Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Interview with Nigel Bird

Briefly describe your journey in writing your story. 
It was a long journey to a short story, the tale of meeting a woman then falling in love with her when I realized she didn’t leave anything behind as she ate an apple.  And Reader, I married her.

What genre are your books?  Do you write in more than one genre?
My preoccupation of late has been writing under the umbrella of crime fiction.  If the umbrella’s crime, the wellington boots are soft noir; at least the left one is.  The right boot has its toe pointing towards poetry and a more literary place.

If you write in more than one genre, do you use a pen name?
I don’t have a pen name, but I guess I’d enjoy playing about with the idea.  Nigel Pig; Two Jacks; Hey Garland; Hickory-Dickory-Trickery?  If you ever see anything by any of those guys, you can reckon on it being me.

What factors influenced your decision to sign with Untreed Reads?
My initial reason for submitting to Untreed Reads was an interview put up by Jay Hartman at the excellent blog Death By Killing.  He asked for submissions on a holiday theme and I sent in this piece about New Year’s Eve.  When I heard back that I’d be in a series called ‘The Lab’, it seemed a neat home for this particular work of existential romance.

I was drawn to the way Jay spoke of the change in the industry and the way the author was respected.  So far, I haven’t been disappointed.

How involved are you during the creative process for your book’s cover design?
In this case, I was sent a cover and asked my opinion.  I took to it immediately and agreed to it by return of email.  It speaks of the slightly off-line, making it a good match for Into Thin Air.

Do you plan to self-publish any other books or will you stay with Untreed Reads?
I’ve done quite a bit of self-publishing, have been involved with a range of projects with other publishers and will be returning to Untreed Reads when another story of mine is put out as part of ‘Grim Tales’, a collection of fairytale crime stories.

I’m comfortable in each of these areas.

‘Beat On The Brat’ and ‘Into Thin Air’ are collections I’m very proud of and feel would grace any short story list.  ‘Beat On The Brat’ was also published recently as a tree-book over at the very exciting Kuboa Publications.

‘Busted Flat’, ‘Where The Wild Things Were’ and ‘The Day My Coat Stuck On My Head’ are poetry collections put out when my right boot had control of things.

‘Pulp Ink’ is an amazing collection I co-edited with the wonderful Chris Rhatigan.  It has 24 stories written by some of the biggest talents around, themed upon the soundtrack of Pulp Fiction.

‘Speedloader’ was the debut from Snubnose Press and I have a story in there.  I’m very proud to be associated with such a fine team of visionaries. 

‘Grim Tales’ will be something everyone should own, too.  Look out for that one in October.

I’ll also be in a couple of anthologies due out before the end of the year, ‘Brit Grit Too’ (the follow-up to Paul D Brazill’s debut collection) and ‘Off The Record’ which is to be put out by the writer Luca Veste.

What kinds of social media are you involved with trying to garner attention for your book?

I’m a bird and birds tweet. I also blog and Facebook.  It’s partly to do with selling books, but I was doing them before there was anything to sell, so the importance to me is more to do with community and friendship.  It’s also a great way to find out about what’s happening and a fine way to learn about aspects of the writing craft.

How do you feel about the world of digital publishing?  Do you think it will replace traditional publishing one day?
Love it and yes.

Do you have any advice for new authors?
There have been many times when it’s been exciting to be an author and this is certainly one of them.

I’d suggest for anyone wishing to take this all seriously that they don’t rush to put out a collection or a novel like this is a sprint with a finish line. 

Take your time.  Work out your style.  Send to magazines and to peer-review groups and listen to the feedback.  Think about sending work in to publishers and see what they say; if they’re all brick walls, there might just be a reason for that.  Write because you love it and because it’s what you do – anything else (readership, acknowledgement, money, status, friendship) is a bonus.

What’s next for you?
I’d dearly like to have a novel worthy of publishing.  I’ve just finished a draft of ‘In Loco Parentis’ that I’m calling teacher noir.  I really like it, but I’ve liked two novels before this and they’ve not seen the light of day.  It will only become available publicly if I feel it’s worthy of the name and once I’ve collected enough feedback that says it’s rubber stamped.  Fingers crossed I can pull it off one day.

Untreed Reads Store: http://store.untreedreads.com/