TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF – HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING? ANY PUBLICATIONS? do you have a daily writing routine?
I’ve been writing seriously for the last fifteen years or so. In that time I’ve written about fifty stories and four novels, some of which will never see the light of day.
My first real encouragement came from a story reading event – Tales of the Decongested – that used to run at Foyles Bookshop on the Charing Cross Road; a couple of creative writing classes at Goldsmiths helped me up my game.
Of the stories, I’ve published about thirty in a range of anthologies, journals and websites – along with a collection, You Have 24 Hours To Love Us (Comma Press).
I’ve published two novels –The Fat of Fed Beasts and Reconciliation (both from Salt). My third, The Faculty of Indifference, is coming out in July 2019. What I hope will one day be the fourth is currently undergoing re-write number 3 of nobody knows how many.
No daily routine – I work part-time for money and, on the days I’m not working, write as much as I can. Insofar as I have any method, it is to write fast and then spend far more time cutting lots of it out again. Nothing beats the feeling that you can lose an entire paragraph/sub-plot/character.
SPECIFICALLY, TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR LONGLISTED STORY – THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT, THE WRITING OF IT...
‘Confidence Interval’ was initially prompted by conversations at work about a real project to use predictive analytics and AI to help identify children at risk of abuse, along with reading Nate Silver’s book about prediction, The Signal and the Noise. But it is a story, not a policy paper, so these abstract ideas have to be refracted through a protagonist. And the story could only come alive when that protagonist became a real human being – Annie – with a life, a faith and a dead husband I had no idea she possessed when the story started.
Characters like Annie catch me unawares and, for me, are what makes writing possible and fun.
NAME THREE SHORT STORY WRITERS YOU ESPECIALLY ADMIRE – WHY?
Three? Oh, dear. Thirty might actually have been easier, but here goes…
George Saunders: because his early stories – CivilWarLand in Bad Decline and Pastoralia – made me see that stories could be funny, bitter, strange, wildly imaginative and emotionally true, all at the same time;
William Trevor: because rarely has so much been said so unobtrusively while barely saying anything at all; and
Nikolai Gogol: because it’s not all about concision. Sometimes it can be about wild invention, broad comedy, rich detail and heart-rending compassion for the over-looked. My collected edition calls them ‘tales’, and that’s right – they are a strange evolutionary detour between ancient folk tales and the modern stories of Chekhov.
GUY WARE is the author of more than thirty short stories, including the collection You Have 24 Hours to Love Us (Comma, 2012), and ‘the year of peace’, which won the 2018 London Short Story Award. He has also written three novels. The Fat of Fed Beasts (Salt, 2015) was selected as a ‘Paperback of the Year’ by Nick Lezard in the Guardian, and described as “Brilliant … the best debut novel I have read in years.” Reconciliation (Salt, 2017) was described by The Literary Review as “memorable and inventive” and by the Guardian as “exhilarating, and very funny”.
His third novel, The Faculty of Indifference, will be published in July 2019.
Guy lives and works in New Cross, South London.