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Interview and Guest Post with Ryan Casey!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future? Tough question. I think it would have to be the future, as fascinating as the past is. I think a lot of people think they could just jump into the past and be understood, language-wise, and everything, but of course language is a completely different beast now to how it was. And fashion, too. I wouldn’t want to end up arrested for wearing a bit of colour on my T-shirt, or anything like that. The future is fascinating, but there’s also a problem — what if the Earth has vanished, or something? I’d hate to step out of my Tardis and drop into eternal oblivion. The present day–I’m cool with that.

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose? Very interesting. There would have to be some sort of balance. Like, I’d probably invite Chuck Palahniuk because I think he’s a fantastic writer. I’m a big fan of my music too, so perhaps a genius like Trent Reznor. I have a feeling him and Palahniuk would get on just fine, too, so that’s all good. I’d get Ryan Gosling to come along because he’s probably the coolest person alive right now. I’d invite George W. Bush, although that might cause some friction. I don’t particularly like the man on a political level, but I’m fascinated by George W. Bush ‘the man’. Fascinating character, I feel. I’d like to learn about what drives him, and the like. My fifth guest would be Natalie Portman. She could sit next to me. Just a thought.

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you? My mind. I’d hate to go completely insane on an island, so keeping my sanity would be absolutely top priority. Then again, if I’m alone on an island, I’m not sure it would matter so much really. I’d also absolutely require my music collection and some way of keeping it charged. Is that three things? Can I turn that into an iPad perhaps? That way I get internet, music, films…yeah, my third item could be a working WiFi connection. That way I’d get in touch with my Facebook friends, track myself on Maps, and get the search party out to get me before the battery ran out. Oh, it’s Apple Maps? God help me then.

What is one book everyone should read? The Power of Now. I’m not necessarily someone who sings the praises of self-help books or anything like that, but it’s such an enriching and life-changing read. I don’t believe in all of the principles, but it’s a fantastic way to reframe your life and the way you live it. Once you break down that illusion of the past and the future, the present becomes all the more important to you.

If you were a superhero what would your name be? Damn, I’m awful at these name things. I’m going to cop out and suggest my own name. RyanCasey. Then it’d catch on and just become standard superhero jargon.

If you could have any superpower what would you choose? Teleportation would be awesome because it’d cut out so many boring journeys in life. Imagine the hours and days we’d save if we could just go, ‘alright, take me to [WHEREVER].’ We could visit the wonders of the world in the space of a few hours. That would be brilliant, truly brilliant.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Vanilla. Not the Mr Whippy stuff, as nice as that is, but the proper old-fashioned ice-cream from those amazing ice-cream stalls in English seaside villages. Gorgeous stuff.

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose? There’s a few, but I’d love to meet one of history’s great villains. Just try to see what drives them, see if they do normal everyday things like drink tea and water the flowers. And if it started to get awkward for me, I could always just teleport out of there with my superpower.

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? I hate breakfast. But I always eat it ‘cause I’m kind of mad about having three meals a day, and it’s such an important meal. When I’m in the mood, nothing beats a good English fry-up. Eggs, bacon, sausages… delicious.

Night owl, or early bird? I love the idea of being an early bird, but I’m most certainly a night owl. I always have the intention of getting up early and starting fresh, but technology has ruined any hopes of me getting an early night. The iPad is sleep’s biggest enemy, and I absolutely love it for it.

One food you would never eat? I’m pretty open to anything, however I don’t think I could stomach live squid. The thought of it wriggling around in my mouth brings me to a point of heaving. Also, I couldn’t touch rotten milk. That’s one university experience I’d rather keep firmly in my past, thank you very much.

Pet Peeves? People who go over the top with how busy they are. It’s like, sure, you’re busy, that’s fine. But we’re all busy. You’re not the only person to have ever have been busy in history.

Skittles or M&Ms? Skittles. Especially the purple ones.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. What We Saw is a childhood mystery novel for adults that covers coming-of-age, discovery, and lots of dark, dark stuff.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? I’m working on a new first draft at the moment, too. It’s kind of a ballsy thriller about a contract killer (poetic, I know). I don’t want to talk about it too much yet, but it should be out some time next year. I find talking too far in advance takes the energy away from a project. As for goals: keep on writing. Get my name spread all over that digital shelfspace. It’s the best way to market one’s self, that’s for sure. Not that I’m rushing — just eager to stay focused.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. Every time someone tweets me, comments on my blog, or leaves a review, positive or negative. Seeing my work and effort recognised — that’s the biggest buzz of all.

What is your dream cast for your book? Sometimes when I’m writing, I have clear actors and actresses in my head, however in Something in the Cellar it didn’t really work like that. If I were to help in a cast selection process though, I’d love to see someone like Tilda Swinton in the lead role of Sandra. She proved in We Need To Talk About Kevin that she can capture that tough-but-mortified mother role perfectly. The imagery at the start of the accompanying story, The Runaway, is inspired by a French film called Martyrs, so I’d have Mylène Jampanoï in the lead role.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? I was mad for Lord of the Rings as a young-teen. I’d buy the figures and paint them, pick up basically any magazine covering it. I remember being really aggrieved at a certain scene not being included in Return of the King from the book. Probably the first time I got annoyed at an adaptation, as brilliant a piece of cinema as it is.

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters? YES. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. It’s dark, dirty, and totally captures the mood of Something in the Cellar.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? Stop calling yourself an aspiring author. The sooner you can rid yourself of that dreaded ‘aspiring author’ tag, the better. Seriously. By calling yourself an aspiring author, you’re committing yourself to a stasis that you’ll find it very difficult to break out from. You need to stop aspiring and start being — that, I would argue, is the greatest piece of advice I can give.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? I actually wanted to be a binman/trash collector. I used to enjoy playing with those toy bin-wagons. Funnily enough, I’ve mentioned said toy bin-wagons to friends and they’ve all given me a strange look. You know which ones I mean, right? Still, it could have been worse: one of my male friends aspired to be a ‘mummy’ when he grew up.

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why? Ryan Gosling, because he’s called Ryan and because I’d love to think I’m anywhere near as cool as him…

Can you see yourself in any of your characters? Oh, totally. You see, I have a problem that all writers encounter whereby people who read my books see themselves in the pages. That’s just natural, I think — we project our reality into our fantasy worlds. However, I kind of see fragments of myself in each of my characters, because those characters are a part of my imagination, right? I guess it helps to be a little unstable as writer in that respect.

What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had? Crazy ideas are just the best. I honestly believe that the crazy ideas are the ones that we should just run with. I tend to turn the craziest ones into shorter works, as with Something in the Cellar/The Runaway. What We Saw–my debut novel–is something of a breather from the craziness of those. But we’ll just have to see what the future holds on that front!

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? There’s so much good advice out there, I can’t even begin to narrow it down. However, a piece of advice that will always stick with me is to use criticism constructively. It’s so easy to get bogged down when somebody says they don’t like something or other, but it’s important to weigh up what the person actually says before immediately dismissing it. They could just be making the most important writing tip of your career.

Hidden talent? I can pick objects up between my toes rather successfully.

How do you react to a bad review? Take it on the chin and accept that no piece of work can please everyone. I do my damnedest to make sure the writing quality of my books is as good as it can be, so after that, it’s simply a matter of personal preference than anything. That said, I did receive a review for Something in the Cellar saying that the reader wasn’t a ‘fan of short stories and didn’t like open endings.’ That kind of baffles me a little — if you aren’t a fan of open-ended short stories, then why are you reading one? But still, I bit my tongue and carried on writing.

What do you do in your free time? Free time, haha. Being at university and being a writer doesn’t allow for much of that. But seriously, I listen to music and I watch the occasional film. I think music is a fantastic way to ground one’s self after a tough, busy day. It’s the best form of therapy, and everyone should give themselves an hour of listening every day.

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be? The Not-So-Accidental Zillionaire (I wish).

What’s your favorite season/weather? Summer when it’s winter, and winter when it’s summer.

Who or what inspired you to become an author? I know it’s the age old cliché but I’ve wanted to write stories ever since I was a little kid. I always remember being in the first year of school aged, like, five, and writing a 50-ish word epic about a girl who fell down the stairs and woke up on the loo to find it was all a dream, then fell down the stairs in reality. I guess that’s pretty deep for a five-year-old, but I knew right at that moment that writing was my calling.

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book? It was pretty surreal, actually. Me and my friend were having a few drinks and watching some film or another when I saw Something in the Cellar had gone live on Amazon at like, 2am. The funny thing is, it made two sales instantly. It was a pretty amazing feeling, and although it didn’t necessarily maintain such a pace throughout the rest of launch day, it was so cool seeing those two purchases. I wish I could find those buyers and thank them.

What is your guilty pleasure? I spend far too many hours playing the Football/Soccer Manager games. Not as many as some — I know friends who have put literally weeks of their life into this simulation — but too many. I’m currently on the verge of breaking Premier League history by winning it four times in a row with Chelsea. I should manage that just in time for this year’s update…

What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit? I’m not actually embarrassed about anything I watch or read. I guess the closest to embarrassing is probably Eastenders, a British soap-opera. It’s trashy, but it can get pretty gripping from time to time. It’s also pretty great watching it and thinking, ‘damn, if they let me write for them I could do THIS and THIS and THIS…’

Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is…. The Dead Zone by Stephen King.

Favorite places to travel? I’d have to say Paris. I have a connection with that city. Maybe it’s the romantic within me speaking, I don’t know. Dubrovnik and Rome are pretty spectacular too.

Favorite music? I’m really into the latest Chromatics album at the moment. It’s one of those albums that requires a lot of time but leaves you feeling like the coolest person afterwards. Some amazing things going on in there: Italo Disco revival, gorgeous soundscapes. Brilliant record.

In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with? Chuck Palahniuk. I think we’d throw some awesome ideas together. I reckon working with somebody like that could actually be very liberating too. Otherwise, Stephen King. He’s a master at creating worlds, and I’d very much love to be a part of that world-building process.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Mystery / Coming of Age

Rating – PG15

More details about the book

Connect with Ryan Casey on Facebook & Twitter


Guest Post:

What are the mistakes you see in beginner writers?

by Ryan Casey

I feel slightly awkward talking about ‘beginner writers’, mainly because I still consider myself as one, in a way. Sure, I have a novel and a few short stories out, and granted, I have a blog with writing advice and musings. But I still feel young and fresh in the writing world.

However, there are always a few pearls of wisdom to pass on, even from just a few years of experience. There’s something that grates on me, and although I don’t like to discriminate against ‘beginner’ writers in particular because we’re all one at some stage, it is something that tends to sneak into the habits of those new to the scene.

That ‘something’ is social media abuse.

Now don’t get me wrong — I love Twitter. I tweet a few times per day, sharing content that interests me, general musings, and stuff that I think my followers will enjoy.

I also tweet the occasional promotional link, if I have a new release out, or am promoting a sale.

Note the key word there. Occasional. Promotional spam is where I think a lot of beginner writers fall down, and it’s something that needs to be cut out as soon as possible unless you want to garner a reputation you can’t shake.

I’ll tell you a little hypothetical story. I followed a writer on Twitter. She used to tweet about her own books a lot. I’m talking several times an hour. People moaned about it, tried to kindly tell her that what she was doing wasn’t helping her career.

Where is she three months on? Taking a break from writing to reassess her options.

It’s painful when people give up their dream based on such a minor error of judgement, especially when it’s an error that can be so easily cut out. Sure, it’s tempting to tweet loads of promotional stuff when sales dry up, but it’s important to remember that sales do dry up from time to time. It’s a long game. Instead of selling your soul to promotional spam, use the time to work on a new release instead.

But how do you know whether you are spamming or not? Well, ask yourself the question, ‘would I enjoy reading this?’ If so, then you’re probably fine. If not, then reassess your social media habits. It’ll benefit in the long run, believe me.


  1. What a great post! Thank you! :)

    - Diana Grace