Bookcase Focus: An Interview with Alun Davies

Bookcase Focus: An Interview with Alun Davies

Wales Literature Exchange interviewed our Bookcase author Alun Davies, about his writing and his influences.


What first inspired you to be an author and where do your ideas come from?

There is a logical fallacy known as the ‘Appeal to Extremes’, whereby one attempts to discredit a reasonable statement (e.g. ‘Drinking water is good for you’) by extrapolating it to its extreme state (e.g. ‘Drinking water cannot be good for you because if you drank large volumes of water continuously it would ultimately kill you’). Many of my ideas come from this same logical process – taking a scenario that I come across or read about and exploring what would happen if you pursued it to its illogical conclusion. This has always fascinated me and forms the basis for the books I have written, and for those I have planned out but am yet to start. But there was no one ‘Eureka’ moment that inspired me to become an author – I just sat down with a laptop one day and started writing.
 

How would you describe your writing?

Fast-paced. Dark. Funny (at times). Gruesome (at other times).
 

Which authors have influenced you the most?

Whilst my books are detective novels, authors from outside the traditional murder mystery genre have had the most influence on me - HP Lovecraft, JK Rowling, Christopher Brookmeyer, Kurt Vonnegut, Haruki Murakami and Llwyd Owen to name but a few.
 

In your opinion what are the biggest challenges that writers face today – and do you think these challenges have changed since you started writing?

Time. Writing is a time-consuming process, and in many cases needs to be slotted in around work, family and other commitments. Happily, since my first book was published my family has grown by one, therefore the challenge has increased accordingly.
 

What are the hardest and easiest parts of being a writer?

I have a rather laboured analogy that compares the process of writing with running a marathon. You prepare as much as you can, but the easiest parts are always at the beginning and the end. The hardest part is the middle – the energy and enthusiasm of the beginning has been consumed, but the final straight is still some way off. Admittedly this analogy slightly falls apart at its conclusion, as nobody has ever handed me a free t-shirt and a banana for finishing a book.
 

Which writer from Wales would you recommend to readers and why?

In Welsh I would recommend Guto Dafydd – his novel ‘Ymbelydredd’ is one of the great Welsh novels of the last 10 years. In English, Emyr Humphreys – a true literary giant, and one that I had the pleasure of getting know in the years prior to his recent passing. ‘Outside the House of Baal’, ‘A Toy Epic’, and many of his other works stand as classics not only of the literature of Wales, but of literature as a whole.

 

Ar Lwybr Dial was selected to the Wales Literature Exchange 2020 Bookcase, our annual selection of recent Welsh literary works which we recommend for translation.

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