Today we welcome Gary Bonn, a friend and author, to Clair’s Clan.
I am a bloke. An artist and writer. Neither as an artist or writer could I have been successful without the tireless and devoted support of my wife. With great reviews of my books and sales rising, at last I can pay her back for the years of hope and loyalty. A team effort – that paid off.
Strangely, it was a short story that got people’s attention. I think it was the title “Virgin on Kinky” that did it..
Why did you start to write? Have you always longed to write a book or was there a trigger?
Writing just happened. Years ago I was incapacitated by a sports injury. With nothing else to do, I created a dream-world and lived in it. It wasn’t a pleasant world, but the characters that lived and worked there were an inspiration. Over a couple of weeks I learned their routines, worked with them, struggled to survive in that cruel environment and these people became almost cherished friends. I had to write it all down. Wow! First book… It’s not due to be published for a while – Firedance are concentrating on my speculative fiction at the moment. I look forward to holding that first book in my hands.
What sort of books do you write?
Anything with a strong theme. I edit books too, a lot of them are fiction, but I love to work on autobiography. Themes develop inside people as they pass through life. Themes drive love, crusades, courage and loyalty. OK, they drive negatives too, but I’m always happy to be inspired by how people struggle, inspire, and learn about life.
How autobiographical are your stories?
They are drawn from me and my experiences of other people. Jason, (Expect Civilian Casualties) is very much me, but also drawn from my experience of working in psychiatry and other areas. Beatha (Pronounced “BAY-ah” in The Evil and the Fear) was drawn from my time with young people who were learning to live with mental illness.
Have you a favourite setting for your stories?
Hmm, the setting is always theme – every time. “Hive Mind” (To be published soon by Firedance Books Ltd), is about a young mother struggling with an abusive marriage, accelerated promotion in her job, and trying to get her twin daughters through the front-line of a war. The theme is caring for children in terrifying circumstances. Where or when the theme happens is totally secondary.
Which author or authors have influenced you and why?
Jae Erwin, (Stillness Dancing), Janet Allison Brown, (The Walker’s Daughter), Stephen Godden (Kinless & City of Lights), Patrick LeClerk, (Out of Nowhere), Louise Cole, Bill Sauer, Ren Warom, and so many others. These people have torn my work to shreds and enabled me to rebuild whole books into what they are. Friends like these are so hard to come by.
In my life:
Herman Hesse with, “Narziss and Goldmund”, Neville Shute with, “Round the Bend”, Pico De Mirandolla, Plato (well, Socrates – before Plato lost the plot), Morris West with, “The Clowns of God”, Mervyn Peake … oh dear, this list could go on for days.
As a person:
Tove Jansson. I started reading the Moomintroll books from the age of eight. I became Snufkin – and still love silence, stillness, solitude, mountains, and moral dilemmas. I love people and want the best for them. I’m certain some of this is down to Tove Jansson.
If you could have only one book, which one would it be and why?
Moominvalley in November. There’s no better a study of human interaction and conflict-resolution. This is a very clever, profound and touching piece of writing.
How do you get yourself in the mood for writing?
Get out of bed.
The only way to stop myself writing is to get back to bed when I’m too exhausted to see the screen.
What is the strangest place you have written in?
Oh dear, do I have to admit to this? My wife once said, ‘Shall I wipe away the condensation you’ve left in the shower?’
My son shouted, ‘No! he’s made notes in it.’ (My son is a writer, and understands.)
Waterproof notebooks may be the way out of this potentially disastrous situation.
Have you ever experienced ‘writer’s block’ and how did you cope with it?
Writers’ block is my own fault because I often write without sufficient preparation. Yes, every day I hit blocks. The only way to cope is to go through all the bank/credit card demands I’ve received that day. Suddenly all my blocks fade away and I go back to fantasy-land.
Where do you live? Tell us what you like about your town or city
I live in a tiny town. It has about two thousand inhabitants, but it’s still a town by Royal Charter. Within a few paces of my front door is a monument relating to a proclamation of defiance and rebellion that led to around 18,000 deaths of innocents in a few months. I’ve written about this, (http://garybonn.com/the-spectre-of-the-covenant/), but it only scratches the surface of a terrifying time.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?
Here. Nowhere else in the world can I buy Willie Forsyth’s haggis.
What is your pet hate?
You ask a writer that? The most irritating thing in my life is me. In my next life, I’m going to design my own personality. This one drives me mad.
Which fictional character do you wish you’d created?
That’s a hard question. Connie Shak-lin? (Shute), Xhabbo? (Van Der Post), Goldmund? (Hesse). I’m just glad someone created them for me.
A place you have always wanted to visit.
A future world in which those that pursue wealth and status no longer hold power. I’d be happy to return here, knowing it was going to happen.
Best place to take a first time date.
The beach at Achmelvich
Most memorable moment in your life.
I don’t have only one. There are so many that hit first place; you know, children are born and do stuff. I’ll go for a moment on the beach at Achmelvich. The sun went down. Jenny was 18, I was 23. the sun reddened the white sand, cliffs and clouds. Jenny looked so happy. I was totally in love.
Or … a time when, after ten years of grinding heartache and effort, a group of volunteers opened a £1.3m arts centre. The opening day was packed, and I offered to help out in the café. One supercilious and loud man complained about my amateurish serving skills. He demanded to make a complaint to the café manager. I told him the café manager didn’t employ me. He demanded to complain to the centre manager. I told him she didn’t employ me either.
He said, ‘Who can I complain to?
I replied that it would have to be the chairman of the board of directors.
He said, ‘Who is that?’
Most embarrassing moment.
Most of my life. When I die I want to have a serious word with God.
Favourite room/place in your house.
The sofa in the sitting room. That’s where I think up my best stories. OK, and my worst.
A real person living or dead you wish you could meet
Socrates … talk to me! I’ll buy the beer.
No, but I am fascinated by the early medieval view of the world. Heaven arched over the sky; Hell burned beneath our feet. Angels and devils, nixies, pixies, brownies, fairies, and goodness knows what else roamed the world and affected our everyday lives. I tried to immerse myself in it with: http://garybonn.com/forget-me-not/
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?
My wife and I kiss and she stops throwing things at me for an hour or so.
The first chapters of Expect Civilian Casualties and The Evil and the Fear can be found here – along with some reviews –