Interview – VirulentBlurb Universe creator, Kneel Downe
After an incredibly busy 12 months. We sat down in the Showcase Lounge and caught up with author, Kneel Downe. Make yourselves comfortable, it’s a great read.
Self-Publisher’s Showcase: It’s been a year since your Debut FRACTURES how has the VIRULENTBLURB project changed in that time?
Kneel Downe: The Project and, indeed, the VirulentBlurb Universe has changed beyond all recognition. Actually, changed is not quite the word I’m looking for…a better word would be EVOLVED. The original plan had been to follow up FRACTURES in February with RABBIT’S RUN:THE JOURNAL OF KURT LOBO but, due to the way the Universe was expanding on screen and in my head, I decided it was more interesting to delve into the past; back to the origins and birth of this strange broken reality.
My office is currently full of notebooks, scraps of paper and a number of large flow charts that basically keep me on course as to where all these strands are going, need to go and must never, ever go.
To the uninitiated, I suspect they look somewhat like an Alien language.
SPS: Was the year gap between FRACTURES and REFLECTIONS planned? It certainly added to the anticipation?
KD: No, not really. As I said I had planned on rushing the LOBO book out quite soon but it just didn’t happen that way. One thing you must never do, if you care about a character, is to force him to appear or perform. I have great fondness for that dirty old Wolf and will not jeopardize his first solo outing in any way. LOBO speaks when he wants to speak. Trying to mimic his style when he’s not around would be foolish and self defeating. Also, I suspect his legion of admirers would see through such a charade, they all seem to know him even better than I do.
SPS: After the more fantasy/poetic feel in AMELIA’S SONG you have returned to the gritty punk style of your debut. Is that a hard switch? How do you get into a mind frame to almost write in different languages?
KD: No, it’s not a hard switch at all. I am lucky or cursed (delete where applicable) to have a mind that is constantly considering at least ten things at once. It’s how I work. How I see the world. I have been lucky to never ever experience what others refer to as Writer’s Block. Sure, I have muddy days where the words won’t form properly and that great cloud of frustration hangs heavy but I can always just let myself slip sideways a little…look at the world from a different angle…open my head up and see who is in there…who’s talking today.
I feel many many writers out there are bound and ultimately hindered by rules and constraints spouted by the great and the good…there are no rules to writing and if there are, please forward them to me and I shall have great fun burning them.
If your novel/poem/short story isn’t working just back off, it’s not going to vanish, and consider something new. My second most loved character AMELIA came to me in one such moment. If I hadn’t listened to my instinct or internal voices there’s a good chance she wouldn’t exist at all.
As an aside to this conversation I know my fiction feeds have been quiet lately and this is part of the reason, I have countless updates for all of them but the voices are not quite right yet…trust me, when they all start shouting again you’re gonna have a hell of a time shutting them up. 🙂
SPS: FRACTURES got a fantastic response from critics and readers alike. Given the different writing style of AMELIA’S SONG how was the reception?
KD: The greatest part about the FRACTURES experience was the critical feedback. Sure, it’s nice to sell books but to actually see people ‘getting’ the whole concept and style was just pure joy for me. I’m pleased to say that AMELIA’S SONG has received an even greater response. The people who like her and her world REALLY like it. There is nothing quite like getting a favourable review or a Direct Message or email. I’d like to take a moment and sincerely thank everyone who took the time to give me feedback and encouragement. It means everything.
Oh…and don’t worry…AMELIA is still out there…still having adventures…last time I saw her she was just about to step on board The First of the VoidShips…the whole of space is out there…waiting for her.
SPS: VIRULENTBLURB:REFLECTIONS has been described as your best work yet. Can you see a difference in all your books? Also, as you’re writing them, do you get a feeling about the level of quality?
KD: I’ve never really considered this question…I think that due to the fact at least two thirds of my books originally take shape via Twitter, then I’m getting a constant stream of feedback. The question as to whether I find it good quality seems to pass me by…I listen to the readers direct, if you understand?
I was however pleased and excited by AMELIA’S style right from the off…it just seemed so right. With REFLECTIONS it was a different experience…the story and style evolved online over a number of months. I wanted to do something a little bit different to the organic poetic prose of FRACTURES. I must admit I was pleased and not a little proud when I got to see it all gathered together in book form, however. At the time I was just letting the Universe tell me its own story…following a hunch, so to speak. It’s a work I am very proud of.
I’m more concerned about quality right now with the LOBO book and my other project DUAL BRITANNIA….no one will get to see these until they are finished so those ‘doubt’ demons do make an occasional appearance.
SPS: One review said reading REFLECTIONS was a religious experience, a modern day Sci-Fi bible. Do you understand the effect your work can have on a reader?
KD: Not really…but I’m pleased if my words can touch anybody in any way at all.
I do recognize the feeling though from reading other’s work in the past.
It’s just strange and very humbling to have the same emotions ascribed to my own work.
(Blows his nose into a tear stained tissue)
SPS: Between you and James Knight a lot of attention is now coming towards Twitterature, the way of telling a story in 140 characters, do you think this relatively new form of writing will take off in the way poetry did all those years ago?
KD: JAMES is a powerhouse of poetic insanity and I’m always honoured to be mentioned in the same breath as the BIRD KING’S father.
I feel that this is just the beginning…the format has so many directions in which to grow. So many styles to wear.
I think it will slowly mutate into other formats and delivery systems…Audio and Visual still has to be breached. The main thing we must overcome is the disdain with which our work is viewed. We need to break into and infect the mainstream…stick around because I feel the next twelve months will be interesting to say the least.
In an effort to help this, the BLURB site will soon have a VIRULENT BLOG were I will be able to promote and talk about other indie writers I admire. People such as Marc Nash…Ben Cooper…Steve Harris…
SPS: 3 books in 1 year seems a lot for any author but you don’t seem to be stopping, what’s next for you?
KD: Well…the next thing on the horizon is SPORADIC…an anthology of all the random tweets, short stories and snatches of madness that wouldn’t fit anywhere else…whilst not strictly a BLURB book there are many ideas and images in there that Blurbians will recognize…We hope to get this done and dusted before the new year.
Next…hmm…I’m looking at getting four books out next year. The order of release is fluid depending on which one blossoms soonest.
The KURT LOBO book will definitely appear…here you will find out just what happens next in the ongoing story…a Storm is approaching…a Demon is breaking loose and a closely guarded secret may just change everything. (There is also the possibility of a second CASEFILES Lobo book as well….a glimpse into the past)
Then there’s AMELIA….she’s out there…exploring Space and Time…with Three things in her pocket…Three secrets….This will be called AMELIA’S DANCE.
I’m currently stringing DUAL BRITANNIA together…another new style and a glimpse at how the BLURB WAR may be affecting a reality very close to our own…I can’t say much right now but it involves Churchill…a painting of a famous writer…the mystery of Statues and asks just why are the streets of the UNIFIED KNIGHTDOM so clean of the homeless and destitute….oh and the two main characters are called Mack Tire and Ozan Skald….(Google may be useful)
But right now I am racing to finish a free gift for the Cult Den…hopefully in time for the 23rd November…let’s just say, there may be a Blue Box sighted in the BlurbVerse…
SPS: Thanks for joining us today, Kneel
KD: Thanks for your time guys…It’s been a blast as always.