Tuesday, October 6, 2015

THE GAL'S 31 DAYS OF HORROR: AMONG THE STACKS: Guy Portman


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Guy.  Welcome to The Gal and thank you for being part of The Gal's 31 Days of Horror.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Guy Portman:
I am an introverted creature, with an insatiable appetite for knowledge and a sardonic sense of humour.  I live in London, the city of my birth.  As for my education, I have a B.A. in Theology (a subject I chose out of interest rather than any religious persuasion) and an M.A. in Sports and Leisure Management.  My hobbies are reading, travelling, social media and watching some sports.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

Guy Portman:
Firstly and most pertinently most people don't know I exist (a problem for many writers).  I want to be a famous writer.  I have a sardonic sense of humour - I've mentioned that already, haven't I?  I am over-educated and under-skilled.  I don't like quiche.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Guy Portman:
It was The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Actually it's a picture book.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

Guy Portman:
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Guy Portman:
I began writing about 8 years ago now.  Why - because I had an idea for a book.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write

Guy Portman:
My spare bedroom.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Guy Portman:
I like to wear earphones, to drown out the distractions emanating from the road outside my house.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find challenging?

Guy Portman:
It depends.  Sometimes it's getting the words down, at other times it is deciding what to omit.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?  Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?

Guy Portman:
I have been inspired by many books, including a number of works of Transgressive Fiction (Bret Easton EllisCharles BukowskiWilliam S. Burroughs and Charles Palahniuk - well some of his books anyway).  John Steinbeck is an inspiration to me (particularly The Grapes of WrathThe Pearl and The Wayward Bus).

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Guy Portman:
Taut prose and good pacing.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does it take for you to love a character?  How do you utilize that when creating your characters?

Guy Portman:
One needs to emphasise with a character, whether one loves them or not, and that is something I try and bear in mind when writing.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Guy Portman:
Dyson Devereaux (protagonist of my second novel, Necropolis).  Maybe I shouldn't be saying that - he's a psychopath.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you turned off by a bad cover?  To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?

Guy Portman:
I was heavily involved in the creating of my book covers.  As for bad book covers, I don't think it matters if it is a famous book, but if it isn't, then a bad cover will result in me ignoring that book (as will covers featuring people in a state of undress).

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What have you learned creating your books?

Guy Portman:
It entails a lot of time and effort.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?

Guy Portman:
That's a difficult question, Meghan.  I can't think of a particular scene offhand.  However, I would say any scene entailing action with numerous characters involved is always very difficult to write because you have to bear in mind how one character's action affects another in the scene.  With numerous characters it becomes a challenge.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Guy Portman:
They (Charles Middleworth and Necropolis) have idiosyncratic protagonists and a psychological theme.  What sets them apart from others in the genre (if one could place them neatly in a genre) is their dry humour and the unique writing style of their author.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?

Guy Portman:
Fortunately my book titles have come easily to me, and I can only hope that continues to be the case. You'd have to read my 1st novel to find out why it's called Charles Middleworth, as I would be spoiling the book to explain as to why.  My second novel, Necropolis, is called Necropolis because it's protagonist works for the Burials and Cemeteries department in his local council.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?

Guy Portman:
Fulfillment is merely a dream at this stage.  And besides, I've never written a short story, though after I finish my 3rd novel (release Jan 2016), I am planning to write a book of satirical short stories (possibly two books) about the future.  If they leave me feeling fulfilled, that will be a bonus.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.

Guy Portman:
My two books both have a psychological theme, they also utilise dry humour.  My second book, Necropolis, is a black comedy about a psychopath.  I initially thought Necropolis would particularly appeal to my fellow countrymen (due to the sardonic humour), both male and female.  However, to date I have been flattered by the praise it has got from readers on the other side of the pond.  I must confess that I still haven't quite got to grips with who my target readership are, but with my 3rd novel due for release in January of next year, I plan to rectify that ASAP.  As for the third part of your question, if readers enjoy my books, and they allow themselves to escape from the banality of their everyday existences, then I couldn't be happier.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?

Guy Portman:
No, that would make me look like I don't know what I am doing.  Joking aside - like most writers, I end up deleting lots of passages - those that don't drive the plot towards its conclusion.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is in your 'trunk'?  (Everyone has a book or project, which doesn't necessarily have to be book related, that they have put aside for a 'rainy day' or for when they have extra time.  Do you have one?)

Guy Portman:
I have been working flat out on a novel called Symbiosis (release day Jan 16).  It is a psychological novel about identical twins called Talulah and Taliah.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?


Guy Portman:
Books and then more books.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where can we find you?  (You know, STaLKeR links.)

Guy Portman:
I have a blog.  I have updated it every Friday since its inception 3.5 years ago.  I have devoted over 60 blog posts to famous authors/books (c.f. 10 famous alcoholic authors, 7 posthumously famous authors, 10 famous banned books, 8 controversial books, 7 drug-addicted authors, 5 bilingual authors).  There are also 80 book reviews encompassing various genres.  Although I sell only the odd book through my blog/website, I am grateful for all the positive feedback I get from the numerous people who enjoy reading my posts.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Thanks for stopping by today, Guy.  It was great having you.  I look forward to reading your books. :)
            Before you go, do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you'd like to say that we didn't get to cover in this interview?

Guy Portman:
Thank you for having me.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
You are most welcome, Guy :)


About the author:
As far back as anyone can remember, Guy has been an introverted creature, with an insatiable appetite for knowledge, and a sardonic sense of humour.
            Throughout a childhood in London spent watching cold war propaganda gems such as He-Man, an adolescence confined in various institutions, and a career that has encompassed stints in academic research and the sports industry, Guy has been a keen, if somewhat cynical, social observer.
            Humour of the sardonic variety is a reoccurring theme in all God's writing.  His first novel, Charles Middleworth, is an insightful tale of the unexpected.  The protagonist in his second novel, the satirical black comedy Necropolis, is, like the author, a darkly humorous individual - though, unlike the author, he is a psychopath.
            Guy is a dedicated blogger and an avid reader.

About the books:

Charles Middleworth
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publication date: 12.7.13
Pages: 281

What happens when Adrian, an actuary, has his banal and predictable existence turned upside down by sinister forces that he can neither understand nor control?
            How will he react to a revelation that leaves his life in turmoil?  Will he surrender or strive for redemption in an altered world, where rationality, scientific logic and algorithms no longer provide the answers?

Necropolis
Genre: Dark Humor, Satire
Publication date: 4.17.14
Pages: 306

Dyson Devereux works in the Burials and Cemeteries department in his local council.  Dyson is intelligent, incisive and informed.  He is also a sociopath.  Dyson's contempt for the bureaucracy and banality of his workplace provides ample refuge for his mordant wit.  But the prevalence of Essex Cherubs adorning the headstones of Newton New Cemetery is starting to get on his nerves.
            When an opportunity presents itself, will Dyson seize his chance and find freedom, or is his destiny to be a life of toil in Burials and Cemeteries?
            Brutal, bleak and darkly comical, Necropolis is a savage indictment of the politically correct, health and safety obsessed world in which we live.

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