Tuesday, December 18, 2012

10 Questions with Nouveau Beat Writer Dave Louden (@davelostangeles)

This Author Spotlight features Belfast-born writer David Louden.

His debut novel Lost Angeles is a roman á clef-styled novel in the vein of 20th century beat authors. He also blogs under the name John Baxter and his film site Knifed in Venice showcases the best and worst (in equal measure) in horror, exploitation and independent cinema. When he’s not writing he’s battling fuel poverty and the weeping liver.

1. How did you get into writing?
I sort of fell into it. For years I was involved in film programming as a creative outlet. I’d put on film screenings in Belfast and then all of a sudden it was gone and it was nice to have that time and head space back but eventually I got frustrated by the lack of release. I initially began working on a book about Exploitation cinema but a lot of the films were incredibly expensive and the research just went on and on and on. After a while I needed to just step back from it because I didn’t have the money or the laborious research personality but I didn’t want to stop writing so I started tinkering with fiction and immediately found that the style I liked was one that lent itself to a story I had to tell.

2. What do you like best (or least) about writing?
I love telling stories. I think everyone at some point could and does do it. As children we make up narratives all the time only we call it play. At some point we’re told to grow up and stop f*cking around and that’s sad. It took me a long time to silence the devil inside so I could hear what I really wanted to do. I come from a very working class background and almost feel ashamed for wanting to do something “artsy fartsy” and I still suck at putting myself out there but I’m trying because I love telling stories and I’m bored with growing up.

3. What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?
I’m not entirely sure of my process to be honest. About six years ago I spent a few months living in Los Angeles. I was staying in this $12 a night hostel and existing on breakfast burritos, Guinness and tequila and doing the odd bit of market research for money. It was an odd place to live because life and consequences and all that seemed to be other people’s issues. There’s something about not knowing what’s going on in the world that causes a liberating atmosphere. A few of us joked about having to put the LA hostel life down on paper – though we figured most of it wouldn’t be believable. A lot of stuff from then made it into the book, it pretty much rushed out of me so it was easy. I’m finding now I make a lot of notes when I’m putting things together but I think the subject will probably dictate the process…probably.

4. Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”
I love Charles Bukowski, I think he’s an incredibly masculine writer and can sum up in three words what the rest of us waste pages on. That’s remarkably frustrating to read. I love John Fante, he’s amazing. I’m also a lover of William S. Burroughs, Donald Ray Pollock and Tony Parsons and Wendy Powers who was a big help with the book and I’d now call a friend. A few people I reluctantly let read Lost Angeles in the first-second draft stage remarked how it was similar to Parsons/Bukowski which is an amazing compliment. I just hope I’ve earned it, they were probably being generous with Bukowski but I’ll still take it.

5. Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?
I’d instinctively go outside, I’m lucky to have someone who is a brilliant proof reader/copy editor/grammar Nazi so even if I’m wrong I end up right thanks to her.

6. What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?
I’ve nothing against the Oxford comma. It’s important in a lot of situations to eliminate ambiguity though ambiguity can be fun. I recently read about someone “declaring war” on the Oxford comma…I hope it kicks his ass.

7. What is your book Lost Angeles about and how did it come to fruition?
It’s about a borderline alcoholic whose life has fallen apart and how he takes himself off to Los Angeles to kill himself. He spends a lot of the time making superficial connections in an attempt to feel something but his decisions are usually made under the influence and usually make matters worse. The style is somewhat episodic because I wanted it to feel like a series of confessions as he slips closer to the end. A lot of the chapters are based on real situations, real people and real problems. I knew a lot of people back then and we were all a little lost, we drank everyday and were lucky to come through that time unscathed(ish). It’s more fun than it sounds, or at least it was to live it.

8. What’s your current writing project?
I see a lot of genre fiction around, everyone’s doing series’ of novels and then you’ve got me writing about drunks and promiscuity and dirtying up the place. I figured I’d try to write something that would belong in a genre and had the potential to become a series if I wanted to return to it (which I probably won’t) so I got to thinking about what I knew and then I remembered about my cousin. She had an interesting life, one day she just packed up from Belfast, moved to Chicago and started chasing down people who skipped bail so I’m working on a story that’s very loosely based on her when she came back to Belfast. I’m working on a few other things too but they haven’t reached the typer yet.

9. What book(s) are you currently reading?
I’m reading a few things, On the Road because I wanted to read it again before I saw the film, The Devil All The Time because I read Knockemstiff and thought “this guy’s got style” and The Brotherhood of the Grape just because.

10. Who or what inspires your writing?
I’ve a friend called Ben who tells the best stories, some of it’s beyond what I think I could convince people to accept but he’s always good for inspiration. Other than that it comes down to people you know or moments from your life because it’s cheaper than therapy. One of my friends told me about their crazy neighbour the other day. He’s going in the back pocket until I can figure out where best showcases him.

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.
Lost Angeles is available on Kindle and paperback via the following links:

Kindle UK: Lost Angeles

Kindle US: Lost Angeles

Paperback: Lost Angeles

Thank you, Dave, for sharing your novel. I agree that Knockemstiff was very good, and I'm also looking forward to seeing "The Road".

Let us know when your next book is ready!

Be sure to check out Lost Angeles. I used to live in Venice Beach so I can vouch for the lunacy in Dave's novel.

1 comment:

  1. you follow me on twitter so I figured I would check out your blog here, good luck with your novel.