Reality Cheque (Author Interview)

Reality Cheque looks like a great fiction story.  You have a unique way of displaying it chapter by chapter on your blog. Do you plan to make it available in any other formats?
I’m not sure. It’s something I’ve debated quite a bit but I really enjoy the freedom of my website. When a project is completed it’s done for me. The idea of having to pitch something for 6-18 months and then promote it for another 6-18 months is very challenging and that’s without even accounting for the writing process itself. All I want to do is write and nothing interests me enough to hold my undivided attention for that long.
What do you think makes a great story?
Characters and dialogue. I’m not really bothered by plot. If the protagonists are interesting enough and what they are saying is true to the character then the rest all falls into place.
What inspired you when writing Reality Cheque?
I’ve always been obsessed with pop culture and reality tv in particular. I know that it’s complete garbage yet find myself completely compelled, entertained and ultimately disgusted with myself. It’s kind of a weird microcosm of society in that each “character” has to deal with who the are, who they want people to think there are and who they want to be. And if that’s not difficult enough you generally have to deal with 12 other strangers with 3 split personalities each competing for one prize, all usually under the influence of alcohol or even worse who are on “a hero’s journey”.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?  Full time?  Part time?
Unfortunately, I now write part-time having been badly burnt as a full-time writer. I always knew writing would never make me rich, I just had no idea how financially crippled I’d be. I think a mixture of naivety and arrogance probably made the transition a lot more painful than necessary but then the novel isn’t as culturally relevant as it once was, making it very difficult for publishing houses to take the sort of risks they were accustomed to.

When did you decide to become a writer?
After discovering Bret Easton Ellis. As soon as I finished Rules Of Attraction I hatched a six month plan to start saving, quit my job and move abroad to focus solely on writing a novel.
When writing Reality Cheque did anything stand out as particularly challenging?
Yes writing POV for so many different characters from one chapter to the next killed me. Ultimately, I had to abandon this approach as it was taking me too long to inhibit each charter’s head space and felt like I was back to square one every time. Naturally, this made things difficult from a plot perspective, keeping track of and mapping everything, but was mostly negated with extensive planning.
Other than this just the usual writer problems – not committing enough to the page, preferring to write the novel in my head etc. For me writing is incredibly daunting if I obsess over closure or definite answers (end result) as opposed to taking it each sentence at a time.
How did you come up with the story in Reality Cheque?
I wanted to create a guilty pleasure that strayed away from the cult of likeability. The last decade has seen a seismic shift in the cultural relevance of the novel and I think a lot of this is because of a weird self-imposed importance attached to fiction. Fiction now must have a strong moral code and its characters all be eminently likable. A lot of fiction now comes across very serious and superior with very binary, boring black and white characters.
Ultimately, I want to seduce the reader before submerging them in the trash and leaving them to wallow in the grey and what better cultural landfill to attempt this than reality tv? Which is why the book is set admist a post-empire fame-obsessed LA backdrop following six aspiring twenty-somethings looking to conquer the worlds of fashion, film, MMA and country music.
What do you like to do when not writing?
Reading! Read a lot of Donald Ray Pollock recently and just discovered the fantastic Craig Clevenger.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?