What’s your writing background? When did you begin writing and what inspired you?
When I was little (I mean in age, I’m still little) I used to get frustrated with all the happy endings in my story books, and I would make up alternatives that were often a shade or two darker than the original. Then when my parents were reading to me at bedtime, I’d interrupt them with one of my weird endings. They would laugh and praise me of course, but I think on quite a few occasions they had me lined up for appointments with the child psychologist. Then when I was around ten, I won a local story competition and from that point onwards, I harboured the dangerous notion that perhaps writing was something I might be quite good at. I wasn’t really much good at anything else, so writing and creativity offered me ways of escape, and a means of surviving the mincer of life.
I suppose my grandfather is my inspiration. He was an avid reader and he possessed a very creative mind. Sometimes, he would take me off to train stations and museums, and he’d feed my imagination with tales of adventure, magic and daring too. I think I inherited his idiosyncratic sideways squint at the world.
How often do you write? And how do you manage to fit in writing among other commitments?
I write as often as I can, and when I’m in full flow I like to work to a strict regime; up at 5.00, write to 7.30 then off to work, and in the evening I’ll try and pack in a couple of hours, if I’m not too tired or drunk. I work full time, so finding creative space is challenging to say the least. But I think it’s easy to turn that into an excuse not to knuckle down. There’s a little lazy kid in all of us who wants to be off playing somewhere else.
In which genre do you most enjoy writing?
I’m really not a fan of the word ‘genre’. There’s something rather obscene about compartmentalising creativity into neat and conveniently dull categories. Genres are the evil machinations over ambitious marketing graduates, and are designed to make it easier for publishing houses and film companies to sell their wares and boost flagging profits. I think the use of genres can restrict the free flow of creativity and inhibit writers to let their imaginations take them wherever they choose to go. When I set off on a writing journey, I never start by thinking – today I fancy writing a thriller or perhaps I’ll try my hand at some chick lit. All I hope to do is tell an interesting tale that includes some intriguing or unusual characters and events. My novel, Painting by Numbers, has been described as a surreal psychological thriller, a contemporary drama, a suspense mystery , art conspiracy, literary fiction and even a gothic horror story. It defies categorisation, and that’s the way I like it. I realise that probably limits my chances of global literary superstardom, but S&M has never really been my thing and I’m not going to tie myself up in knots worrying about it. (^__^)
Can you tell me about your current project(s)?
I’m writing a story about a derelict and dried up alcoholic writer who discovers he has inherited his dead daughter’s house, and then all hell breaks loose. And no, it’s not based on anyone I know!
What are your writing plans for the future?
There’s a possible collaborative project in the pipeline, but I can’t say too much about at the moment.
Where can people find out more about you?
My website/blog is www.tom-gillespie.com, and here you can find updates on my movements, news on my various projects and a few of my short stories are also available to download.
My debut novel, Painting by Numbers, is available in digital and print formats from Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smiths and all major booksellers.
Thank you for your kind invitation to chat… and for letting me rant on.
- Tom Gillespie’s ‘In the Booth with his Book: Painting by Numbers’ interview can be read here.