How I Came To Write This Story...
Guns Of Brixton
Well, you know what they say: ‘When a one armed man chops down a tree in the forest, a butterfly claps’. No really. The thing is, everything is connected, it really is. And Kevin Bacon is only six friends away from you, even though he isn’t on Facebook.
Anyway, it was a while back. I’d been writing flash fiction for about a year and I had this vague notion of writing something with interconnecting stories. One city. One night. You know the score.
I really liked this idea and I thought – even though everyone told me it was dead hard to do – that I’d give it a go.
So I did. Three or four stories interlocking in London on New Year’s Day. In a 1000 word flash fiction story. Yes, I know.
A pretty daft idea but, you see, Eric Beetner had just launched a Flash Fiction Challenge- when was this? Two years ago? - and I really wanted to enter my story, which was called The Big Blow after the Manu DiBango song.
Of course it didn’t win but I let it marinate and, from time to time, I added bits to it and took bits out until, after about a year, I had the scenario of two interconnecting stories. Simpler. But longer.
For some reason I’d set part of the story in Brixton which, of course, meant I was pretty much obliged to call the story Guns Of Brixton, after the classic song by The Clash. Mark Timlin’s novel Guns Of Brixton then came out via MaxCrime and I considered changing the title but in the end I didn’t.
I was pretty pleased with the yarn, too. It was, at the time, the longest story that I’d written and it felt fairly grown up. Well, for me. And so I sent it to CrimeFactory because, well, who doesn’t want to have a story in CrimeFactory? And they said yes, too, and scheduled it for issue five. And I was chuffed.
Cut to few months later, before CrimeFactory Five (http://www.crimefactoryzine.com/php_uploads/Crime%20Factory%20Issue%205.pdf )had even seen the light of day. I was working in summer school in England and sharing a computer without a load of other people. I had a short time to check my emails and saw that I’d received an email from the legendary Maxim Jakubowski ( coincidently the publisher of MaxCrime, you see how things interconnect, eh? Told you!)
He asked me if I’d like to submit a story for the next edition of The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime, which he was editing. I was chuffed again, wasn’t I?
So, I sent him a few stories but didn’t think I’d be accepted. This was, after all, a book that featured work from the top bananas of British crime writing. Colin Dexter was in the 2010 edition! However, only a few hours later, he emailed me back to say he’d take Guns Of Brixton. Yes, I know. This chuffed goes up to eleven.
And The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime 8 will be out soon. And I’m in there with Ian Rankin, Allan Guthrie, Sheila Quigley, Nick Quantrill, Nigel Bird and all sorts of classy types. And my names on the back cover and I get mentioned in the introduction. No, really.
And guess what? I’ve let Guns Of Brixton marinate some more, too, and it has since developed into a 24,00 word novella. And I’ve even got plans for a follow up!
Well, you know what they say: ‘From little acorns a tree grows in Brooklyn.’ Or Brixton. Yes, I know.
Bio: Spinetingler Award nominee Paul D. Brazill was born in Hartlepool, England - yes, the place where they hung the monkey. He is currently on the lam in Bydgoszcz, Poland. He started writing short stories at the end of 2008. Since then, his stuff has appeared in loads of classy print and electronic magazines and anthologies, such as A Twist Of Noir, Beat To A Pulp, Crime Factory, Dark Valentine, Needle, Powder Burn Flash, Thrillers, Killers n Chillers, and Radgepacket Volumes Four and Five. He writes an irregular column for Pulp Metal Magazine and his blog, You Would Say That, Wouldn't You? is here: http://pdbrazill.blogspot.com/