|Posted by Morgan Bell on February 12, 2018 at 6:15 AM|
1. Was it easy to pick the title for your book?
The title, Sniggerless Boundulations, came to me in a dream. It is essentially jibberish, but as an invented phrase, linguistically, it means a calculated step forward, which is what I was attempting to do with my life at the time.
2. When writing do you prefer typing or long hand with pen and paper?
I write most first drafts with pen and paper, I re-write and edit on the computer so I can rearrange paragraphs and restructure the prose with the power of cut and paste.
3. Do you manage to write every day?
Not even close. I write fairly sporadically. I keep an ideas journal that I jot things down in fairly regularly, but I mostly write when in the company of my writer friends, at writing days and groups and festivals, and sometimes, if a fully formed story is begging to get out of my head, I will stop and crack out paper and pen whether im on a train or waiting in a queue or for a dinner date or an event. Waiting for things to start, that’s where the magic happens.
4. How do you conceive your plot ideas?
My stories are not plot-driven, but the key moments of action or interaction that my characters experience are often centred around salient points that I want to convey to the reader for their consideration. I try to drop the reader in to that crucial moment in a character’s life where the character changes.
5. What is one book everyone should read?
Angela Carter’s The Passion of New Eve, a dystopic feminist novel, it’s a real trip and a gender bender. You will question everything you know about relations between men and women, and the imagery will stay with you forever.
6. What type of books do you enjoy reading?
Two novels I recently read are Ann Leary’s The Good House and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. I like a bit of suspense, some domestic drama, and strong deeply flawed characters. For the art of the short story done beautifully I can’t go past Cate Kennedy’s collection Dark Roots.
7. What is your favorite part of a book?
A good last line or last paragraph. Something that ties it all together but is still unexpected. One of the best is Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World: “Just under the crown of the arch dangled a pair of feet. Slowly, very slowly, like two unhurried compass needles, the feet turned towards the right; north, north-east, east, south-east, south, south-south-west; then paused, and, after a few seconds, turned as unhurriedly back towards the left. South-south-west, south, south-east, east….”
8. Do you buy a book by the cover?
I am the worst for buying books based on their covers, well a combination of the cover design and back blurb and dust jacket quotes etc, all the bits that are pure marketing. In recent years I have been trying to make a point of reading the first paragraph to see if I like the writing style and if the story has a good early hook.
9. Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
I thought the film of The Devil Wears Prada was better than the book. They changed the characters substantially in the screenplay to make them more complex with more universal themes and punchier dialogue.
10. Night owl, or early bird?
Total night owl. I have gone through periods in my life where I would stay up all night writing and sleep all day. There have been recent sleep studies that identified that being a ‘lark’ (early bird) or a ‘night owl’ is a genetic predisposition. There is an alarm clock gene. In hunter-gatherer society we night owls were the watchmen and lookouts, protecting the rest of the tribe while they slept. We were also the creatives, intellects, and deviants, jumping in bed with other men’s wives (or women’s husbands) under the cloak of darkness.
11. One of your favorite quotes –
"Battle not with monsters lest ye become a monster; and if you gaze into the abyss the abyss gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche. A powerful warning against becoming the thing you most fear due to studying it.
12. What are you scared of? Bugs, Snakes?
Snakes and bugs don’t worry me, I wouldn’t go out of my way to hang out with them but I don’t get panicked by their proximity. I am actually really scared of being near amusement park rides, especially those that swing around creating centrifugal forces. I don’t like to be anywhere near them because I fear them flying off. They always seem to be full of rusty bolts, and when not in use they sit unmaintained in a carnie’s backyard. I have a standard fear of heights, and a peculiar fear of pregnancy.
13. Who is your favorite actor?
I am a huge fan of Tom Hardy, he is an acting genius. He has very emotive eyes and brings complexity to stereotypical villains. I just love everything he does, including stoic hillbilly in Lawless, homeless alcoholic in Stuart: A Life Backwards, Bane, Heathcliff, and Bill Sikes in Oliver Twist. He is the best character actor working today.
14. Where in the world that you would really love to visit someday?
I would love to go on a geological tour of Iceland, and a zoological tour of the Galapagos Islands. I like to keep it nerdy at all times.
15. You get to travel in a Time Machine, do you go to the past or the future?
I would like to go to the future, hopefully a nice future where cancer has been cured and conflicts have been solved and the average person has a nice happy productive life where they can contribute to the community with whatever their best skills are and afford to have families and a roof over their heads without undue stress or struggle. I am such an idealist. I watched a lot of Star Trek Next Generation and Voyager as a kid, that’s kind of how I imagine the future.
16. If you could be anyone you like, who would you be?
I would love to be Helena Bonham Carter. I often joke she is living my life, she has my fluffy unruly hair, porcelain skin, pseudo-gothic sensibilities, eccentric fashion, droll sense of humour and vague memory. But she gets to dress up as witches and hang out with Johnny Depp and Tim Burton all day.
17. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
It would be called Queen Boxi, my online handle for most social media including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. It stems from playing dress-ups with my drag queen friends and choosing the name Boxi Von Toona. It’s all a bit of a laugh, but I know it will find its way into my written work sooner or later.
18. What advice you would give to new and aspiring writers?
Keep your sentences short. Do not use adjectives. Show, don’t tell. Break these rules every once in a while to prove you’re not a robot.
19. Where can readers find you?
Originally posted on Bunny's Book Blog 6 October 2014. Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20140910072950/http://www.blog.kybunnies.com/author-interview-morgan-bell-queenboxi/