An Interview



There’s a new interview with me up at…

It’s hard not to read Turning Blue through the prism of Operation Yewtree. Is that where the book came from?

BM: It sits at a confluence of ideas really, though the whole Savile / Yewtree story certainly cast a huge shadow over the novel. I’d interviewed Rolf Harris while working as a journalist, and Ian Watkins too, and their stories were also all over the daily news while I was writing Turning Blue, so it was hard not reflect on the horror of their crimes, feel huge sympathy for their victims and also meditate on the fact that we can never really know what people are up to. And when I say people, I mean men. And when I say men, I mean the most corrupted, morally repugnant, psychopathic and just plain wrong men.

So that idea of an occultist world – secrets buried beneath the surface of everyday life; men who wear metaphorical masks in public – is really the backbone for the novel. It all filtered in there by dark psychic osmosis, shaping the book as I continually redrafted it. Operation Yewtree set the tone if you like, which is one of unremitting bleakness. Like most of my novels it explores the idea of power, and the exploitation of power, and though it might be the darkest thing I will ever write, I was always aware that real life is ever darker. Nothing happens in Turning Blue that hasn’t happened out there somewhere. The daily news remains my primary source of inspiration.

Turning Blue takes the reader to some very dark places. As a writer, how easy is it to come back from those dark corners of yourself after you’ve written a passage or chapter?

BM: It takes its toll. Turning Blue had a very negative effect on me mentally – but then I suppose, how could it not? I consider myself a fairly stable person with a healthy and pretty quiet life, but even so, the subject matter is so severe it provoked bouts of anxiety, exhaustion and depression. In order to survive, you have to strike a balance between exploring these dark places on the page, then stepping away from them and doing something else entirely – in my case, walking in the countryside, laughing as much as possible, watching TV or doing mundane repetitive tasks like chopping wood. You can’t let the book take complete control of your life. You have to tame that beast, ride it…then slaughter it and move on. That’s why I never read my books once they’re published. Even talking about them is difficult sometimes. I don’t understand how some writers can go out there on the promotional circuit, reading the same passages and answering the same questions, week after week. To me, that’s like picking at an old wound. I like to move onto the next thing, and let word-of-mouth take its course…

Read on here…

(Photo by BM)

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