Interview | GP Grewal author of Machine Wash Warm, Tumble Dry

GP Grewal was one of the first writers I met via free Kindle downloads when I read his novel Nihilist 5.0. I went on to read both his other novels Machine Wash Warm, Tumble Dry and Half-Breed. I found all three books to be well written, challenging and thought provoking. I was delighted when GP Grewal agreed to an interview for Indie Bookworm.

Why did you write Machine Wash Warm, Tumble Dry?

I wrote Machine Wash Warm, Tumble Dry for the same reason I wrote my other literary novels. It was something I needed to get off my chest. The loneliness, the apathy, the idiocy of our modern day, consumer-oriented society: I don’t know who decided we should be living like this, but it really sucks.

Other than that, I’ll admit I wrote it because I couldn’t find a publisher or agent for my fantasy novel and so I decided to have a go at writing about the “real world”, which is too bad because the real world is not something I like.

What kind of reader would enjoy Machine Wash Warm, Tumble Dry?

I’d say anyone under thirty who is open-minded and understands how silly most of the things we believe in are.

How did you develop your characters?

The main characters are composites of former friends, acquaintances, and co-workers. I’ve known all of them at one point or another, and so they were easy to write about. Leonard in particular I’ve known from some of the nerdier types I’ve hung out with, and having spent at least a couple of years around actors, I was pretty familiar with Mark Gold.

Why did you decide to publish Machine Wash Warm, Tumble Dry yourself?

Despite a couple of near hits, I wasn’t having any luck with literary agents and the dozens of boilerplate rejections were getting old. The few agents who did show genuine interest made me wait for weeks or months before deciding they didn’t like it enough or that it would be too hard to sell. Then I heard about people publishing their manuscripts as e-books on Amazon and decided to give it a go.

Are you working on any new writing at the moment?

After Machine Wash, Nihilist, and especially Half-Breed I’m pretty burnt out on writing literary novels and so I’ve decided to put that aside for now. I have a feeling my next book might be another fantasy. Then again, maybe not. I’ve started a couple of new stories but nothing I’m too crazy about. I guess I’m waiting to see where the wind takes me. If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s a writer who feels compelled to keep churning out novels for either monetary reasons or just to show how hard he’s working. I find that very crass.

GP Grewal is the author of Nihilist 5.0, Machine Wash Warm, Tumble Dry and Half-Breed. Check out his Amazon author page for links to all his books:

Links to my reviews of each of these books:

Interview | Jonathan Hill author of Maureen goes to Venice

I really enjoyed reading Maureen goes to Venice by Jonathan Hill and was delighted when he agreed to an interview for Indie Bookworm.

Why did you write Maureen goes to Venice?

Maureen is a comic character from my debut book of short stories.  I had no intention of writing more about her but she proved to be popular with readers of that first book.  So I decided to send her to Venice and see what happened!  Why Venice?  Well I had holidayed there myself recently and felt able to convey the enchanting atmosphere of the place on paper.

What kind of reader would enjoy Maureen goes to Venice?

The book is essentially a comedy in which Maureen finds herself in all manner of scrapes.  She is a disaster magnet!  Anyone who enjoys humorous fiction should enjoy Maureen’s adventure.  When Maureen’s around, a laugh is never far way, even though it’s usually at her expense!  It’s not all funny, though.  There’s the odd moment of poignancy and darkness too.

How did you develop your characters?

When writing about Maureen, I never actually plan how she will develop.  I tend to create situations for her and ‘see’ how she will respond to them.  In Maureen goes to Venice, I started to introduce little snippets of Maureen’s past and, in the subsequent book, A Letter for Maureen, her past plays a much greater role.  It shows that Maureen is a flawed character, and one with real feelings.  I think providing a back story is so important for allowing readers to get to know a character.

Maureen has been described as being like Keeping Up Appearances’ Hyacinth Bucket (“It’s Bouquet!”).  There are certainly similarities, but Hyacinth is usually solely a source of humour, whereas Maureen also gains readers’ sympathy.  Yes, readers laugh at her and cringe at her behaviour, but they also realise she hurts beneath the surface.  I try to keep readers on their toes.  One minute you may be laughing out loud at Maureen’s expense, but the next you may feel guilty for doing so.  She is a figure of farce but she still has real emotions.

Why did you decide to publish Maureen goes to Venice yourself?

There is a huge amount of satisfaction to be gained by writing and publishing your own work.  Self-publishing on Amazon has been an amazing step forward for authors and it delights me every time someone downloads a copy of my work.

Are you working on any new writing at the moment?

I have quite a few unreleased short stories which I want to publish in a sequel to my first book of shorts, ECLECTIC: Ten Very Different Tales.  That has taken a back seat to Maureen at the moment, though; she is one demanding lady!  I have been overwhelmed and humbled by readers’ reactions to my disaster-prone character, and as long as readers keep clamouring for more Maureen, I will write it!  At the end of A Letter for Maureen, my latest book, Maureen’s life changed dramatically.  A new life lies ahead for her and that is what I’m working on at the moment!

Visit Jonathan Hill's author page on Amazon for details of all his books.

Read my review of Maureen goes to Venice

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Review | Maureen Goes to Venice | Jonathan Hill

I first met Maureen when she was visiting an Art Exhibition in Jonathan Hill's collection of short stories Eclectic. There she was a rather charming but hapless lady of mature years who was endearing although slightly ridiculous. On her trip to Venice her less endearing characteristics come to the fore and her egotistical behaviour is more developed.

That said, Maureen Goes to Venice is a very funny book and some of the predicaments she finds herself in verge on farce; although her final encounter with William takes a more serious turn. Maureen's trip to Venice is of short duration and the book whizzes along at a good pace trying to keep up with Maureen as she attempts to enjoy her holiday.

The book presents a fascinating picture of Venice that is portrayed both on and off the tourist track. The author must know Venice very well or has done some good research. There are several short descriptive passages which show the writer's ability to evoke scenes and atmospheres.

The book is peopled with a cast of minor characters who are given personalities by the author's eye for quirky details and succinct comments. I won't say anything about William, not wishing to reveal anything about the plot, other than he is so obnoxious you feel sorry for Maureen.

There are some scenes which make you laugh aloud most notably the cat and fish episode; although even while you're laughing you still feel sorry for poor Maureen. The author makes fun of Maureen without being cruel; he writes about her eccentricities without caricature; and he takes the reader into the deeper and darker aspects of Maureen's personality with a deft, light touch.

Jonathan Hill has written another book about Maureen: A Letter for Maureen. I have downloaded it and am looking forward to seeing how the character develops and how she behaves on her home ground. As I wrote in an earlier blog post, I was impressed when I read Eclectic and if you haven't read any of Jonathan Hill's writing that's a good place to start. But if you want a good, humorous, enjoyable read then just go with Maureen to Venice; I'm sure you will enjoy the trip.

Link to Maureen Goes To Venice amazon uk amazon usa

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Review | Whole Lotta Love | David Harris Wilson

The blurb of Whole Lotta Love tells you that the novel is a contemporary re-imagining of a Dickens novel which has been re-set in the 1980s of Margaret Thatcher's Britain.

The protagonist is Brian Sinclair who is drawn from his dull, monotonous life of beer, leather jackets and 'Metal' into the world of organised crime. His motivation - to try and impress a girl he hardly knows.

As you read the novel, which we are told is Brian's attempt at catharsis, you are drawn with him into a world of underclass morals and behaviours. You first get to know his unappealing and slobbish circle of friends which he re-places as the novel goes on with another circle of equally unappealing but increasingly dangerous friends.

In some ways, the narrative stretches credulity but the structure of the novel gives it a plausible grounding which makes you want to read on. As Brian explains in the opening pages he is going to write it all down to get it out of his head. He also has a set of cassette tapes that are going to help him do just that which are transcribed intermittently throughout the novel. This device works well to move the story on and to offer alternative perspectives to what's going on.

There are several aspects of the 1980s which are explored in the novel. These include the gentrification of run-down areas, boy-racers, police corruption and governmental attitudes towards society. This creates a well developed sense of where and when the novel is taking place and contributes to building up the characters that feature in the book.

I particularly enjoyed the boy-racer aspects of Whole Lotta Love. I'm sure the details are accurate; they feel very authentic anyway and make Brian into a much more interesting character who may well have got into the difficulties he does because of his need for excitement.

Once again, author David Harris Wilson has told a good yarn with some unusual aspects and details. I've already read his other novels and am impressed that each one is so different from the others. I still think Tales of Johan is his best novel but Whole Lotta Love is well worth a look.

Some while ago Mr Harris Wilson contributed an author interview to my blog and said that he was working on his next novel The Plain of Jars. Well, I hope he's making good progress because I for one am looking forward to reading it.

LINK to David Harris Wilson's author page on Amazon

Indie Bookworm interview with David Harris Wilson

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