This post introduces something I hope will become a feature here at Fried Chicken and Coffee, quick interviews with writers in the crime or rural/Appalachian fiction scenes, and short takes on whatever writers I'm obsessed with at the moment. First on this list is Paul D. Brazill, whose work I've known of for some time via Twitter and other places. His 2012 article Brit Grit introduced me to a number of new writers on the other side of the pond, and I've asked him just a a few questions here, not wanting to take up too much of his valuable writing and teaching time.
Paul D. Brazill's books include A Case Of Noir, Guns Of Brixton, Too Many Crooks, and Kill Me Quick! He was born in England and lives in Poland. His writing has been translated into Italian, German and Slovene. He has had stuff published in various magazines and anthologies, including The Mammoth Books of Best British Crime.
In your 2012 Brit Grit blog post, you reference Ted Lewis as the father of the movement. In what ways do you see his lineage in today's crop of writers?
I think it’s in the timbre of the writing — people like Ray Banks, Charlie Williams and Allan Guthrie, for example, have a strong sense of the absurd. The ridiculousness of everyday life. There is also a real focus on character – minor characters, the settings, the dialogue, are all well-drawn.
I’ve said before that I think the difference between crime fiction and noir is that crime fiction is about bringing order to chaos and noir is about bringing chaos to order. Or even making the chaotic more so!
So, Brit Grit is closer to noir, I think, since even the most realistic police procedural is still a paternal pat on the head.
You mention Gareth Spark and Paul Heatley as two current exemplars. Which books of theirs do you recommend? Would you name some other small press practitioners who should be better known?
Marwick’s Reckoning by Gareth Spark and An Eye For An Eye by Paul Heatley are both great and are published by Near To The Knuckle who have also published Ian Ayris’ brilliant One Day In The Life Of Jason Dean. All three books are richly written. Full of light and shade. Also, check out Martin Stanley, Robert Cowan, Tom Leins, Aidan Thorn, LA Sykes, Julie Morrigan. There are plenty of others too!
Where would you place your own work in the Brit Grit spectrum? Who do you look up to?
I’m the light relief. The court jester. A tad bittersweet, maybe, but I write to entertain. The Brit Grit writers I’ve took most from are probably Charlie Williams and Tony Black’s Gus Dury books.
What books are you most looking forward to in 2018?
I’m just keeping a beady, bleary eye out but anything by the above writers.
Great interview! Really enjoyed it.