|AUTHOR IAN AYRIS|
PUSHIN' ABIDE BY ME
AS IT WAS MEANT TO BE!
Ian Ayris sits down with
and weighs in on Brit Grit, writing,
and dark places that bring
to your eyes . . . .
|AUTHOR KEVIN MICHAELS|
AT THE BIJOU COHORT
AND JERSEY TOUGH GUY
KM: Your writing is filled with a dark, threatening subtlety. Where do you find your inspiration and which
writers influence your style?
IA: I think my writing is most heavily
influenced by Virginia Woolf and perhaps, Ernest Hemingway. They are two writers I consider that were
able to really push the boundaries of what writing could be.
KM: I get Hemingway but Virginia Woolf? Seriously?
IA: Virginia Woolf, she could dig so deep
inside, not caring about sentence structure or how it should be written – a
sentence could fill a whole page and she wouldn't care. The important thing was she could delve deep into
the darkness, bring it out and let it flow.
Hemingway and Woolf dug deep into their own darkness and had the courage
to bring it out and lay it open on the page for the world to see.
KM: And how has
that translated and impacted your own writing?
and Woolf have inspired me not to care about style. I always write in the vernacular of the East
End of London, where I sort of come from – although, in truth, mine is more of
what's called an Estuary accent. Similar
to the East End dialect, but not quite.
KM: Sounds like your style is also rooted in your own history. By your own admission you’ve had some low
IA: The people I've worked with, they've
been my biggest inspiration. Like I
said, all my jobs have been low paid, working class type of jobs…. right at the
bottom of the ladder. And the people
I've worked with, none of them choose to work in these places. They just ended up there. The atmosphere was often resentful, a lot of
anger, a lot of wondering how we ended up in these places, what life choices we
made to get us to this point.
The respect I have for these people
leads me to construct, quite unconsciously, my stories in a way in which the
central character may do or say some quite dark and depraved things. I want the reader to go away wondering if
they were in that character’s position, with that character's history, if they
wouldn't have said or done the exact same thing.
more than ten years you’ve worked as a counselor and supervised other
counselors in one of the most deprived areas of London. What do you draw from that as a
IA: To be in a room with a broken soul and
being able to hold out a hand and go with them to their darkest places, that
brings tears just thinking about it. There
is courage in broken people….that's why the characters in my stories are all
broken, in varying degrees. And it's my
job as a writer, same as a counselor, to take them to their darkest place and
show them how courageous they really are.
KM: You have a strong connection with a number of crime writers in
The UK (a talented lot that includes Paul D Brazill, Nick Quantrill, and Nigel
Bird among others).
IA: They're a great bunch.
And there's loads of them, so they'll forgive me if I don't name them
all. The term Brit Grit now seems to be
a sort of banner we can all rally around, and it's a lot of fun to know how
many like-minded writers there really are
here in Old Blighty. The biggest
influence they all have on me – every one – is that sense that we're all in
backstage and centerstage,
an AT THE BIJOU star,
releasing his latest sure shot
classiest author reviews on Ian Ayris's
ABIDE WITH ME:
Then there is Abide With Me from Ian Ayris. Ian is British and I've been a fan of his shorts for a while now. Ian stood out to me as having a very distinct voice. Very British and one I could always hear in my head as I read, you know? I was thrilled to hear he had a novel coming out and I was so keen to have one I ended up slipping through the Amazon cracks and ended up accidentally with a copy of the book a full five months (I think) before it comes out. Since I told Ian I got one in the mail they have stopped the presses and no more will be let loose in the wild until the actual release date.
Well, keep your eyes out for that because Abide With Me is one you will want to add to your list. I guess technically it is a novella. It's short anyway, but it reads very deeply. It is a crime story of sorts, but really it is quite a bit more and the crime tag will do it a disservice. It is a finely drawn character study of two young men in a working class British neighborhood growing up in the turbulent 70s and 80s.
John, our narrator, is a fully realized character with flesh on his bones and blood in his veins. The details and finely drawn characters let me immerse myself in a world I don't know at all but completely understood through the writing.
And then that voice! Ayris creates a world of language that transported me. And isn't that what fiction is all about? John's simple street language isn't fancy but it fits the character. Whenever I would dig into Abide With Me, I left Southern California and was dropped into a rain-soaked neighborhood of row houses and school yards, prisons and football pitches. I didn't always know what John was saying, though the slang became more clear as I went along and I feel like I could hold my own if I was dropped in a London suburb tomorrow. Sure, there's too much soccer... I mean football. But that is the world of Abide With Me and I wouldn't change a thing.
It really isn't until the last third that it becomes a true crime novel and by that point you have such an investment in the characters that what they go through in the finale is that much more heartbreaking.
It's literary, it's crime, it uses the word 'fuck' more than anything I've ever seen in my life. It is so much more than what the 150 page count will make you expect. Expect to be moved and taken to a whole different world that is as real as your own.
AT THE BIJOUlauds
for a tempting two-chapter
free offering of the March, 2012
publication of ABIDE WITH ME ~ HERE.
And somehow, you get in sync with the world better.
I sure do. (all of the above)
Psst Bub. You too Toots.
You eyeballed The NOIRtorious
Lineup Katie's presenting?
HERE'S LOOKIN' at DECEMBER decking NOIR NOEL ~ AT THE BIJOU
LINK delicious INFLUENCES of ~
LINKS TO OUR NOIR SO FAR ~
NOIRTORIOUS COMING ATTRACTIONS ~
Every-other-day cold crimes . . . decking NOIR NOEL in December & beyond:
Paul Brazill ... Kevin J Mackey ... Leon Jackson Davenport
Steven Miscandlon ... BR Stateham ...
Luca Veste, on the record 'bout OFF THE RECORD
Sal Buttaci ... Julian Bramwell Slater ...
Helen Howell ... Christina Vincent ... Charlie Wade ...
Darren Sant ... Aidan Fritz ... Lily Childs ...
Vic Watson ... Fiona Johnson ... Jack Bates ...
Thomas Pluck and the Lost Children benefit show
New Year challenge, new NOIR Publisher, BLASTED HEATH
editor John Kenyon, publisher of GRIFT magazine
with stories of GRIMM TALES' greats
Rex Pickett picks a surprise ...
plus . . . return of our pally, the great Randisi ...
AT THE BIJOU'S Harry B Sanderford ... Matthew Magda ...
plus return pizazz by our masters of the ceremonious ~
Kevin MadDog Michaels and Absolutely*Kate ...
Why ~ Who knows who's getting into the act? . . .
RAYMOND CHANDLER may be channeled!
ABSOLUTELY*KATE, BOGEY & PALLY PRODUCTIONS
DECEMBER decks NOIR NOEL AT THE BIJOU