Author interview with Guy Adams

Author interview with Guy Adams

Last year I got introduced to the books of Guy Adams and what I have come to learn from so far is that they are just great stuff. From his Sherlock stories to his latest Western and how with the recent release of The Clown Service, Guy Adams' take on an espionage supernatural urban fantasy, they are all pretty awesome reads. Guy Adams writes with the conviction of you either like my book or you aren't and with this he really creates his own universe and lets the story feature some bold moves. If you want to read something fresh, inventive and cool, get his books!

Author Bio:
Guy Adams lives in Spain, surrounded by rescue animals. Some of them are his family. He spent over ten years working as a professional actor and comedian. He has pretended to be Ernest Hemingway, Hitler, Sherlock Holmes and writhed about in his underpants simulating sex with a woman dressed as a horse. Acting is an unusual thing to do with one's time.

Eventually he decided he'd quite like to eat regularly. Switching careers he became a full-time writer.

Nobody said he was clever. 


 Hi Guy, welcome to The Book Plank and for taking your time to answer these few questions.
GA: A pleasure. Thank you for reviewing -- and liking! -- the book. I’m extremely grateful to you for getting the word out there.

BP: First off could you give us a short introduction as to who Guy is? What are your hobbies, likes and dislikes?
GA: I live in Spain with my family and several ridiculous rescue animals. I spend most days sitting in the dark making things up but occasionally I step out into the sun and remind myself what a beautiful place it is that I’m avoiding.

I’m a terrible bore about films (particularly trashy ones), comics and old TV shows that nobody likes anymore.

I have a music collection that my partner describes as “Not really music,  though, is it?”

I’m trying to think of dislikes... General miserablism really. I think we’re fast becoming a culture that sneers far too much. Especially on the Internet, a place that thrives on people taking potshots at one another and being needlessly confrontational and horrid.

I’m a typical wishy-washy liberal, who wishes everyone else would realise we’d be much happier if we made a conscious effort to be nice.

BP: You have written a few books already. Do you still know the moment when you decided that you wanted to be an author?
GA: There wasn’t one, not really. I’ve always written. As a child I drew my own comics and typed out the beginnings of novels I would never finish. I never dreamed of pursuing it as a job though. I was far more sensible, I followed money and security and went into the acting profession.

Then I got the offer to write a couple of books and moved over here. I found I couldn’t get a job that would allow us not to view the cats as a potential food source, so I had to work hard and write more in order to earn a living and save their lives.

BP: If you would have to sell The Clown Service in a single sentence, how would it go?
GA: “Buy my book or I’ll shoot you with this harpoon gun.”

BP: The Clown Service isn’t something where you can put one stamp on to fit in a genre. It’s neither your typical urban fantasy nor your typical crime investigation. How did you come across the idea to write The Clown Service?
GA: I wanted to write a spy novel so I had to decide what MY sort of spy novel would be like. I can’t help mixing genres, all my books do it. I like my books to be exciting, scary, funny and filled with people you want to spend some time with.

The notion of a security department with an occult proviso isn’t purely fiction either, there certainly have been such things.

A number of my books feature a pair of male friends at the centre of them. I think it’s the spectre of Sherlock Holmes hovering over my tastes, that brilliant central friendship. By making the two central characters here come from two vastly different eras of espionage I was also able to combine the rich flavour of the Cold War, early Le Carre and Len Deighton with more modern, hi-tech spying. My cake, here it is, resplendent and unsullied, even though I have just eaten it. Magic.

From those initial chunks of world-building it then just became a case of coming up with cases for them to get stuck into. That continues to be great fun.

BP: You have written quite a few books so far ranging from detectives of Sherlock Holmes to the Western of The Good, the Bad and the Infernal, yet The Clown Service is something completely different. What was the most difficult part when you were writing? What was your biggest challenge when you were writing The Clown service.
GA: Actually, the most difficult thing about the writing of this book were the circumstances. My partner has had some severe health problems for a while, a neurological condition that was making her poor life hell (as if I didn’t do that already). Thankfully, she is now on the road to recovery but she was admitted to hospital for cranial surgery during the writing of this book, a scary and distracting time.

Once that was taken into account nothing in the book could compete.

That said (and in order not to be seen as evading the question entirely!) the real challenge to me -- as it always is with fantastical stories -- was to create something believable. However outlandish the situations might get, I want the reader to accept them. For me, most of that comes with the characters, In August and Toby I hope I have created two very different intelligence officers you can believe in, whatever happens to them.

BP: The Clown Service is out now for a few days, would you, if given the chance rewrite any particular chapter and if so which one and why?
GA: Oh, always... Any writer that thinks his writing is perfect is kidding themselves. I always stumble upon passages in books I’ve written that I think could be better. It’s part of the process. The trick is to let go. I’m very proud of some sections, less so of others. That doesn’t really mean anything, it’s always going to be the case. Writers are never satisfied. Thankfully, we don’t have to be, it’s up to the readers now and, so far  at least, they seem to be enjoying it just fine!

BP: On one level you create quite a dark and creepy setting but you also give it on some encounters a more humorous take either by the dialogues or the events that are happening. What kind of feeling did you want to inspire in the reading with The Clown Service?
GA: I always want there to be a mixture of atmospheres. That’s life isn’t it? I want the reader to feel warm and charmed at one moment, scared and uncertain the next. I want them to laugh occasionally, yes, but that’s not to say I don’t want to upset them on the next page. I think all stories should move around.

BP: The supernatural that you introduce in The Clown Service is crucial to the storyline, but you don’t let it completely take over the whole book. Did you do this as a conscious decision or did this came more to pass when you were writing?
GA: Definitely a conscious decision. It’s a tricky balance but I want the supernatural sections to be big, bizarre and inventive and yet, at the same time, real and believable.

From Toby’s perspective at least, this is a book about a normal person having to do abnormal things.
As things move on and he becomes more used to the world of Section 37, another, natural change will come into play. He will become used to the weird and wonderful and accept it as a natural part of his working life.

The supernatural is all a matter of perspective after all.

BP: The characters of Toby and August are quite different. Toby being a rookie and August a seasoned cold war spy and their first bad guy to catch was an ex-russian spy. Will the emphasis on that era play an important part as the series continues?
GA: Not always. I don’t want the series to become too predictable or formulaic. Yes, August has a lot of history and I want to play into that because it’s part of who he is (and a big part of the fun) but if every novel was about them facing a ‘ghost from the past’ that would become dull very quickly. I’m not saying I won’t feature more historical sections -- because I most certainly will -- but they won’t always be the focus of the stories and they won’t always be the same period.

BP: I really like how you shoed August as the boss of Toby, with all he does and especially in the ending of the book. What did you like most about writing The Clown Service.
GA: The characters. For me it always comes down to the characters and the dialogue.  I’m pleased about a number of the plot elements and the overall scope and sense of adventure, but if the characters don’t work it’s all drudgery.

I enjoy spending time with August and Toby, as well as April and the many other supporting characters. That’s what brings it all to life for me and hopefully a reader will feel the same way.

BP: Everyone enjoys fantasy in its own way. What do you like most about writing science fiction and fantasy?
GA: The scope of it really. It’s about the imagination, isn’t it? It’s about turning the world into somewhere different.

I’m not a big fan of heroic fantasy, I like stories where the recognisable world becomes subverted. That’s a childish thing I suppose. Didn’t we all look around us when we were kids and imagine what it would be like if things weren’t as they seemed? What terrible things might be going on behind that locked door or that shuttered window? What might be lurking beneath the surface of that river? What if, just beyond the clouds, something was descending towards us?

I’ve just never grown up. Never bloody will either, nobody’s presented me with a decent argument as to why I should!

BP: You already mentioned that there will be more to come of the Section 37, can you give us a glimpse of what will be in store for the reader?
GA: Hmm... Nothing in any detail. I will say that there are threads in the first book that are specifically left there for me to play with later.

I’ve written some books that are decidedly episodic (THE WORLD HOUSE books leap to mind, as does THE HEAVEN’S GATE trilogy, where they’re all parts of one bigger story). THE CLOWN SERVICE isn’t that. You get a complete tale, you get resolution, but some of the side stories, the peripheral stuff, that’s me hatching plans. I’m laying down tracks for me to follow down the line.

The series will be varied, that’s the main thing. THE CLOWN SERVICE is very London-centric and, as you say, it has solid roots in the past. I can’t say the same about the next book.

BP: Do you have any other side projects that you are currently working on are that you wish pursue in the near future?
GA: I’m always working on lots of different things. I have three novel series that are running concurrently so I’m rarely relaxed. Alongside THE CLOWN SERVICE there are the HEAVEN’S GATE books, which are weird westerns and the DEADBEAT books which are unusual pulp crime tales at heart.

I’m expanding into comics more, which is a long-held ambition. I’ve always loved the medium and if there’s one thing I want to achieve out of 2014 it’s to end up doing more. I have a creator-owned book called GOLDTIGER forthcoming which is with artist, Jimmy Broxton. We met by working together on a series called THE ENGINE which is still ongoing from Madefire (and features even more Russians than THE CLOWN SERVICE!). I’ve also got a fair bit coming up in 2000AD. I helped Tharg the Mighty write a documentary piece about the creation of the comic which will appear in the Christmas issue. As will the first part of ULYSSES SWEET - MANIAC FOR HIRE which is a re-working of an old Grant Morrison character.

I love comics, it’s such an exciting and creative medium.

BP: and just lastly, if you would have to give your top 5 favorite books which would they be?
GA: Oh God, I hate this sort of question because my tastes are so changeable. I drive my partner up the wall because I can never say what’s my favourite “anything”. Just so I don’t cheat, you can have some books but they’re in no particular order and they’re part of a greater whole... if you asked me this question again tomorrow the titles would probably be different.

You can have three novels and three comic series (I’m adding my own rules now so as to ignore maths and provide an even split).

The books: ONLY FORWARD by Michael Marshall Smith, THE LOVED ONE by Evelyn Waugh and GRIN OF THE DARK by Ramsey Campbell.

The comics: THE INVISIBLES by Grant Morrison (and many talented artists including Steve Yeowell, Jill Thompson and Phil Jimenez), TRANSMETROPOLITAN  by Warren Ellis and (for the most part) Darick Robertson and the original run of FANTASTIC FOUR by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

BP: Thank you again for your time Guy and good luck with writing new adventures of Section 37, ill be looking forward to them!
GA: Thank you, and next time Section 37 is on a mission in the Netherlands, consider yourself conscripted, they’ll try to keep you safe but can’t really promise anything.

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