The End of Year Interviews – #10 Sid Wright
Before we get stuck in, can you tell our readers a little about yourself?
I’m originally from Cumbria but moved to York at the back end of 2015 to further pursue teaching. I’m a qualified and registered guitar and ukulele tutor – I have been since January 2014. Before that, I was an international singer songwriter for some six years. I moved into teaching as I fell out of love with performing. My songs are primarily comedy stories but, with most songs lasting around just three minutes, narratives are restricted. I had ideas I wanted to expand and explore. So I began writing books. I’m a musician and a cartoonist, writing books is an expensive hobby, but I enjoy the creative process.
If you’ve released new work in the past twelve months, can you tell us about it, and how you think it’s done, thus far?
I released two more books this year. Toecap and the Fiddler came out in July. It’s a comedy about a really bad superhero – a hero bad enough that he has to hire an out of work actor to be his nemesis. After initial public success, it all gets out of hand. My books are full of factoids and me generally poking fun at the world through the characters. Its irreverent humour.
In August I released a book called BALDerdash. It’s my second collection of cartoons and the sequel to Fancy Dress Tips for Bald Men. Both books make fun of being bald (I’m bald) and make great gifts for the follically challenged.
How do you feel your writing style or process has changed this past year?
Toecap and the Fiddler was my 6th publication. It’s the book I’m most proud of because I feel I’ve really found my feet with regards to my writing style. I write comedy so sentences are short and snappy, with endless hours poured into structure. Comedy books can’t be too long because they’re exhausting to read, so the actual core of the book doesn’t take long to write at all. It’s the editing of jokes that takes time, making sure the comedic beats are right and the punchlines aren’t longer than the set-up etc. It’s great fun – I prefer editing a joke to writing one. Toecap has proved very popular. Art is about progression, not perfection. My writing progresses with each book.
Do you have a proudest moment of the year?
I was in a low way at the start of the year, making a fresh start is hard. But I’m now settled in York, I have somewhere to live, I’m working full time, I’ve recruited new students to teach, I’ve had 2 books published, I’ve released a new album, had lots of cartoon commissions, and I’ve almost finished editing my next book April’s Fool, set for release 2017. I don’t have a proudest moment of the year, just proud of myself that I took the plunge to move and didn’t give up at the first hurdle. I’ve also worked hard on a new website – www.sidwright.co.uk
Do you have a surprising fan/reader moment of 2016?
No one knows me in York, I’m new to the city. Yet, amazingly, I was approached the other day by someone wanting to tell me they enjoyed a book of mine (The Contemplations of a Nobody). I write for myself and because I enjoy it, but for someone to make the effort and take the time to compliment a piece of my work was very touching.
Has anything occurred that you’ve had to put down as a learning experience?
I’m constantly learning about perception. I have my music, my teaching, my cartoons and my books, which at times can be four very different demographics. I always try to be myself but I’m learning (sometimes the hard way) that I have to be aware of how I put myself across. I can be outspoken and I have my own opinions like everyone else but “It is better to be quiet and thought of as a fool, than to speak and there be no doubt”.
Do you have any advice for new authors or anything about the industry that’s changed that you think new authors should really know about?
As an artist, you’re only in competition with yourself. I believe art should be a darwinistic pursuit. You should do your own thing and see if you survive. As soon as you start changing what you do to please other people then you’ve failed. My advice to new authors is read a lot, write a lot and if you believe you have a good idea then stick with it, even when the naysayers come a-knocking.
Do you have a favorite book from the past year?
My favourite book from the past year is called Nomad. It’s an Alan Partridge book. Very funny.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently editing my 8th book. It’s called April’s Fool. I kept a diary for exactly one year and then fictionalised it. It’s a comedy book of a man looking for love. It was fun writing in diary format and short entries compliment a comedic writing style. The first draft was 300,000 words and I’m editing it down to roughly 60,000.
What do you have planned for 2017?
I plan on releasing April’s Fool – finishing that project so I can continue writing a new collection of short comedy stories called Potpourri. I have a busy 2017 lined up with officially opening my own teaching practice, but I hope to find time to continuing progressing with my writing. After April’s Fool and Potpourri, I have a book lined up to write called The Swansong of Arnold Bait (a comedic look at the lives of henchmen and espionage). I also have a couple of albums to release but they are already written and recorded. I haven’t performed (music) for some time and I’m getting offers to do so, so I might go back to it and see if I can find a way to enjoy it again.
Where is the best place to keep up to date with you and your work?
I have a website with all my work on – www.sidwright.co.uk. Aside from that, I’m on Twitter – @Sid_Wright
Thank you for your time, and all the best for the year ahead.