Lucky 13 Interview With Guy Morpuss
1 – Can you start by telling us a little about your current book?
Five Minds is about five people who share one body - called a Commune. They live in a world where people must choose between being a Commune (live to 142, but share your body), a Hedonist (live a life of luxury, but die aged 42), an Android (upload your mind into an artificial body), or a Worker (stay as you are).
The five protagonists have travelled to a Death Park, where people can play games and gamble some of their lifespan. During a game one of them disappears. Have they been killed? And if so, by someone outside their body, or by another member of the Commune? They are all in danger, and as they search for the answer old animosities resurface.
2 – Are you a plotter or a panster?
Somewhere in between. I need to know how the story will end - but how I get there is unknown to me. For Five Minds I wrote the first chapter, the last chapter, and the pivotal motivation chapter in the middle. Then I went back and filled in the gaps.
3 – Savoury or sweet?
Sweet. Lindt rabbits or reindeer (depending on the season) are my downfall.
4 – Three books to take to a desert Island. Go!
Use of Weapons, by Iain M Banks. I love the fact that the book makes no sense until a long way in. And there is a chilling moment when you understand where the title comes from. I’ve read it at least five times, but would happily re-read it several more.
An Instance of the Fingerpost, by Iain Pears. There are four narrators, each one showing how unreliable the last one was. And it’s set in a wonderfully atmospheric 17th Century Oxford.
The Stone and the Flute, by Hans Bemmann. It’s a fantasy, but not in a dragons and wizards sense. It’s about a young man who does something terrible, and spends the rest of his life finding redemption. The ending is sad but beautifully uplifting.
5 – Star Wars or Star Trek?
I grew up with Star Trek, so it has to be that.
6 – If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
The ability to unwind time. Just by a short amount - thirty minutes would do. When I think of all the things I’ve said or done that I could unwind, and redo.
7 – Music or Silence when writing?
Music. I listen to the same thing again and again, and tune it out. But when I stop writing it helps me think about where to go next. Generally something loud, that will drown out any background noise: Vampire Weekend, The Gaslight Anthem, German Schlager music (the modern sort).
8 – If you could live anywhere in the world, and take everything that you love with you, where would you choose?
Vancouver Island. I like the sea, and remote places. But it’s also quite close to civilisation. I’d want to be able to have the occasional trip to New York - which would be my second choice.
9 - Your favourite karaoke song?
I’ve got this far in life without ever singing karaoke - and I think it best for all if I don’t start now.
10 – One piece of advice to an aspiring writer?
Rejection isn’t personal. Almost every book you see published will have been rejected by far more agents and publishers than made an offer for it. Fiction is subjective. Look up your favourite book on Amazon or Goodreads, and you’ll see plenty of one-star reviews. The best way to ensure you’ll never be published is to take rejection personally, and give up.
11 – You win £1 million, but you must give half to charity. Which charity do you choose, and what do you do with the rest of the money?
That’s so hard. I’d probably share it round several cat rescue centres. We got our cats from one, and they’re all doing a fantastic job with almost no funds.
The other half would go to buy my log cabin on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
12 – Horror films, yes or no? If so, any favourites?
No, if they’re just films with blood, guts and shocks. But psychological horrors I do enjoy. The Silence of the Lambs is one of the most memorable and chilling films I’ve ever seen.
13 - What are you currently working on?
I’ve finished the first draft of my second novel, Black Lake. It’s a stand-alone book set in the near future, in a remote town on Vancouver Island. The local RCMP constable is investigating the murder of a prominent member of a First Nations people. Some of them have the ability to unwind time by six hours. So every time she gets close to a solution, it all unravels.
The manuscript is currently with my editor, Miranda Jewess. So there will be edits to come. I’m fascinated to know what she makes of it.
I’ve got an idea for Book 3, which I’ll write some time this year. But at the moment I’m still at the thinking stage.