A website designer and songwriter from Fulwood has self-published his debut novel – which peaked at number 12 in Kindle’s Literary Fiction chart when released as a free promotion.
Paddy Green challenged himself to write a book in 30 days after spotting a competition on the internet. A month later he released The Old Terra Vitae, a surreal and darkly comic fable that examines life, death and the grey area in between. As well as featuring on Amazon as a Kindle download, it’s also available to purchase online as a paperback.
The book follows Loupe, who has died at the hands of a social media formed mob and is stuck in the drudgery of a 9 to 5 day job as a poltergeist. Accompanied by his friend Juju, an alcoholic ghost dog, Loupe learns that it’s not easy to survive in the afterlife.
Paddy is a songwriter and guitarist for Preston rock band Zvilnik and became a father in 2011. Blog Preston spoke to him about his new side line in fiction writing and where he found his influences.
Is The Old Terra Vitae your first experience of creative writing?
“I’ve written a couple of short stories, but nothing like this. The closest I’ve come is writing lyrics. When you write lyrics you get a feel for the rhythm in words and it helps if you have a beat when writing prose. I also put a lot of words into my book, just like I do with songs”.
Is the book a one off?
“I’m definitely going to do some more. At first it was a challenge to prove I could do it and now I have, in theory, the second one should be easier… I’ve a couple of ideas. On the book’s Facebook page some people have said they’d like an anthology of fiction and I might tackle a book of short stories before another novel.
Has becoming a father influenced the book?
“Yes totally. I don’t want to spoil the book, but there are some nasty bits involving birth based scenarios inspired by real events.”
How did you find time to juggle a baby, a book and a band?
“There’s always time. Luckily I have an understanding and supportive fiancé and was able to work on it a few hours on a night after the baby was asleep”.
I’ve heard it did well in the Kindle charts, where did it get to?
“Well I ran a free promotion and that gave it a massive boost. I managed to get to 9 in the Horror download charts on Amazon – it was great seeing it rubbing shoulders with books by writers like Stephen King! It got to 12 in the Literary Fiction charts too. It’s not as high now the promotion is over, but it’s not doing badly. I’ve not made enough to retire yet though…”
The Old Terra Vitae is sometimes disturbing; other times its laugh out loud funny. Most of the time it’s both. Do you enjoy finding humour in the macabre?
“Yes! This is something I’ve always done musically too, writing happy songs in minor keys and sad songs that are happy and bouncy. It’s funny to make juxtapositions like that. I actually got a review earlier that’s stuck with me and sums up exactly what I was aiming for with the book – ‘Recommended to anyone who doesn’t need their horrifying to be quite so serious, or indeed their funny to be quite so frivolous.’
Who has inspired your writing?
“I’d say Michael Marshal Smith, Jeff Noon and Robert Rankin, definitely Robert Rankin… My fiancé has been a huge support”.
Has living in Preston influenced the book?
“I imagined in my head that the Authority building in the book, which is described as this big, oppressive monolith, was like 20 Preston bus stations on top of each other. The bar in the book, the Skeleton Key, is also based on the Mad Ferret bar. Even down to the description of graffiti on the toilet words. It’s like a bad version!”
Here’s a scenario – the novel takes off and Hollywood comes calling. Who would you want to direct it?
“Ooo, that’s a good question. Definitely Guillermo del Toro, I think he’d get the story and feel. Or Jean-Pierre Jeunet! Hollywood would probably go for Tim Burton though.”
Even though you poke fun at him in there?
The Old Terror Vitae is available here.