It is with a great feeling of pride ( and more than a little envy ) I welcome a good friend and fellow author to my blog for a bit of a banter and an interrogation. (Damn, the backspace button isn't working; that should read interview.) Steve Emmett, whose novel Diavolino has been recently published by Etopia Press and is currently ( as I grind my teeth and check for spelling errors ) receiving rave reviews, while my rave rejection letters are mere specks of deleted cyber dust. Hey, enough of my inadequacies. They're as much history as is my recently dear departed appendix.
MBW :- Steve, thanks for taking a little of your time out of what must be a very hectic schedule. Now you're a published author, possibly on the way to a best seller, earning a bit of wedge - nudge, nudge, know what I mean - have you got any change for the coffee machine?
SE :- What? After having forked out for a costly repair to my beloved Gaggia? I felt like an alcoholic at a Muslim wedding when it broke down. When they told me it would take twenty-one days to fix I broke down in tears.
MBW :- What the hell's a Gaggia? Never mind I'll Google it while you get the expressos. Seriously though, we've known each other since before you moved back to the U.K. from Italy and during that time you've been lucky enough to read, critique and heap glowing praise on some of my work, so didn't you feel a tad, an intzy wintzy tad, guilty, when your publisher gave you a deal just a week after turning down some of the best stuff you've ever read? (note for readers: You give something, you gotta take something back. Heh, heh. Okay so I'm fishing for compliments to soothe a battered ego.)
SE :- As a lapsed Catholic I cultivate guilt on my back. If I have nothing to feel guilty about I invent something. But, yes, my elation at my own success was tainted somewhat at your rejection and, presumably, the utter crushing misery that followed it (note to readers: this is a joke). In my opinion, publishers are missing out on something really big by not taking you on (OK, maybe a big overdraft but I doubt it). You write so fluently and have a unique voice. Few writers can make me laugh out loud – but you do. Perhaps they are afraid of you because you refuse to bow to political correctness, but how would that explain the success of someone like Frankie Boyle? I know you are not a fan so, I hope you don’t mind me mentioning his name?
MBW :- Ah, Frankie Boyle. Talk to him on the phone and you wouldn't need a scrambler. As for being P.C. In my case it probably stands for Piss-takingly Corrosive. Anyway, the only other author that springs quickly to my non literary mind, who writes as vividly and as locally, so to speak, as you do, is Ian Rankin, with his novels set in and around Edinburgh. Did you ever consider any other setting for Diavolino or did it seem the natural thing; to write about the area you were living in at the time?
SE :- Diavolino was never going to be anywhere except Italy. My knowledge of the locations, characters and the ever-present Church was too much to ignore. Although I had tired of living in Italy – I started my business there in 1987 – I do love the country and the ordinary people so it will always be a huge influence on me. Interesting you mention Rankin as I have never read him. (Better switch on the WiFi on my Kindle). Other readers have compared me to Stephen King and Dan Brown which is kind of a mixed blessing I suppose. In the end what I want to do is entertain the reader and leave them waiting for my next book…Martin? You asleep? *slaps table*
MBW :- Sorry, you caught me waiting for your next book. Let's not get into Dan Brown comparisons. I can't afford a lawsuit. Can't afford any kind of suit really. My t-shirts have more holes in them than a Baghdad hotel. I know you've been asked before about where your inspiration to write horror fiction came from but did you have a bad experience as a kid that you've drawn on? Bigger kids stealing your sweets, giving you wedgies, ripping up your homework?
SE :- Here’s twenty Euro for coffee, you may need it. I didn’t have a bad experience as a child – my childhood was one long bad experience! You don’t realise how grim it is when you’re a kid. Materially we were well off but I was starved of affection. When I look back I understand that I was always insecure and afraid. The fear was stoked by what I was told at the Catholic school about Purgatory and burning in Hell. So do you wonder that I now write about those places?
MBW :- You worry about purgatory yet you chose to move back to Yorkshire. There must be an oxymoron in there somewhere but that'll do for a later discussion. As you know, I lived for a time in Starbeck, not exactly the Paris of the North, and Bram Stoker (author of Dracula ) spent his summers in Whitby, on the Yorkshire coast, so it doesn't surprise me that stories of horror from that county are plentiful. Do you think you'll eventually set some grim tale in or around the Yorkshire moors? Or perhaps a story of a Yorkshireman dropping the last ball in the County Cricket Championship, giving Hampshire, or heaven forbid, Lancashire, the win. Now there's a nightmare scenario for a Tyke.
SE :- Shocking as it may be, I loathe cricket. My great grandfather was a Yorkshire player and actually got picked for England, but he got dumped as he was too fond of booze and women. I wish I’d known him. Erm, his son, my grandfather, grew up to be a pillar of the community and played cricket as well as soccer (he gave up soccer when they stopped wearing ‘boots’ and moved to ‘slippers’ as he said, sometime after WWII I think). But yes, I shall be penning a Yorkshire tale soon and I will give you a little exclusive news item right now: next month I am going to stay in the UK’s most haunted building to garner ideas. It’s not actually in Yorkshire but it is ‘up north’. I reckon that a ghost with a gripe and a Yorkshire outlook might make an interesting character.
MBW :- Ha, visions of the great Harvey Smith on a phosphorescent stallion, scaring the crap out of anything on the North Yorkshire moors. Steve, it's not often a Hampshire lad, with Lancashire parents, gets to take the piss out of a Yorkshire Tyke in the name of publicity so I'd like to say many thanks for being a good sport and wish you the best of luck with Diavolino and the sequel when it comes out. It's been a pleasure to have a banter with you, an even greater pleasure having you as a personal friend and if there wasn't 350 miles and the English Channel between us I'd give you a big hug, mate.
SE :- I can only say likewise. One day I will manage to call on you in Belgium and I hope it will be to celebrate your own book deal. Don’t give up!
MBW :- I'll look forward to that immensely. Not you coming over; I mean a book deal.
For a more comprehensive (and probably more sensible) look into Steve's life as an incredibly talented horror writer visit his blog and don't forget to tell him I sent you.
You may also want to take a peek at his website
You may also want to take a peek at his website