Blog tour: Killing Them With Kindness

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Andy Paulcroft’s hilarious new novel, Killing ThemWith Kindness. Can’t wait to find out more about it? Lucky for you, the author himself agreed to share all the juicy details… Enjoy!

Hi Andy! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of Killing Them With Kindness! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: It centres on a woman called Deirdre Cossette who believes that everybody should have the choice to live – and die, in the manner that they choose, and if they decide to leave her a bequest in their will afterwards, well, that’s entirely their choice isn’t it?  She has five friends that she helps, and they all have stories that are revealed along the way. These stories feature Oliver and Archie, growing up gay in the forties and fifties. Margery, whose impulsive tryst with her boyfriend the night after the moon landings leads to a comfortable life that is destroyed by a knock on the door. Stan who lost his way as a talented footballer in the seventies, and Marina who finds a youth on her doorstep during the summer of Live Aid. The youth admits to being responsible for the death of Marina’s son. But, Deirdre herself has a story... and when unhappy relatives in the present day meet up with unhappy ghosts of her past, Deirdre discovers the cost of being kind...

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page?

A: The novel grew out of a poem I wrote about twenty years ago, and several short stories I had started to write over the years, so I thought the plot was pretty much sorted. However, when I started writing it, a few of the characters had others ideas, and a couple of them became a lot more important than I had expected them to be.

Is The Avenue shaped after a real place? How important is location for you?

A: I have to have a picture of the location in my head or I don’t think it would work. I know where each of the characters live in relation to each other and how I think each house would be decorated. My first book ‘Postcards From Another Life’ was set in Weston-super-Mare, the town I grew up in, so that made it easy for me. Although Mapley is a fictional town, I have used places from my life for all the pivotal scenes especially the location for the big climatic ending.

If this novel was going to be turned into a film, who would you cast in the role of Deirdre?

A: Deirdre is described by one of her friends as ‘the love child of Miss Trunchball and a lava lamp ...’ However, I don’t think he’s got it exactly right! I picture her as tall and well built but still quite feminine. She dominates a room and speaks with a fairly well-to-do English accent. Her hair has a mind of it own and she likes to wear mismatched clothes in clashing colours and quite often made out of Lycra. My friend and very talented cartoonist, Emily Pithon, got Deirdre exactly right when she drew the cover art, without me telling her all of that …! There are a couple of wonderful actresses called Anna Chancellor and Geraldine James – I think either of them would be brilliant!

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about a scene in the book that you love or that was particularly difficult to write?

A: It does contain a tiny bit of a spoiler, although there are big whacking clues right from page 9 so I’ll risk it! One of the yobs who starts the novel definitely on the wrong side of the tracks, ends up becoming a much more likeable character. It is a scene that always makes me smile.

     Then Danger decided that he really did need to be honest.

     ‘Look, I’ve been a bit of a douche, especially towards that poor old fat bird up the top end of The Avenue, but I was talking to the old gay lads the other night. Man, it opened my eyes – Lib had to put up with so much shit just because people thought he was different - and Archie …’ He whistled and shook his head. ‘They are both so bloody interesting.’

     ‘A bit of a road to Damascus moment was it?’ Piers said gently.

     ‘Nah.’ Danger was a little surprised. ‘It was in their house down The Avenue,’ he said, vaguely wondering if Damascus was somewhere north of Mapley.

     They stared at each other for a moment, and then Danger said the first thing on his mind without wasting a second to think it through.

     ‘I’d quite like to kiss you, actually.’

     Piers smiled his gentle smile. ‘Go on then.’

     Danger was suddenly aware that Piers probably meant it – and meant it to happen in the middle of the street.

     Now there was coming out – and there was appearing at a right-wing convention with feathers, a smile, and a sign saying, ‘kiss me big boy’.

     To Danger, embracing in the middle of The Avenue was too close to option two.

Is there anything that didn’t make it into the final version of the book?

A: When I started writing ‘The Lads’ Story’ it began to dominate the whole book. I’d written about thirty pages and was nowhere near the end. I decided to rewrite and put the original in a cupboard somewhere!

If you are already working on your next writing project, would you mind giving us a little anticipation of what we are to expect?

A: It’s a complete change from ‘Killing Them With Kindness’ and much nearer to ‘Postcards From Another Life’. It’s working title is: ‘Another man’s shoes’. A man leaves his home and drives to work. On a quiet country lane he has a head-on collision with another car. Amazed that he is uninjured, he gets out of the car, but the other vehicle is nowhere to be seen. When he sees his own reflection, he discover s that he is looking at the face of a man he hasn’t seen for nearly fifteen years. He is staring at the grown-up face of a lad who used to bully him at school ... 

What are you reading at the moment?

A: I find that I’m not really good at reading when I am writing something. When I was writing ‘Postcards’, I tried reading ‘Call Me By Your Name’ by Andre Aciman. When I read back the passage I had written immediately afterwards, I was grimly amused to discover that one of the main characters, Sam, had turned into an Italian … So now, I only tend to read between books!

Due to the popularity of social networking websites, interacting with readers – be it via Twitter, Facebook Instagram etc. – is becoming increasingly important. How do you cope with these new demands on authors and do you think that they somehow disrupt your writing schedule?

A: I am absolutely hopeless at it! And I desperately need to get better, because you are absolutely right – it is becoming more and more important. At the moment I have an Andy Paulcroft Facebook page, but that is where it starts and stops. I guess I still struggle at the thought that someone might want to know what I am thinking about things... This is why these blog tours are very good for me!

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: Embrace the modern world!!! Also, you can do it. I wanted to write a book for years. And for years I would have an idea that would splutter out at about page thirty. Then, one day, I had an idea for ‘Postcards’ and it didn’t falter at page thirty – it didn’t falter at all. Due to the wonders of self-publishing I suddenly found myself with a copy of a book I had written. It was the best feeling I had ever had!

Thank you for your time!

A: Thank you so much for inviting me.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for the interview and the really interesting questions - they got me to use my brain which is always a frightening thought! Just an update since we did the interview I have bitten the bullet and now have a Twitter page @AndyPaulcroft. I'm roaring into the 21st Century at last - just twenty years behind everyone else ...

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Andy, it was a pleasure! And welcome to the 21st century!

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