Right. You said that you draw on your own experiences. On the website you said that everything was true as you remember it.
Author: There’s no such thing as Weird Rabbits as far as I know.
PM: But what about the skirt thing. Did you really look up your teacher’s skirt in class?
PM: Dr Ingoldsby talks about dropping his pencil to look up his teacher’s skirt. Did you do that yourself?
Author: Yes, I admit to that.
PM: You writers. You’re all the same. You write such filthy things. And take lots of drugs. And then write those filthy, dirty things…
Author: Are you feeling okay Prime Minister? I think we should end this interview.
PM: Pleeease…call me Terry
Author: Prime Minister, put that skirt down…
Next week: Craig David grills our intrepid writer…