Please welcome writer Mark Barry to the blog today. Mark’s the type of writer that makes you pause when reading his books and shake your head in pure awe of his talent. It took me a little longer than normal to read his book Carla, because I kept highlighting passages and emailing them to him, saying, THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL, HOW DO YOU KNOW TO WRITE LIKE THAT? I only speak in capitals when I really need to make a point.
Mark has agreed to be quizzed about his new book The Night Porter. Thanks for joining us!
1. Who is Wiz Green? Any relation to the prolific writer Mark Barry?
Mark Barry is Wiz Green’s invisible friend. The therapists at Cedar Forest tried to fix the problem but I just pretended to be cured. These two rascals are so close, it’s difficult to know where Wiz begins and Mark ends. And vice versa. The symbiosis is useful when the bailiffs come knocking at the door, a common problem for writers in the modern era.
“Mark Barry? Nah mate. That rascal left weeks ago. I’m Wiz…”
(Bec: ha ha!)
2. Your new book The Night Porter has just been released can you tell us a little about it?
It’s my ninth book and one of six still in print. It’s about writing and writers in the modern era set in the context of a hotel, which supports a prestigious awards ceremony and seen through the eyes of the hotel’s anonymous night porter. It’s a satire, a comedy and a puzzle. Something for everyone. I wrote it in November and December last year. I actually had fun writing it, which I cannot say for every book I’ve written, particularly Carla, which you have read and which was bloody harrowing by comparison.
3. If you had to choose a character out of The Night Porter to switch lives with, who would you choose and why?
Frank Duke. Vietnam vet. Jazz Funk Guitarist. Gambler and thriller author. Based on the coolest gangster ever, Lawrence Fishburne from King Of New York. Boy, what a life he has. I wouldn’t be Julian Green for all the rubber in Malaya. If I was a lady, (which, the last time I checked, I’m not) I couldn’t make up my mind about being Amy or Jo. One is older, flawed, enigmatic, possibly amoral, but seductive and alluring, and the other is young and very beautiful. And very, very nice, as you will see. The night porter has his fans too, I’m told.
4. Which of these is TRUE about The Night Porter;
A: You rented a hotel room and followed an actual night Porter around with a voice recorder for research purposes.
B: The ‘mega successful romance author’ is actually based on me?
C: You describe a character as “a degenerate, nasty, bitter, jealous, trollish, drunken (but brilliant), self-published contemporary fiction author.” When you look in the mirror this so-called character does NOT look like you?
B. Has to be hehehehehehe xx (Bec: I knew it!)
A As I said when Mary Ann Bernal (and then Brenda Perlin) interviewed me, the hotel in which the book is set is a hundred yards away from me and I very nearly became the night porter there when the British economy went south in 2010. I know the hotel backwards. I often enjoy a black coffee and a read on the sofas in there. The data on the hotel in the back is pretty accurate. I enclose a photo. (Bec: Amazing, no wonder it sparked your imagination)
C Julian is thin, alcoholic, gaunt, stinky and trollish. I am er, big boned, sober, immaculately clean and (generally) nice to people. Julian is Satan himself and he is going to p**s a few people off, Bec, possibly even your good self. He is the ultimate Angry Indie.
We DO however, have the same taste in tee shirts (Bec: Oh can’t wait to read about this guy!)
5. If you had to choose four writers to be stuck in a hotel with, ego battles and all, who would you choose?
I’ll stick to trad pub authors because there are too many Indies I would like to meet to mention, Rebecca.
To my left, I’d have Liz Jensen, who in The Rapture, has a wheelchair bound heroine who you fall in love with in three pages flat. I’d have Jim Starlin to my right. Creator of Warlock and Thanos, I collect his comics and I think, along with Alan Moore, he is the very best ever. A sheer genius. Ahead of me I would have Jackie Collins because she is ALL CLASS, and at the head of the table I would have Martin Amis, who is my favourite writer ever. As long as the subject stays on writing, we’d get on, I think.
(Bec: great list! I loved the Rapture by Liz Jensen!
6. You have a huge following on your blog and are the first person to help other writers do you think you should have more books dedicated to you? (And PS thanks for all of your support!)
Thank you, Rebecca. The Wizard’s Cauldron is great fun and I am on interview 84. We get to 100 in July. I genuinely like people, (especially on the Internet LMAO). I also love Indie. As someone always interested in writing my own stuff, I would never have sent anything to the slush pile to be ritually slaughtered by a publisher’s assistant with piles, a personality disorder and a bad attitude to their customers, but when Kindle arrived…Wow. I am having some of that, Rebecca, I thought.
Do I have books dedicated to me? Has my mum been hiring a typing secretary again? Tsk tsk.
(Bec: nope that was all me!)
7. If a freak Typhoon (not a snake typhoon) were to hit your place of residence and you could only take one of your own books which would you choose?
Has to be Carla, Rebecca. The Night Porter is a magic book and I’m proud of it, as I am of Hollywood Shakedown, but as a writer, Carla is who I am and I can read the first three chapters and the last six over and over, particularly the chapters called Top Hat and Smash Box. Don’t think I’ll ever write anything as good as that.
Carla is the model for Julian’s much praised but micro-selling self-published novel in TNP, by the way. (Bec: Carla has to be one the very best book I’ve ever read. Ever.)
8. If you were to choose a song that describes your writing style what would you choose?
Beyond the Realms of Death by Judas Priest, from long forgotten classic seventies album, “Stained Class” Slow, slow, quick quick slow and the model for all metal ballads ever since.
9. Will I be happy with who wins the award that the four writers are vying for? (As in the me character?) Actually that may spoil the book for me, so don’t tell me.
You will LOVE it, Rebecca. And if you don’t, you can have my money back.
(Bec: Ha ha!)
10. Do you visualize your books becoming movies one day? (Because I totally DO NOT. I see them more as an ongoing T.V series)
I have absolutely no interest in my books being turned into film. I am a writer and I write books. I love the written word, structuring sentences, paragraphing, even the white space on a page means something. TNP Paperback is covered in weird footnotes. I am anticipating flak but they all mean something and if people can’t be bothered to work it out, it’s not my issue, giv’nor. (Bec: Oh I love that, makes it more genuine!)
I don’t write books that can be read in the bath accompanied by a Tom Jones album. Books are complex and intricate and beautiful and a much maligned media, particularly by blokes. Film is overrated as both a communication and entertainment medium, but I appreciate I am in a minority on that.
I am learning the intricacies of white space writing at the moment, but I’m getting there. I ask everyone the question in real life: What media would you lose forever if you were given no choice but to lose one. Music? Books? Or Films? Most people say books. Me? Film every time.
And I haven’t watched anything outside horse and dog racing on TV for years. TNP is a definite seed for a play though. You’ll see why.
11. If you made a bazillion bucks from said movie deal would you move to the Bahamas or would you stay in the UK?
Hahahahahahaha. You’re kidding, right. I love my country, but the weather. Oh, Rebecca, the weather. I am staring out of the window now and it is throwing it down, freezing, gun metal grey, with a howling wind. Why would anyone with money stay in weather like this? Saying that, I’d miss Notts County and I’d miss the horse racing, (aside from friends and family).
What’s Perth like? Mate of mine was in Melbourne last year painting bridges and he came back a rich man. He’s only 22. Can you fix me up? I’m a dab hand with a big paintbrush. (Bec: I bet you are! I’m not sure you could handle the heat, Wiz. Maybe give it a few months to cool down. Then I’ll call for you, big brushes ‘n all :) )
12. Where can we find the book?
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/The-Night-Porter-Mark-Barry/dp/1495495388/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1395865790&sr=8-3-fkmr0&keywords=The+Night+porter+by+mark+barry
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Night-Porter-Mark-Barry-ebook/dp/B00J1LJZPA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1395864775&sr=1-1
(One day, I’m going to say, “Waterstones” or Borders )
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