Gavin E Parker – Exclusive Interview

Interview Still

Who would ever want to interview an unknown author?  Nobody!  With that in mind I thought I’d interview myself, so a couple of weeks back a wrote a script and set about shooting it.  Unfortunately, my delivery was very stilted and the sound was terrible, so (with the exception of the screengrab above) the video will never see the light of day.

I cut a few corners too (that’s how the sound ended up so bad), and the end result didn’t have the same feel as what I’d written.  I thought, ‘Ho-hum,’ and moved on.

Then it occurred to me the other day that the script does capture exactly what I wanted to say, so to that end I’m sharing it with you here:

Titles

Shots of Westgate

Gavin E Parker (hereafter ‘INTERVIEWER’) walking down the prom wearing a suit and glasses.

INTERVIEWER stops and speaks to camera.

INTERVIEWER:
I’ve come to the small seaside town of Westgate-on-Sea on the north Kent coast in southern England to talk to Gavin E Parker, author of the Ephialtes Trilogy and Ephialtes Shorts series.

CUT TO:

A LIVING ROOM DAY – INTERVIEWER IS SEATED ON THE RIGHT OF A LONG SOFA WITH GAVIN E PARKER (HEREAFTER ‘GAVIN E PARKER’) SAT ON THE LEFT SIDE.

INTERVIEWER:
Gavin E Parker, first of all I have to ask you, why Mars?

GAVIN E PARKER:
If I could just stop you for a moment, the first thing I want to talk about is my new book, The Ephialtes Shorts Collection, (HOLDS UP A COPY FOR THE CAMERA. INSERT: CLOSE UP OF BOOK). The Ephialtes Shorts Collection is out in eBook and paperback formats on 16 May this year, and it’s available for pre-order now.

INTERVIEWER:
And what’s it all about?

GAVIN E PARKER:
It’s a collection of five shorter pieces I wrote – in fact, they’re rather long but calling them ‘mediums’ would have just been confusing – that take place in the Ephialtes universe. They kind of bounce off or expand on characters or scenes from books one and two of the trilogy. For example, there’s a character who’s in book two, and who I think will become a major character in book three, and her short is almost like an origin story. There’s an incident from the first book where it’s mentioned that two people have been injured, and that’s as much as we ever hear about it in that book. In the short – it’s the longest of the shorts, a novella, really, and is available as a separate paperback (HOLDS UP A COPY FOR THE CAMERA. INSERT: CLOSE UP OF BOOK) – we get to see that incident from one of those people’s point of view, what it looked like for someone on the edge of the main drama, what impact it had on her life, how it affected her future and all of those sorts of things.

INTERVIEWER:
So these stories are not really tied into the main narrative of the novels?

GAVIN E PARKER:
Well, yes and no. These stories aren’t essential to the overall story, but they fill in detail and colour that, while not strictly necessary, deepens the experience of the novels if that’s something you’re into. You can think about it like this. If you read a book about D-Day, it might cover the overarching planning, execution and major incidents and give you a good understanding of the general thrust of what happened, and it might shine some light on some of the major players – Eisenhower, Montgomery, Rommel and so on. If you then read the autobiography of some infantryman who landed on the beaches, you’re seeing the same thing but from an entirely different, and more human, perspective. ‘Sustained heavy losses’ in a history book is a very different thing to a personal account of someone seeing their comrades die in front of them. So that’s what the shorts are – a light shone into a few dark corners of the story, adding a bit of depth and perspective, opening up the world in what I hope are interesting and entertaining ways.

INTERVIEWER:
Tell me about the main trilogy.

GAVIN E PARKER:
Okay, The Ephialtes Trilogy is set in the twenty-third century. There’s a small colony-city on Mars – about a hundred thousand people – and they supply an essential fuel to the mother country on Earth, The United States and Nations. When the Martians decide they want to secede from the union –

INTEVIEWER:
It all kicks off . . .

GAVIN E PARKER
. . . it all kicks off indeed. The USAN have this big spaceship, the Ephialtes of the title, orbiting the Earth, and they find a way they can refit it and send it to Mars, and from there it escalates and escalates on each side, and that’s essentially the story.

INTERVIEWER:
You’re not giving too much away?

GAVIN E PARKER:
Well, it’s quite an involved plot, quite complex, but that’s the general thrust of it. There’s a lot of politicking and skulduggery, and over the course of the entire trilogy quite a few left turns. It starts out as one thing, but becomes something quite different.

INTERVIEWER:
Have you finished writing the whole trilogy?

GAVIN E PARKER:
I’ve written the first two books. The first one, Ephialtes, came out about eighteen months ago. It’s available in eBook and paperback – the eBook version is permanently free on Amazon, B&N, iBook and everywhere like that. The second book is with the beta readers at the moment, so it’s finished, to a degree, but may require some final fixes and polishing. It’s due out in October.

INTERVIEWER:
And what about the last book?

GAVIN E PARKER:
I’ll be starting on the first draft soon. I have lots of notes and I know the broad outline of the story, so I’ll be getting into that in the next few months. I’m working on the finer points of the story at the moment, and I’m really excited about it. I mentioned left turns earlier, and the third book is the biggest left turn of all. It’s probably not what readers might be expecting at the moment, but at the end of book two there are some maybe not too subtle hints at where we’re going. I can’t wait to hit the readers with it.

INTERVIEWER:
Book Three is very different, then?

GAVIN E PARKER:
Well, I never wanted to write one story in three episodes. It was always important to me that it was going to be a trilogy of three independent books that fit together but weren’t just one long saga. I think you could read book two without having read book one, for example, and the first and second books don’t suddenly end mid-story, twisting your arm to buy the next one. They have proper, satisfying endings, as all books should. Of course, I hope readers will want to read everything – all three novels and all of the shorts – but each part, including the shorts – can stand on its own.

INTERVIEWER:
How did you come to write this (SEARCHES) epic saga?

GAVIN E PARKER:
Well, I was intrigued by the possibilities opened up by self-publishing, and I kept getting emails from Amazon about it. They’d say ‘this window cleaner from Birmingham has sold 80,000 copies of his book,’ and I’d take a look at the book and it would be terrible. So I thought, ‘Well, I could write a terrible book,’ and I thought I’d have a go.

INTERVIEWER:
At writing a terrible book?

GAVIN E PARKER:
No, I thought I’d give it my best shot, which I have. I guess it’s up to everyone else to decide if the books are terrible or not. The other thing that really inspired me was an interview I read with Hanif Kureishi. He was teaching creative writing at some prestigious university, and he got into a bit of trouble for saying you can’t really teach creative writing. The other thing he said that really struck me was that his creative writing students obsessed over their use of language, but that is way down the list of things that readers care about. He said that readers really only care about one thing – story. If you can spin a yarn, that’s what people are interested in. And that’s how I’ve approached this whole thing: story is king. Each thing I’ve written I’ve worked on the story above all else. I had the whole story of Ephialtes mapped out before I even began thinking about characters, and in terms of language and style, that is all subservient to the story, too. I can’t bear that whizz-bang-look-at-me-I’m-writing style of writing, so all I’ve ever done is try to tell the story as clearly as I can, with minimal fuss.

INTERVIEWER:
Okay. So the second book of the Ephialtes Trilogy is out in October, and The Ephialtes Shorts Collection is out next month?

GAVIN E PARKER:
Yes, The Ephialtes Shorts Collection is out on 16 May, and it’s available for pre-order now. It includes the previously unreleased Ephialtes Short V: Why Am I So Clever, and the paperback version includes additional exclusive bonus material.

INTERVIEWER:
Gavin E Parker, thank you very much.

GAVIN E PARKER:
Thank you. I like the suit.

INTERVIEWER:
Thanks. I’m going for a job interview later.

GAVIN E PARKER:
(LOOKS ASKANCE)

INTERVIEWER:
Not really.

END TITLES

That was the script for my terrible interview video.  If anyone would actually like to interview me please let me know.

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