Thursday, September 15, 2011

Author Insides - N. God Savage

N. God Savage was born in Northern Ireland and still hasn't managed to escape. He has written fiction for over ten years, but only recently entertained the idea that other people might want to read it. His writing has appeared in print and online at places like The Catalonian Review and Word Riot. He currently lives in Belfast with his wife and spends his days writing up his PhD dissertation in philosophy.

His short story "The Ghost of The Holy Lands" appeared in the Autumn 2010 issue of The Battered Suitcase

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

It happened gradually. I have dabbled since I was at school, but I would say I seriously committed to writing fiction in my early twenties.

Why do you write?
Now, I write because I have been at it for so long that I couldn't not write. It is built into my life. It's an essential part of the way I understand the world around me.

Is being a writer/poet anything like you imagined it would be?
At the start, yes, because I wasn't doing it properly – I worked haphazardly and was more focused on the act of writing than the end result. Now I take a more methodical approach, and I'm constantly surprised by how much hard work is actually involved.

What do you think makes a good story?
I think it is about the balance of form and content. It must be well-crafted, of course, but there must be some passion or excitement to give meat to the bones of the craft.

What's your favorite genre to read?
Anything that is as much about the language as it is about the other stuff – plot, characters, ideas and so on. I suppose that is "literary fiction."

Who is your favorite author or poet?
It is forever changing. At the moment I am very much into John Banville and Nabokov.

What books or stories have most influenced you as a writer?
I suppose it is the writers I read during the time I most developed as a writer: Haruki Murakami, Bret Easton Ellis and Kurt Vonnegut. That's not to say I write like them, or even that I enjoy them as much as I used to. But they are the background to my writing, I think. Specific books that stand out in my mind: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (Murakami) The Rules of Attraction (Ellis). I have studied philosophy for the past eight years, and it also strongly influences my work.

What books or stories have most influenced you as a person?
The Proud Highway, which is the first volume of Hunter S. Thompson's collected letters. It is a lesson in determination and defiance.

Where/how do you find the most inspiration?
I am often inspired by ideas. Recently, a lot of my writing is a reaction to what philosophers call physicalism – the claim that everything, including the mind, can be completely explained in terms of physical things.

What does your family think of your writing?
My wife is incredibly supportive and constantly – yet constructively – critical. The rest of my family are not really interested, nor am I interested in their interest. I think they just don't get it, which is fine.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
At the moment I'm writing up my PhD, so I spend half the day on that and the other half writing fiction. Fiction usually takes up the morning, and I try to start as early as I can. The sad part of the day comes when I have to set the fiction aside.

Do you have any writing quirks or rituals?
Not really. I just sit down, without fuss, and get on with it.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The single greatest challenge is that of constant rejection. It's not that I would ever give up – it's just a very long slog.

What are your current projects?
I have almost completed a novel. I've been working on it on and off for years now, and am pushing hard to get it finished. When I'm happy with it I'll send it off to agents, and brace myself for another round of rejections.

What are you planning for future projects?
An idea for another novel is simmering, but I'm trying to keep it off the boil until I finish the first one.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don't be afraid to write badly. You can always delete it later.

Where can we find your work?
At my blog, ( http://www.ngodsavage.com/ ) where there are also drawings and ramblings and other miscellany.