An Interview with Kneel Downe, creator of the VirulentBlurb universe
When Lizzie, one of the newest members on our review team, was given her first ‘assignment’ little did we expect such a reaction. Lizzie loved Kneel’s SPORADIC book so much that she has since cantered through the rest of Kneel’s bibliography.
When the chance arose for Lizzie to put some questions to Kneel we though it only write to adopt a disguise, sneak ourselves in, and transcribe what followed… Enjoy
When I first started reviewing books a while ago, I never dreamed that the authors whose work I was admiring were real people. You have a tablet of information or a fist full of paper and get so lost in the worlds created that you forget a human being sat for months creating your escape. One cheeky email later and a dream comes true as Kneel Downe happily agrees to talk to me. I’ve become quite a fan of Mr Downe’s work and, for those of you not familiar with it, he has created a vast universe called the VirulentBlurb. Across four novels, and various other mentions, he has traced the beginnings of a world and introduced a vast array of characters all in a different style.
Mr Downe, thank you for agreeing to let me do my first ever interview with you. I’d like to start with the difference in your writing styles first. Fractures and Reflections have a very much “short and sharp” style about them and yet read almost like a historical document, Amelia’s Song has a fairytale, Hans Christian Anderson feel and The JackPort Killer is like a very well written graphic novel but all are part of the same world. Was the change between styles a conscious decision or something that evolved?
Hello there Lizzie…please, the name’s just Kneel.
So…good start. A bit of both I suppose. In part it’s down to the way I create, I always have at least five projects on the go…if one thing won’t work that day then I can just jump to another. Varying styles for varying tales. If you had five children would you like them all to be clones of one another?
Part of it is down to my mind, which is very fractured and schizophrenic…and I must admit I’m very wary of falling into what I call the School’s Out trap…if you have one huge hit then the audience is going to crave more of the same…
I try my hardest not to go there…
I am particularly taken by Amelia. As a writer who, sorry if I’m being rude, is quite masculine and aggressive in the other writing styles ,was it difficult to write what seems like a fairytale based on a young girl?
Ok…of all your questions this is the one that has caused me the most problems. I honestly don’t have an answer to this. No…it wasn’t difficult at all but I’m unsure as to why it wasn’t.
When I write I don’t go in with a fixed plan…I wait, relax, distract myself with music etc and just see who exactly wants to ‘talk’ today.
They all sound different…all have different needs…LOBO wears me out and is full on…DELIVERANCE whispers…PLUTO makes me smile.
AMELIA just arrived from nowhere, fully formed and with a sweet, clear voice….
I hope that makes some kinda sense?
We must talk about Detective Kurt Lobo. There appears to be an awful lot of love for this particular wolf. Has the response to Detective Lobo come as a surprise or was he deliberately written as the “star” of your universe?
Yes, the love for that dirty old wolf has taken me aback somewhat. I must admit that now he has attained ‘Star’ status and various stories are written around him but originally he was simply a last minute idea to make something work…
I was working on the scripts in FRACTURES as a way to prove to a media company that my universe could work as a more traditional format. At the time the main character was LYCA, Kurt’s brother but it just didn’t feel right. A private eye wasn’t fitting into this scenario…I needed a cop…a grizzled, nasty old drunk of a cop. Someone burnt and hurt by the world but not yet completely broken.
So…one thirty minute dog walk later I had come up with the bare bones of a character…and a slight pun of a name (If you know your languages he is in fact called Wolf Wolf)
Even I was slightly put out by just how popular he would become…of all my ‘voices’ he is the strongest and clearest in my head….if Kurt wants to speak then hell kid…he’s gonna speak.
After the Detective Lobo scripts in Fractures, The JackPort Killer is another change of pace and style, coming as more of a narration. I know there is an audiobook version in production, which I’m really looking forward to. How did this come about? It seems like a risky and yet unique thing for a self published author to do?
This is entirely down to the vision and hard work of my agent STEVE and my artistic partner SUSAN.
As you said earlier, LOBO is a very popular character but we need to bring him to a wider audience. We have been interested in infecting all formats and media for a long time, so an Audiobook seemed like the obvious first step…
I’m very excited about this project. We have a superb company involved and an excellent voice actor, Greg Patmore, who really ‘gets’ Lobo and is enthusiastic about the whole wider universe.
I must say…this is an important step but it isn’t the end of our journey…keep watching.
Your latest book, Sporadic has parts of your universe but so much more in it. I loved the Clown Prince, wept at some of the Seconds of Forever, and marvelled at the rest. Why release what is essentially your notebook?
Yet again I get the chance to blame Steve and Susan…I was bullied into it…
Hehe…no, I’ve been interested in an anthology for quite some time but didn’t know how to structure it. They both convinced me that the vast array of unused material I had was worthy of publication.
I’ve been very humbled by the response to the book and glad that some of the material has sparked my reader’s imaginations.
One of my favorite books is PIXEL JUICE by Jeff Noon…so many ideas and concepts in one book…If SPORADIC comes even close to reaching that level then I’m very very pleased indeed.
What’s next? Please say more Amelia at some point!
Haha! Yes, there are at least two more AMELIA books planned. When we last properly saw Amelia on my Twitter feed she was just about to board the SS SHARDSONG, one of the last great VeilShips…the ship is crewed by very familiar characters who, unfortunately, have no recollection of their past lives and existence…well, maybe one of them does. Amelia’s journey will take her all the way to the end of the Universe and hopefully back again.
This book will be called AMELIA’S DANCE but, I’m afraid, you may have to wait a while for it…due to its place in the ongoing story it will have to be one of my Second Wave books.
(However Amelia fans…there may well be something special on its way to keep you happy before her return)
Now…Second Wave? What am I on about?
There are four books that must be released before the First Wave of BLURB books are completed.
The last of these is RABBITS RUN: THE JOURNAL OF KURT LOBO. This is the book that ties most things together and sets the scene for the future path of my Universe. This is the ‘Big’ one and work has been going on behind the scenes for years. Essentially it is the scripts from FRACTURES told from Kurt’s point of view and taken to their conclusion. At last you will find out what happened on the Day of Fire and Storm…
Before that we must release VIRULENTBLURB: INFECTIONS…the story so far as told from the inhabitants of the VEIL themselves.
There’s also DESTINATION PLUTO…the story of this world’s Superheroes…how they came to be, why they are important and why a broken boy with a balloon fixation may just be the most potent weapon ever conceived.
And….another Kurt Lobo casefile, THE BONE EATER. Now, if you found THE JACKPORT KILLER to be dark and unsettling I must pre-warn you…this one will rip your souls out….
How can readers catch up with all the happenings in the VirulentBlurb universe? I don’t have social network accounts so I miss the Twitter creation parts, where else can we find you?
*I suppose the starting place would be VirulentBlurb.com …the place to find loads of free fiction/art and news. There’s also an online shop where you can buy all manner of shiny things like prints and Tshirts…and if you look closely there is the option of becoming one of the INFECTED…a free service/club which sends out news updates and the odd piece of unique fiction…
We are also on Facebook blathering on about all things Blurbian and if you are a Twitter user then track down @BlurbInfo where my trained monkeys bring you all the latest news and levels of rather odd humour.
And then there’s me…. @kneeldowne …I’m always available to chat to readers and like minded people.
Thanks Lizzie…That was a blast!