The editors of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective know that our strength is our writers. We hope that you enjoy getting to know them through our new Writer Interview Series.
What name do you write under?
In what part of the world do you live?
I am currently living in a small seaside village called Whitby, in the North East of England. Whitby is a charming and beautiful little place – little changed in 850 years – with narrow winding streets, ancient buildings, a ruined Abbey on the cliffs and wee cobbled roads – as well as long beaches and the power and majesty of the sea, which crashes over the town during storms or is as still as glass when calm. Whitby also has connections to literature – Lewis Carroll stayed here a few times, but more famously Bram Stoker was also a visitor and set much of the beginning of Dracula in the town, inspired by the view from his hotel window.
Tell us about yourself.
Born in 1983, lived in the same dying post-industrial town called Dunstable until I was nineteen – a town which, in the spirit of hiraeth, I still have affection for but I know I can never revisit. Spent most of my childhood playing alone or with a few close friends, writing stories and inventing hundreds more in my own head. Dunstable still haunts many of my stories – characters, locations and experiences make up a big chunk of my work, and it is a town that I find difficult to fully extricate myself from, and yet I know I will never live there again.
Between the ages of 16 and 18 I had a knife pulled on me three times, and a few other incidents in which people wished to cause myself (and sometimes my friends) considerable harm. It’s that kind of area.
I moved to York attending the University of York St John in 2003 studying English Literature; where I largely ignored the dull course texts and bummed around reading Catcher In The Rye, wearing eyeliner and reading poetry in coffee shops.
Yeah, I know…
However during this time I decided to become A Proper Writer after getting a very high mark for a Creative Writing module. Since then I have bounced from job to job, town to town, taking up art and photography, playing the guitar, trying to find the point of it all but it always comes back to words and images and the love of them.
Where do you publish your work?
Writing: Jimmi Campkin
When did you begin your blog and what motivated you start it?
I began my blog in it’s current incarnation around 2012/13. I had been going through a writing drought, and I felt a new platform with a clean slate might inspire me, although it took a long time for me to feel comfortable writing again. I’ve had an online blog/website since the late-90’s though, when I had two long-running Livejournal accounts which mixed my real life with fiction…. something I still do now.
What inspires/motivates you to keep blogging on your site?
As grandiose as this sounds, I feel as though I have been put here to create. There is nothing else that I am (relatively) good at, and also enjoy doing. I can’t rewire a plug, I can’t swim and I cannot climb the greasy company pole in a job I detest for fifty years and retire miserable. Whether it is photography or words, I need to do this or there is no point.
When did you join the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective?
I am a newcomer to the collective, and no less humbled by it.
How did you find your way to Sudden Denouement?
I had already heard of SD, but felt slightly intimidated by the quality and quantity of words already on there. However SK Nicholas – one of my closest friends, if not my absolute closest, and someone I have known since we were both in single digits age-wise – recommended that I try and join, and put in some very encouraging words on my behalf.
What does “Divergent Literature” mean to you?
Divergent to me is something challenging, and far from the safe and cosy world that seems to perpetuate the shelves of modern bookstores these days. When something awful like 50 Shades can immediately generate a thousand copycats flooding the market, and the gaps are filled with dry crime, romantic slush and ghost-written autobiographies by people still in their thirties, it is important to still have a gateway to fiction that makes you think and feel and that sometimes grabs you by the shirt, forces you against a wall and demands to be seen. Fiction that sometimes doesn’t work, but that still merits a thoughtful response. Words and stories and poems that are brave enough to fly close to the sun, knowing that their wings may melt. Divergent is to not be afraid of a heroic failure in the pursuit of reaching out and touching the fingertips of someone looking for a fellow lost soul to be their guardian in the Big Bad Real World of white picket fences and Donald Trump. To want to be Divergent is the desire to connect with Human Beings as opposed to Hard Capital and Sales Demographics.
Jasper Kerkau frequently talks about Sudden Denouement writers using the ‘secret language’. What is it?
I can’t tell you.
Tell us about your literary influences?
Iain Banks was an early influence on my writing, particularly The Crow Road and The Wasp Factory. Jeffrey Eugenides The Virgin Suicides and Douglas Coupland’s Life After God feature sentences that make me want to climb on my roof and punch the air in triumph. In recent years I have discovered Bukowski and his anarchic commentary on the Down Life, and even higher than Charles B, I need to acknowledge Donald Ray Pollock whose works based around his life in deepest Ohio are beautiful, poetic and sympathetic to people who have been forgotten by society – I rate him above Bukowski and I rate Bukowski high. Although this smacks of a weird form of nepotism, SK Nicholas has always been an influence. I am fortunate enough to have been reading his work since we were both teenagers with Livejournals and I’ve always admired his words. Lastly, I think JG Ballard possessed the finest and most prescient mind of anyone I have ever read. Although I never attempt to write like him, stories like High Rise and my personal favourite Vermillion Sands are examples of what literature can do when a mind is unshackled and allowed to fly.
Has any of your work been published in print? How did that happen?
My work has featured in literary magazines such as Gravel, and a few others that have since passed peacefully away. I have also written for various fanzines and independent publications.
What are your writing goals?
My desire is to have a novel and a collection of short stories published. I would also like to see my Sanctuary series republished in a format that is larger and more affordable to showcase my photography. Ultimately, it is about making connections. I want my work to be seen by as many eyes as possible, in the hope that I can inspire someone as much as my inspirations have driven me.
Which pieces of your own writing are your favorites?
What else would like to share about your writing, Sudden Denouement, or yourself?
“What am I in the eyes of most people – a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person – somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then – even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart”
Vincent van Gogh
“It is a time of tons of verbiage, activity, consumption. Which condition is better for the world at large I shall not venture to discuss. But I do know, that many of those who are driven to this life are desperately searching for those pockets of silence where we can root and grow. We must all hope we find them”