Wordy Wednesday with Alasdair Stuart

Good afternoon readers! Are you bored of the EU Referendum talk? of course you are - why not settle back with a cup of your favourite beverage and get to know my author of the week, Alasadair Stuart.

Tell us about yourself Alasdair, and tell us about your books, what genre do you write?

I grew up on the Isle of Man which is a little scrap of land halfway between England and Ireland. Culturally that meant I was sort of half and half. It also gave me a rich sense of knowing how to make my own fun. My friends were all the same but where one made a mountain board and another experimented, briefly, with homemade napalm.

He’s fine by the way
I watched out the video store and was at the cinema every week.
I dove into stories and realized I wanted to write them as well as read them. So, I went to University, discovered that landmasses wider than 30 miles are a thing and started writing.
It took a long time, and still is, but it’s worked out pretty well. I work regularly as an RPG designer and wrote two of the Doctor Who incarnation sourcebooks, which was really good fun. I also write lots of pop culture journalism, most recently for Tor and Fox Spirit Books. I’m just starting to get back into fiction too.
My big job though is as the host of Pseudopod, a weekly horror fiction podcast I’ve hosted for nine years. I love that, and I love the company too, which also produces an SF show called Escape Pod, a fantasy show called Podcastle, a YA show called Cast of Wonders and a quarterly magazine called Mothership Zeta. I actually bought the company a couple of years ago too, so my fiancé and I have been getting it into shape. Its fun, and HARD and going pretty well.

Do you have another job or are you a full time author?
Right now I’m full time which is always nice when it happens and the projects line up like that. Shortly I’ll probably be looking for something part time to bring a little extra money in and that’s a system that works well for me. I’ve worked as an office cleaner, a receptionist, an office admin, a comic store manager and a few other things and all of them have been fun. But this is what I love.

When did you start writing?
When I was 10 I wrote a story about a large, friendly yellow dog. That was it, I was doomed.

I spent my teens teaching myself how to write fiction, and, slowly, realizing I needed to NOT WRITE IN BLOCK CAPITALS. Then I branched out into non fiction, and concentrated on that for a little while. Then RPG writing and podcasting came on stream and now, fiction’s coming back on as well. So for close to three decades I’ve been writing various things.

What 3 things are guaranteed to make you smile?
-Seeing my fiancé, Marguerite, at the end of the day. She’s the love of my life: )

The others vary day by day but right now the two that always work are:

-This remix of the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy theme and Journey of the Sorceror, the original music. I love this piece of music but this version is especially great.

-The line ‘Hey goons, thugs and bosses! Guess what? I BROUGHT COLOSSUS!’ in the Deadpool rap from the recent movie.

I grew up around a lot of comedy of a lot of different types and I find a lot of stuff very funny. It does change but those are the ones right now.

Do you have any pets?
No, although we are looking seriously at both a dog and a cat in the near future

Who is your favourite author? Do they influence your writing or are they a total break from the sort of thing you write?
Oh I have a bunch. Henry Rollins’ spoken word work was a huge influence on me. Also Warren Ellis, especially with Transmetropolitan and Matt Wallace with the Slingers and Sin Du Jour series.

Which book(s) are you reading at the moment?
A good spread actually:

-The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I’m a massive foodie and very enthusiastic amateur cook and Pollan’s take on food fascinates me. He wraps it up in history and economics and speaks with the clarity of an author who has clearly thought a huge amount about each word. His Netflix series, Cooked, is pretty much a must see.

-Donnybrook by Frank Bill. A collection of monstrously awful people come together at the Donnybrook, an annual and massively illegal bareknuckle fighting tournament to settle their differences. Southern gothic with a rich vein of western to it. Beautiful language, horrible characters, both compelling.

-Afterlife by Maxximillian Dafoe. Maxximillian does these wonderful, vined, complex stories about not-quite LA and not quite now that trip you up in the best way. Mollyville, her last novel, is haunting in the same way Wild Palms or Raymond Carver is. Afterlife, which I’m most of the way through, is no exception.

-The X-Files Season 10 Volume 3-I’m an avid comics reader (And former storeowner, occasional write and frequent journalist in the field) and I’m happily chewing my way through the comic version of season 10 right now. It’s much more in line with the original show than the relaunch season was and so far way more fun.

Where do you do most of your writing?
At home in my office for the most part. However, three times a week or so I try and get out of the house and write for a couple of hours in a local coffee shop. I live in Milton Keynes and there’s a brilliant coffee shop/juice bar on the station called Peel. That’s my usual spot. Although sometimes I’ll push through to the 24 hour Starbucks nearby when I need a fix or to remind myself what Californian coffee shops look like.

Tell us about the character that you've written that you like the most - no spoilers!
My first novel, which like most first novels is going to live in a trunk forever, featured a journalist who was gloriously peppery. It wasn’t that he was a bad guy or anything, he was just a devious little sod who didn’t let little things like technically breaking the law a bit get in the way of a story. I loved writing him and while the novel may never see the light of day he probably will again.

What is your favourite biscuit?
Hovis digestives. Delicious, great with cheese and apple and they were the first snack Marguerite and I ever shared. (I approve this choice)

Tea or Coffee?
Both! Occasionally at the same time! Coffee during the day, tea in the afternoon and evening. And water, so much water. Seriously, my fiancé is Californian and she firmly believes England as a country would become much nicer overnight if everyone actually hydrated.

And…the weather improved but hey…babysteps.

In the film of your life who would play you? (why)
Dara O’Brian or Henry Rollins. O’Brian because we share a similar hairline and avuncular widebeam Celtic enthusiasm. Rollins because he’s one of the reasons I made it out of my adolescence alive and I get my work ethic, love of doing things and eloquence from him.

If you could genetically cross an animal and a vegetable, what would you pick and why? I like the idea of a potato and a sloth...could you get a lazier creature? (my soul mate)
An avocado and a bear. So when the bear shed its winter coat, we’d have unlimited (but maybe slightly furry) avocado.

And now some extra goodies and links to Alasdair's various online personas and works!

Alasdair writes for Tor.com, MCM Buzz and Fox Spirit.


MCM Buzz

Fox Spirit

He has a book out through Fox Spirit collecting the early essays from Pseudopod

The Pseudopod Tapes

And he also writes tabletop RPG games, most recently for the Doctor Who game

6TH Doctor Sourcebook

10th Doctor Sourcebook

Alasdair's blog which is food, exercise and enthusiasm about pop culture is at alasdairstuart.com

And he tweets at @AlasdairStuart

As always, come chat on Twitter or Facebook - my Facebook page likes your likes :-)