Just imagine the early nineties became the template for the future.
Take That still have number ones, the Stone Roses never split up, Chris Evans is on the telly, and Smash Hits now dominates the media…
We decided this unlikely dystopian premise was the best way to tackle an interview with author J.J. Patrick, seeing as he’s one of ours and all. So we half-inched the old Garibaldi Tin format and fired questions his way at random.
(We will, of course, do something a little more serious with him, but let’s just say he’s had a hard time over the last few months and, sometimes, laughter really can be the best medicine).
We must, however, do something sensible and make you read this logo:
Of course, it’s only fair for us to have a go at this interviewing lark too, so the first question is ours!
Tell us about your forthcoming debut…
Right this minute, I’m working on the final tweaks to my first full-length fiction, a novel called Forever Completely. It’s about psychotic primates, witches, the end of the world and a nice old dear in a tracksuit. And love, mustn’t forget that. I just want people to read it and think “I’ve no idea what the fuck that was, but I kinda liked it”. It’s such a good mission statement I’ve nicked it to use in the rest of my life.
Now, let the Russian Roulette begin!
What does your writing process look like?
I want you take a boat load of hallucinogenic pharmaceuticals and stand in a circle of clowns, while they throw glitter at you. Then I’m going to chase you with a shark, a pissed shark. [for the benefit of Americans, he means drunk, not angry].
Do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares?
Yes. My dreams are all mad, there’s a lot of flying, a lot of big cityscapes (normally half poking out of oceans at sunset). Once there was a waterfall, but I think that’s because I needed a wee. Unless you want to spend the rest of your life awake, I’d pass on asking about nightmares.
What book do you wish you could have written?
I love the experiences books have brought me over the years, the magic being at its strongest when someone else hammers out a world you can see. I definitely wouldn’t butcher a single one of them with my hamfisted understanding of grammar. I might have missed that bit at school, when they dicked the syllabus and forgot about the kids in the middle, but at least I got milk…
What is the biggest lie you’ve ever told?
Aside from “Yes, Roy, there’s only a 10p mix in this bulging paper bag”, it’s called Forever Completely. That’s what fiction is – a giant porky. The real magic is the truth which exists behind the lie, a line which Stephen King once made up and has always stuck with me. He’s my number one author, by the way, though I’m also growing to like Bukowski. That guy was gloriously fucked up.
If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would you choose?
I’ve actually daydreamed through this with Sketch Girl, not so long ago — she’s a superhero and I’m her lame sidekick, Jump Off Boy. We’re talking Tom Hiddleston, Romola Garai, Gil Gadot, James McAvoy, Russell Howard — yes, you heard — Evanna Lynch and Jim Broadbent. We’re still wrestling with the Maggie Smith versus Julie Walters issue…It’s the best film that may never be made.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
That’s easy: “So…that went well”. Why are you holding a shovel? It’s unnerving…
Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others?
I can’t write about sex, it makes me feel grubby. I’m a proper prude about it, which is weird because I love humping.
Have you ever gotten into a bar fight?
Yes. Numerous times. Normally through trying to stop other people. My face is like a fist magnet though, so I’ve upped my game over the years and fighting stopped being scary, or a problem, a while ago.
Excuse a brief hijack…weren’t you a copper, and wasn’t there a “thing” in Parliament?
I did something not many people have, and it was for the greater good, but otherwise I’m going “No Comment”. It’s not me nowadays and my tab is almost settled.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
The first rule of write club is, get your thumb our of your arse and write. The second rule of write club is read as much, if not more, than you scribble. The third rule is finish and walk away. You are not capable of editing yourself. The fourth rule is let the story tell itself to you. If it dead ends, move on. The last rule is easy to remember… You are going to suffer a lifetime of self-doubt and rejection because the publishing industry is fickle. But that’s no reflection on you, so toughen up, cupcake.
If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?
Random! I can do quite a few convincing accents but my favourite for daily use sounds a lot like Cartman from South Park. There’s nothing funnier than handling PPI calls with a cheerful “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, how would you like to suck my balls!”
Last one…What is your next project?
My balls are in the air….no, I mean…right. I’m writing two books at the same time, both very different and both coming along at quite some pace. One’s connected to the world of Forever Completely and the other is just plain old scary. They should both be done — by which I mean launched at an editor like live hand grenades — by the end of this summer. [Spring, due to life].
There you have it, our nutter in a nutshell, just for fun. When he’s ready, we’ll get serious with him.
Forever Completely is out worldwide 16.9.16, keep your eyes on Cynefin Road!