An Interview with Rod Glenn
Interview with Hot Books Daily (February 2012)
Please tell me about your book.
I have written several published novels and contributed to several anthologies. Titles include, The King of America, Sinema: The Northumberland Massacre, The Killing Moon, Sinema 2: Sympathy for the Devil and Holiday of the Dead.
When and why did you start writing?
I started writing around 12 years old. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and been a bit of a dreamer, so it was inevitable really!
What inspires you?
It can be something as simple as observing an unusual event or person or from a dream. I often experience heart-pounding dreams.
Are you working on anything now?
I have several projects in mind, but working mainly on the third book in the Sinema series, which features the anti-hero serial killer, Han Whitman.
Is there anything you do NOT like about being a writer?
You have to have a thick skin as a writer because you hear a lot of rejection, especially when first starting out. Then you have to have a thick skin against bad reviews that can sometimes be very personal. No matter how amazing your book might be there will always be someone out there who utterly despises it!
What do you think of the ebook revolution?
Ebooks are helping to bring the written word to more readers. More people are reading today than ever before and that is partly because of ebooks. Yes, paperback and hardback sales are suffering, but overall it is a good thing. Ebooks will never replace real books altogether, but they certainly have their place in the industry now.
How do you see your writing career in five years?
Despite being in the business for twenty years, it took till last year for me to break into the mainstream, largely due to the huge success of the Sinema books and the introduction of ebooks. My titles sold over 40,000 combined paperback and ebook copies in 2011, so over the next 5 years I want to build on that success. I hope to release at least 1 new title per year, along with contributing to anthologies in between. There are also whispers of some film production interest in Sinema, so fingers crossed on that one.
Is there anything you will NOT write about?
My writing is predominantly of a dark nature, with elements of black humour running through, but I don’t restrict myself to any one genre. I write about what interests me, not what I hope or think might be commercially viable. Commercial success is still a significant factor, but I don’t let it dictate my art.
In what genre do you prefer to write? To read?
I don’t have one specific genre that I prefer to write in – I’ve written thrillers, horror, science fiction, post-apocalypse and fantasy. I’m the same with my reading – I read all sorts and everything, including Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, Cormac McCarthy, Hunter S Thompson, Bernard Cornwell, H G Wells, Richard Matheson, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allen Poe, J R R Tolkien, Christopher Brookmeyre, Yan Martel, Stephen Ambrose and Mark Haddon to name just a few. It is essential for an author to continue to read broadly and prolifically.
Please tell us about any ups and downs in your writing career so far.
Hitting the number 1 spot in psychological thrillers on Amazon last year with Sinema was definitely a high. Attending book readings and signings are always great fun. Being a part of the hugely successful Holiday of the Dead anthology, which won Best Horror Anthology of 2011 at the This is Horror Awards was also fantastic. I became quite disillusioned in the early years of my writing career – it took over ten years to get my first book published and I gave up on several occasions to concentrate on the day job.
Do you have any suggestions to people who might be considering writing as a career?
Make sure you have a thick skin and a shed-load of determination. You will rack up a heck of a lot of rejections before someone somewhere might just sit up and take notice. Write regularly and set yourself realistic goals. One draft is never enough – re-draft several times and make sure you enroll readers with a keen eye who will be honest and critical. Continue to read prolifically and observe your fellow man (or woman).
Anything else you want to add?
“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” I can’t take credit for that. It is, of course, Leonardo da Vinci.
Interview with Radgepacket from Byker Books (November 2008)
So, we’re walking down the road – scratching our heads on who we can torture…I mean interview…when who should we see? Only the Portico Prize shortlisted author, Rod Glenn. We helped him escape the posse of literary groupies that were chasing him with breasts bared for signing of and he was so grateful he gave us this interview.
So, Rod, what’s happening with you at the minute? I was going to say Hey Rod ‘Sup, but remembered I’m not from South Central LA.
Yo, homie. Life is good, ma friend.
You’ve written two novels and a couple of shorts – is there anything else imminent?
I’m currently working on a third novel called The Killing Moon (aye, the title is inspired from the Echo and the Bunnymen song) – it’s a ‘what if’ scenario about the global collapse of civilisation set it northern England in the imminent future.
Your latest book ‘Sinema’ is bloody entertaining and very well located up here in a dark corner of the frozen North but who or what would you say was the inspiration for your very ambitious serial killer?
Strangely enough the central anti-hero character is based more on me than I’d like to imagine. There are elements of his character beyond a physical resemblance that we both share. Although, I haven’t butchered hordes of Northumbrian rural folk…officer. I wanted to delve deep into the dark side of human nature and in doing so learned a bit more about my own. There is real darkness in everyone, it’s just most of us choose not to act upon it.
What are you reading at the minute then (apart from Radepacket obviously)?
Aye, that’s a damn good read, man and loving the Club Men too. I’m re-reading some Edgar Allan Poe shorts at the moment, as well as listening to an audio book collection of H P Lovecraft tales in the car. I’m in the car a fair bit going backwards and forwards from Newcastle to Hexham, so I get through a fair few audios too. Just recently finished a James Patterson, a Nick Hornby and a Mark Haddon too.
You’ve had a bit of an action packed life, sometimes involving broken limbs and buckets of blood. And now you run your own business. How do you find time to write?
I’m back into the free climb rock climbing (climbing without ropes) two years after one of my legs decided to do 180 degrees on itself in a place that shouldn’t bend, but I don’t do the close protection stuff any more – that was a bit of fun in my youth.
You’re a bit of a film buff – what’s ya favourite movie?
Bloody hell, you can’t ask a film fanatic that! I’ll list ‘some’ of my favourites – Alien, The Thing, Jaws, Zulu, The Wild Geese, Get Carter, Life of Brian…I better stop before I really get rolling!
And what have you lashed all the millions on then – knuckle dusters, Star Trek convention tickets or ten pence mix ups?
You don’t make much in this game unless you’re Jo Rowling, Stephen King or Dan Brown unfortunately, but some dusters or a kubatan are always handy for home defence
Any advice you could give the millions of writers and authors out there who never get a sniff of publication?
Never give up – keep sending your work out. When you’ve collected a few rejections (and we all get f’ing fist fulls of em) then take a fresh look at your work – go through another revision process. Repeat this cycle until someone starts taking notice! In the meantime, while that one piece of work is doing the rounds keep writing on other projects. To get better at any craft you have to practice and that means putting in the time and getting yourself into a routine of writing. It is also damn important to continue to read prolifically too. Anyone who says a writer doesn’t have to be a reader is full of the brown smelly stuff.
Ever considered pretending to have ‘become intimate’ with someone vaguely recognisable from a reality show in order to boost your profile?
Who needs to pretend? Nah, my wife is a Blyth lass she’d kick my ass.
What sort of tunes do you like to hear when you’re at the coal face (by that we mean sitting at home, drinking coffee and tapping on the keys while the central heating keeps the nasty Northern wind out)?
Aye, it’s a hard life, mate! Like films, I’ve got quite a varied taste in music – Johnny Cash, Stones, The Jam, ELO, Floyd, Chilli Peppers, Cranberries and Bowie just to name a few.
Do you follow the old adage of ‘write what you know’ and if so how many people have you killed?
I refuse to answer that question until my lawyer is present! I’m modest, I don’t like to kill and tell. To properly achieve a sense of realism you should at least use as much of your own experiences in your writing as you can. Having said that, those experiences can then be used as an undercoat to liberally paint several layers of total bonkers fantasy over the top if you want. Like a good lie, a good book should always have its origins in the truth, but where you go from there is anyone’s guess.
In your time you’ve done a bit of bodyguarding – anyone we’re likely to know?
I didn’t do any celebrity contracts (they’re all preening prima donnas, so they’d have gotten right on my wick). I was looking after the low-key business types who didn’t like any unwanted attention. They were usually in London just for a couple of days at a time and needed a Brit for added security.
We’re all writers here at BB towers (I didn’t say we were any good mind!) and we’ve all been inspired by various people. Who would you say your inspirations were?
I’ve been inspired by Tolkien, Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, Clive Barker, H G Wells, James Herbert, Hunter S Thompson and Terry Pratchett.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
Me, unless I was dead! Although, a recent newspaper reporter did liken me to a hard version of Simon Pegg. So if Simon beefs up a bit and takes a leaf out of Jason Statham’s book then I guess he can have the part.
And what sort of soundtrack would you like playing?
When the Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash, Paint it Black by The Rolling Stones, Mr Blue Sky by ELO, Life on Mars by David Bowie and Eve of Destruction by Barry McGuire would all definitely be in there.
The Radgepacket team and all at Byker Books would like to take this opportunity to thank Rod for giving us his time so freely during this interview and for not kicking our heads in. We wish him lots of success with his writing career and urge you all to look him up and buy his books because they deserve to be read.
An Interview with Rod Glenn by Lauren Dornan of N E Life (March 2006)
Rod, tell us about your novel, The King of America.
It is a story of an America 500 years in the future which is now ruled by a Monarchy. The King is betrayed which sparks off a revolution. Although, as a science fiction it is set in the future, it is a very grounded and realistic story with a collision of old and new. Behind the war, it is essentially a voyage of self discovery for an extremely disillusioned man.
What inspired you to write this novel?
It all started from a very simple question I asked myself as a young lad of 18. What if the USA was ruled by a Monarchy?
How long did it take to write?
It truly has been a labour of love. I first started it when I was 18 years old and now, finally, aged 34, it has been published! Over the years, I have re-written it many times and it has changed and evolved considerably along the way. It was certainly no piece of cake to get published either – I have dozens of rejection letters that I have collected over the years.
Do you identify with any of the characters, if so who and why?
The character I most identify with is Major Yeoville. Without giving too much away, he is a man caught between duty and love. The courage and nobility of his actions is a constant inspiration to me, but he has his flaws too, which makes him very human.
Which other writers inspire you?
I have been hugely inspired by Stephen King for his conflicts of good against evil (especially The Stand and The Dark Tower series), Terry Pratchett for his brilliant humour, James Herbert for the amazing foreboding atmosphere he can portray, J R R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (the ultimate fantasy epic) and Frank Herbert’s Dune (the ultimate science fiction epic).
Any advice for other budding North East writers?
The best advice I can give is to write and write regularly and often. You need to train yourself to write no matter what your mood or what other life issues try to get in your way. Set yourself writing targets, which can be either daily or weekly, but you must stick to them. As well as that, you also need to be able to accept rejection. Every single writer that has EVER been has been rejected at some point in their career, including the most successful writers of today. It’s all part of the developing process.
What’s next for Rod D Glenn?
Well, I have several projects planned. The next novel is a bit of a change to The King of America. It’s a thriller set in Northumberland about a serial killer stalking a remote village. After that, I return to science fiction with a post apocalyptic vision of Britain after a man-made virus is released, devastating the world population. The ideas are coming thick and fast, it’s just a case of finding the time to put them all down on paper!