Today’s poor soul facing the 20 Questions test is the adorable Jason Arnopp – well kind of adorable. He scares me. YES with the writing not *actually* scares me. Jack Sparks is all the awesome. Don’t miss it!
The Last Days of Jack Sparks. Scary and hilarious. WHY ARE YOU SO MEAN TO JACK?? He’s lovely. Right? Ok he’s a horrible excuse for a human being but still you were pretty mean…
If I hadn’t been mean to Jack, I don’t know if half the readership would have ever forgiven me! The man was simply bursting to be taken down a peg or ten. And Jack did kinda bring a great deal of misfortune upon himself…
Now then. Dr Who. I know you have that connection and I’m going to admit now that apart from the David Tennant years I’m not really a fan. In fact you could say I’m an anti fan. It all seemed to jump the shark a bit after David and Russell left. Agree? Disagree? Between us you understand…
I disagree, Liz! If Doctor Who has any relation to a shark, it’s the fact that the show is perpetually moving forward, like sharks do. As Woody Allen once pointed out, sharks have to do this or they die, and it’s the same with Who. Steven Moffat’s era, with Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi as the Doctor is simply a whole new era with a different style and look. And when Chris Chibnall takes over as showrunner, I’m sure it’ll change again. All very healthy, I tell you.
Favourite cheese (yes I’m getting the cheese question in early)
My favourite cheese is one that I can no longer find anywhere in the world. A hard kind of cheese, with small pieces of walnut in it. So if any of your readers have encountered this cheese, I’d be delighted if they pop up on Twitter to point me in the right direction. I am a big fan of cheese in general, it must be said, and I’m glad you’ve raised this very important issue. Yes.
If you were on a desert Island with the crime crowd to the left of you and the Scifi/Fantasy crowd to the right who would you want to be stuck in the middle with?
The horror crowd of course! As with people who love heavy metal (who often happen to be the same people), horror-loving folk tend to be the most amiable folk you’ll ever meet. I think that’s because they accept and understand that their demons need feeding on a regular basis…
Beast in the Basement. Now THERES a tale. A twisty tale. I rather loved it. Somewhat violent – where do you draw the line?
Thanks Liz! Whenever anyone asks what they should read next, after The Last Days Of Jack Sparks, I do tend to point them in the direction of Beast. And yes, I suppose it is quite violent in places. I wanted the violence in that novella to feel realistic, which is probably why it’s rather brutal in places. In terms of drawing the line, I don’t think I ever would, not consciously at least. As the writer, you just have to follow your own instincts and tastes. And sometimes, as readers of Jack Sparks will know, I do sometimes like to go for the jugular.
Karaoke – which song and why?
I’ve never done karaoke and hopefully never will, but I rather enjoy watching other people do it. Weirdly, I’ve often entertained thoughts about performing Common People by Pulp, even though I imagine it would be an insanely difficult song to sing! In reality, I might go for Teenage Kicks by The Undertones. Nice and simple. What could possibly go wrong?
What one thing drives you utterly irrationally crazy for no good reason whatsoever other than it drives you utterly irrationally crazy…?
One of my pet hates is people using “myself” instead and “me” or “I”. As in, “The presentation will be given by Oliver and myself”. It’s a rational thing in a way, because that usage of “myself” makes no sense and sounds incredibly pretentious, but in another way it’s hardly that big a deal. It’s not as if it gets in the way of communication/understanding, either!
One film to rule them all….
My favourite horror film ever is The Evil Dead, because it’s the gruesome gift that keeps on giving. But I also have a favourite general film, which is Goodfellas. It’s weird that I love Goodfellas so much, because I don’t tend to gravitate towards period pieces. I think it’s just an amazing rise and fall story, that ultimately exposes that whole world as being full of people pretending to be family.
What are you writing at the moment?
This sentence. And this one. And this one. Apart from that, I’m also working on my second novel for Orbit Books. Which has nothing to do with Jack Sparks and is a standalone affair. Once again a supernatural thriller, mind you, which will hopefully make people afraid in their own homes.
Hell is other people. Who would you NOT want to be stuck in Hell with?
Donald Trump springs to mind. Hopefully he’ll get there a lot sooner than me, though. In fact, I like to think that by the time I arrive he’ll be running the place.
On that note who would you LIKE to be stuck in hell with?
Rik Mayall would be great, funny company. What a loss to the world he was.
When the zombie apocalypse comes who will you rush to save (for the purposes of this question assume close friends and family are safe already) ? Or are you thinking “hang on you should all be rushing to save ME important writer type that I am”
Assuming I have omnipotence, I’d have to save some of my favourite folk, who improve my life. So the likes of Tom Baker, Noel Fielding, Stephen King, Chuck Palahniuk, Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer, Russell T Davies and Stewart Lee would go straight up the rope ladder into my helicopter. Plus loads more I’m forgetting.
What turns you green with envy?
Reading a book as tremendous as Mark Z Danielewski’s House Of Leaves. Such crazy ambition. One day I’d like to write something even half as ambitious as that.
What makes you blush?
When I say something really stupid in social situations. Sometimes my brain-to-mouth filter goes on the blink.
I’m pretty proud every time I finish a novel. Because those things are so ludicrously huge, I’ve no earthly idea why I want to write them for a living. When you’re writing a novel, it’s like trekking across Canada, or something, on foot and very much without a map. Even if you’ve drawn up a map in advance, in the form of an outline, you end up feeling like you’re without a map.
Most embarrassing moment?
Oh, I’ve had far too many. Seriously. Moments that really make me groan out loud, whenever I remember them. Most of these involve me saying stupid things in social situations. But I hate it when people dodge questions in interviews, so let me actually give you an answer. One time, a big TV exec shook my hand, then told me he had a cold. I pulled an exaggerated comedy-face and looked at my hand he’d just shaken, which he didn’t find funny. Not one little bit. So that was terrible. Just terrible.
Would you like to talk about Jack sparks a bit more? Oh go on then but don’t bang on. Sell it to readers in 3 short sentences or less…
Yes please. It’s a scary, funny supernatural thriller about an egotistical journalist who doesn’t live to regret laughing at the Devil. And thematically, it’s about how ego, certainty and belief intertwine in the social media age.
When drunk do you get maudlin, loud or stupid? Or all 3. OH BEHAVE you drink I’ve seen you…
I’m more likely to be stupid, I’d say. I have a tendency to take the piss out of people that I don’t know quite well enough to take the piss out of. Which isn’t great. I’m more aware of this habit these days, though, so am more inclined to rein myself in, even after several shandies.
Last time you honestly wanted to commit murder (come on we all have them)
Oh, the last time social media belched up the latest news story about some arsehole being atrocious to animals. Happily, though, if I remember rightly, the bull had already done the job for me.
How much do you hate me right now?
Not at all! In fact, I feel much gratitude for your fine support on The Last Days Of Jack Sparks. And I thank you kindly!
You are very welcome!
Talking of Jack…
You can read my original review HERE
Follow the author on Twitter here
If you are brave (and very savvy ) you can purchase Jack’s story HERE
Find out more here
Jack Sparks died while writing this book. This is the account of his final days.
In 2014, Jack Sparks – the controversial pop culture journalist – died in mysterious circumstances.
To his fans, Jack was a fearless rebel; to his detractors, he was a talentless hack. Either way, his death came as a shock to everyone.
It was no secret that Jack had been researching the occult for his new book. He’d already triggered a furious Twitter storm by mocking an exorcism he witnessed in rural Italy.
Then there was that video: thirty-six seconds of chilling footage that Jack repeatedly claimed was not of his making, yet was posted from his own YouTube account.
Nobody knew what happened to Jack in the days that followed – until now. This book, compiled from the files found after his death, reveals the chilling details of Jack’s final hours.