Friday already? Where do the days go! Anyway for the final day of Favourite Authors week its the turn of Will Carver.
So if you want a book that at first glance appears to be a standard crime thriller but ends up sending a chill up your spine, then Will Carver is the author for you. With a brilliantly quirky writing style and an eye to the darker side of human nature these books sink into your subconcious and stay there. And I rather love January David. Here is what Will had to tell me about his favourite things.
Favourite Book Written.
For me, it’s always the book I am writing right now. I am always learning and trying to make the next book better than the last. While writing a book I tend to flit between loving the words, hating myself for being so awful and not knowing whether it is the best thing I have written or the worst. I love this. I enjoy the torture; the beautiful agony of the writing process. It never gets boring.
Until I’m finished.
Once I have hit the full-stop at the end of the last sentence, I am over it. That book is finished and I can think of nothing worse than reading through it again. I want to start something new.
But, if pushed, I’d say that The Two is my favourite book I’ve written that has been published. Although it was a hard-edged thriller, I still think of Girl 4 as a love story, but The Two was a more intense exploration into loss. January David grew increasingly complex and London felt larger and darker than before. I experimented further with foreshadowing, shifting narrative and time, even writing one section in reverse. It polarised readers’ reactions even more than Girl 4 and that was great. There’s nothing worse than a three-star review.
I’ve done something very different again with my next book in the series, Dead Set. So ask me this question again when it’s released in November and I think my answer will be different.
Favourite Book Read
This is tough as, obviously, I’ve read more books than I’ve written. There are books that I associate with different times in my life, there’s genre to consider, era, style . . .
By the time I had finished writing The Two, I had only read one crime book in my life. The Talented Mr Ripley. I still think you’d be hard-pressed to find something better. I’ve read a lot in the last couple of years. It started with a book swap. I gave a copy of Girl 4 to Erin Kelly and she gave me a copy of her book, The Poison Tree. This book is very poignant in my reading history, also.
I talk about it a lot but Fight Club really cemented the idea of becoming a writer in my brain because I had no idea you were allowed to write a book like that, in that way. I think that The Great Gatsby is a near perfect book and I love everything Hemingway ever wrote. And Fup by Jim Dodge is as elegant and heartfelt as ninety-five pages gets.
When I was younger I loved Stephen King, Julian Barnes, Nick Hornby, all authors whose books felt like they were written specifically for me. And this is where I’m reminded that the word favourite does not mean best written: it’s a book you pick up and it is just the right time for you to be reading it.
I read a book in January of this year that I have had on a bookshelf for years. I tore through five-hundred pages of war and death and friendship and was left audibly weeping for the last fifty pages, despite knowing exactly what was going to happen at the end. I read the last word and wanted to start reading it all over again. I have thought about it every day since. It was The Book Thief and I cannot recommend it enough.
I don’t like the time of year when the sun is out. I want grey skies and cool air, perhaps a light drizzle. I also have no desire to escape to warmer climes. I love the snow. The only places I want to go where it is hot are places that are too hot for wasps. Because wasps ruin everything.
Lying on a beach and sunbathing – even with a book – is my idea of hell. I would prefer somewhere that’s cold but I could still wear a T-shirt. Perhaps with tall buildings and pollution. Somewhere that is culturally significant, where my favourite films are set and made or books are written or music is played. A city. With lots of people around.
New York is magical. There is a feeling I get when I am there that I do not get anywhere else. Even London. I feel creative and inspired and that I absolutely belong there. I overly romanticise the place but it always delivers. It was eight years ago that I stood outside the Random House building and thought, ‘One day . . .’
I was fortunate enough to travel there again last year, as a large part of my next book, Dead Set, is set in Manhattan, and it was a memorable experience to walk those streets in the footsteps of my characters and take notes and visit several police precincts and bars and buildings. There was a particularly heavy downpour the day I was in Central Park that made it’s way into the book. Best of all, there were no wasps.
In an ideal world, though, my favourite holiday destination would be Paris. In the 1920s.
My wife took me to The Fat Duck for my thirtieth birthday. I have never put food that good into my mouth. I like to cook but I never think of turning my whiskey into jelly or poaching a piece of salmon in licorice or spraying the essence of lime into the air while a meringue made using liquid nitrogen pops in my mouth as the mist descends. I even ate foods I usually avoid and loved them. It was food plus theatre and I was allowed to wear jeans and a T-shirt, which is what I always wear. This was by far the greatest meal of my life. I can’t think of any better.
Though I do love steak.
The top three steaks I have ever eaten were all in Las Vegas. In third place is the Paris hotel. Second is The Belaggio. But the best was in a Brazilian restaurant inside The Mirage. Lovely roasted plantain, too. Oh, and Mojitos.
Favourite Tv show and/Or Film
My television is only switched off for a few hours each day while I am asleep. I watch a lot of TV shows. I can’t go week-by-week, though. I like to do it all in one large chunk. Get an entire season and watch four or five episodes each night. When 24 first came out, I would wait until the release of the box-set and watch it all in one go. Without breaks. That is the only way to do it, I think.
I loved House. What a great show. Like Sherlock Holmes in a hospital. And one of the only shows where each season is better than the last. It also has the most perfect ending to a TV show in the history of television. Exactly how it should’ve ended. Brilliant.
Twin Peaks. Wow. What an amazingly original show. Like a deliciously weird soap opera. Eastenders but with women who talk to logs and dwarves that speak in reverse. It really shows the dark underbelly of a small-town community but blurs that line between dream and reality so well. It has definitely influenced the January David series greatly. The owls are not what they seem . . .
But, my favourite TV show of all time is X-Files. The mythology surrounding Mulder’s missing sister and The Cigarette Smoking Man is superb. I even love the stand-alone quirky episodes like Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’. I often hear people say they used to watch it on TV but it started going downhill after season two.
They are wrong.
It got better and better. From ‘The Erlenmeyer Flask’ to ‘Paperclip’ to ‘Anasazi’ to ‘Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man’ to ‘Redux’ to the double episode of ‘Two Fathers’ and ‘One Son’ – these are all episode titles, by the way: I think I could name about 200 off the top of my head. I remember watching the whole of season six in one go. On video. You don’t even need to do that with X-Files like you do with 24 but I couldn’t stop myself.
Then Mulder disappears and Scully gets a new partner and you think it will never work. And it absolutely does.
Then Mulder returns and you think the ninth season is going to be brilliant and it absolutely isn’t. It’s a bit rubbish and unfulfilling. But it is still my favourite show because sometimes it is the duds that make a series great. It’s the one song you skip on an otherwise perfect album that makes that album perfect. It’s the film by your favourite director that you have only watched once. It’s the book that your favourite author wrote that you don’t like to talk about. Perfection is rare and it’s boring.
I have a lot of films. Thousands. Thousands and thousands. I went through a phase of watching three films each day. It lasted about ten years. Now, I don’t have as much time so it’s more like two films per day and one of those is usually a Disney film.
I’ve worked in a cinema and a video store. I once decided that I would watch every film made in Hollywood between Easy Rider and Apocalypse Now. I’m still going on that one . . .
I have two favourite films and they are interchangeable.
Cinema Paradiso. This is my favourite, today. Not only is this a gorgeous love story but it really captures the magic of the movies and that special feeling I know I still get when I go to the cinema and the lights go down. I’ve only ever watched the Director’s Cut because it’s the only one I care about.
The other film is Manhattan. I watch it once a month without fail. I’m a huge fan of Woody Allen and an even bigger fan of the city in which it is set and an era I wish I had been alive to experience. The opening monologue explains why I love this film so much. It probably has something to do with my Golden Age Syndrome.
What I find interesting is that, if you asked Woody Allen which of the films he has made is his favourite, he would say The Purple Rose of Cairo. It makes me think about how it is those imperfections that makes thing perfect, that make authors or musicians or filmmakers our favourite. And how the artist’s favourite piece of work will rarely coincide with the audience’s favourite. Consistency is stagnation. Sometimes getting something wrong is more useful than getting everything right. This is why I always try to take risks with my books, break rules, bend conventions and strive to make each story more compelling than the last.
Thanks Will! As Will is in the early days of what I fully expect to be a long and brilliant career, it is actually fairly easy for me to choose my favourite book. The one that started it all off…..
When I first picked up “Girl 4” and started reading it I wasnt sure it was going to be for me. 3 chapters in however and I was hooked like a fish on a line and over one long night I completed the lot. My original review perhaps says it all, even though in those days my reviews were shorter and less involved.
A first outing for Detective Inspector January David, this bodes well for a brilliant new series in the world of, what I call, Crime Fiction Plus. January is investigating a serial killer, and 3 victims in, there are no clues and the killings just stop. Then comes Girl 4..someone January knows. Well he should do…its his wife. And she is still alive. Told from the point of view of January, the Killer and also his victims, this is a terrific “serial killer thriller” with just a touch of a supernatural twist. Be warned though – have “The Two” at the ready because the ending to Girl 4 is a twisty cliffhanger and you won’t want to stop reading there! I had to wait, you lucky readers will not!
Will Carver will have his own page on site very soon!
Follow Will on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/will_carver
Linky link for purchase information http://www.amazon.co.uk/Girl-4-ebook/dp/B004YE6OBM/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377244644&sr=1-3&keywords=will+carver
Happy Reading Folks!