The Thursday Interview That Never Was
S P Oldham
Back in April I was chosen as Author of the Month by Lady Sara's Book Service in conjunction with The Drunken Druid. Lady Sara's Book Service did a great job promoting me on their page and did exactly what they said they would do when they offered me the spotlight, so to speak. I am very grateful to them.
The Drunken Druid however has been a different experience, unfortunately. They 'forgot' to post up my Thursday Interview when they first promised they would, so made a promise to post it up at the end of the month. They have 'forgotten' to do so again and furthermore, do not appear to be in any hurry to respond to the message of enquiry I have again sent to them. They have posted up at least two, possibly three, interviews when they should have posted mine and so now I have given up with the polite enquiries as it is obviously a waste of my time.
I have been courteous enough to let them know that I will be reproducing the interview myself, both here and on my webpage, and given them the opportunity to express any objections to me doing so, again with no response. A shame, as I would have been happy to continue my association with them but sad to say they have proved unreliable and not the best at communication.
Nonetheless, here it is, The Thursday Interview that should have been posted up the penultimate week of April. Hope you enjoy.
Questions provided by Lady Sara's Book Service and The Drunken Druid. I have also provided links below, including one for The Drunken Druid despite them not fulfilling their promises to me, please note.
The Thursday Interview
No.1 Would you break the law to save a loved one? Why?
Possibly, dependent upon which law I would be breaking, what the consequences for breaking that law might be and what situation my loved one was in that meant they need saving in the first place. I would not be comfortable with knowingly doing something that would hurt someone else, but as I say, it would depend on the circumstances. Not all laws are fair or moral, some are even hurtful. Is my loved one guilty of a crime? This is a near impossible question to answer – I need to know more!
No.2 What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
To a certain extent, accident of birth. There are many people in the world who bear the misfortune of having been born into countries, cultures, politics and so on that mean it is a daily struggle just to survive. There seems to be something of an attitude in more privileged cultures that you are only truly living if you are an adventurer, if you are a traveller, if you are ‘free,’ whatever free might mean to you. I disagree. You can truly live when your heart and mind is affected, moved, touched by a piece of music, a story or a gripping drama. You are truly living when you feel a rush of love for someone, when you walk out in nature, when you engage in a deep conversation with someone you respect or admire. If pushed, I suppose I would say that the difference is having the time and choice to indulge in leisure and reflection, and having nothing more than survival to wake up to, day in, day out.
No.3 What motivates you to write?
The desire to tell a story, to get the vivid images and characters that are playing out in my head down on paper for others to see and make of them what they will. The motivation to write on one level is very compulsive. On a far more practical, rational level I am motivated to show people what I am capable of, to prove to readers that they can read and enjoy my work, to prove that I am not just ‘all talk’ and that I am serious about this writing business.
No.4 Why do humans want children?
At the most basic level, because we are mammals and we are naturally driven to procreate. It is a primitive, basic function. Otherwise, because we want to share the love we feel in our hearts with our own offspring, and grow our families. There are countless reasons for having children that can be deemed as the ‘wrong’ reasons, but in the end I suppose all that matters is that once we do have them we love, nurture and care for them and do our best to ensure they turn out to be decent human beings themselves.
No.5 What was the biggest challenge in creating your book ”Sleep, Think, Die?”
I have to say I had great fun writing this book and that the story fairly carried me along with it. The tricky bit was finding a credible reason for the zombie phenomenon that hopefully had not been done before, or at least not overdone. I also wanted it to be a bit tongue-in-cheek, pun intended, and so there was also something of a challenge in keeping a zombie horror novel light-hearted to an extent. I don’t necessarily think that all horror should be hopeless. After all there are human beings in the story too, and humans are by default endless optimists on the whole, aren’t they?
No.6 What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far?
This is a difficult question. I am not sure there is any one answer to it but since you ask, for me an important lesson I learned early on is to be kind whenever you possibly can. It is tempting sometimes to gain kudos when in company, to be seen as funny, quick-witted or sharp, by making a remark about someone or delivering a withering retort to a comment. Those ‘clever’ remarks can be tremendously damaging to the person on the receiving end. They can have lasting effects. I am not saying you shouldn’t stand up for yourself or be assertive, but I am saying it is possible to do that without being hurtful or smart at someone else’s expense. A little kindness really does go a long way. Even if the other person doesn’t appreciate your thoughtfulness, you can leave with your head held high and have no trouble looking in the mirror at the end of the day, knowing you’ve done the ‘grown up’ thing.
No.7 How did you come up with the title “Sleep, Think, Die?”
There are two parts to this answer. In the first instance, the words loosely echo the process of becoming a zombie in certain cases (no spoilers here) and in the second, it is a direct quote from later on in the book, when how it all started finally becomes clear.
No.8 How do you handle personal criticism?
Constructive criticism is always welcome. If people have taken the time and trouble to write it, then I am willing to listen and take on board suggestions. Where a reader simply does not like my style, or my work, or both, then fair enough; we are all different, have different likes and tastes and we are all entitled to our opinions. As long as the criticism focuses on my work and not on me as a person, which is different altogether, then I have no problem with it. Each to their own. The only sort of ‘criticism’ that I might take umbrage with is if someone ever wrote something like ‘This book is rubbish,’ without bothering to say why or to justify their opinion. If you are going to write something like that, then it is only fair you back it up. Then again, I would probably just ignore a comment like that. Most readers these days, especially in the world of e-books, are good, experienced reviewers in their own right and tend to be very honest, and you simply can’t argue with that.
No.9 Why should people read your book?
It’s good fun, it’s fast paced and it’s original. If you have never read any of my work before, this would be a good place to start. In contrast to my other two books, this is a novel length story as opposed to a collection of stories. I intend to continue writing full length novels from here on in, but as the saying goes, never say never.
No.10 Why is there something rather than nothing?
Because nothing is by definition something. For example, when your partner is tight-lipped and tense and you ask them what is wrong and they say ‘nothing,’ you know that means that there is definitely something up. Ergo, there has to be something, there cannot be nothing, otherwise the whole thing is just a farce…