Interview 2 with Danny Kemp
Glad to hear you are writing again. Can't wait to read it!
Your women are so real; I am most intrigued by your connections to your women characters. Could we start there?
1) How does your own romantic life influence the people you imagine in your books, especially the women?
1A) What a first question! I could be egotistical like Harry Paterson, my protagonist, and say that it comes from all the romantic entanglements of my own past, but then, if you do a follow-up interview, you would probably want to know all their names and phone numbers. I’m far too modest to reveal any of that, so, I’ll say it’s all down to an overworked imagination, Michael, and leave it there.
2) In your last novel, Danny, your main characters grew (arced) beautifully through the story. I sensed that they were different people, better people, because of their experiences. Could you elaborate on how you keep track of evolving personalities?
2A) I let them grow at their own pace. I love building the characters that are included in my work. It’s the best part. That, I think, is the beauty of a book over a film. When reading a book the reader uses his or her’s imagination, whereas in a film the characters are thrust at you with no chance of imagination playing a part! You have perceived my characters exactly as I hoped you, as a reader of it, would picture them. I try to let the characters slowly evolve as their participation grows,
I try to let the characters slowly evolve as their participation grows, showing each in a different light away from the safety of what they are accustomed to and how they cope with the changing circumstances. I imagine myself where I’ve put them, reacting in the way I think their personalities should take them. You say they grow into better people, and I take that as a huge compliment, but in my experience it’s not how one deals with the nice things in life that builds character, it’s how one deals with the adversities of which I throw as many as possible in their way.
3) Danny, as a writer the trickiest difficulty I encounter relates to point-of-view. What tricks do you use to keep the readers firmly seeing the world you build from one POV?
3A) I just speak as I imagine Harry would, Michael. Harry Paterson comes from a six hundred year lineage of extremely wealthy and influential English aristocrats, so, although he has a modern, open approach to life, tradition and old-fashion standards play a huge part in his disposition. He’s a rakish individual who, simply put, adores the company of women!
Everyone in The Desolate Garden, and its sequel Percy Crow, know of his background, acting accordingly. In the secret world, it which he has found a home, he’s seen as somewhat of an amateur fool, but he’s far from that, as is now becoming apparent. The dialogue is where I show the characteristics of all the protagonists. It’s important in highlighting prejudices and dislikes, as well as pride and failures.
4) Can you give us a sneak peek into the love lives of some of your characters? Who’s pestering who (m)?
4A) Harry has a new woman in his life who’s testing his bachelor convictions. She’s Portuguese, Jewish,15 years younger, beautiful, once divorced and from one of the wealthiest families in Europe. Her father has committed suicide in the sequel and she has flown home, leaving Harry back in Yorkshire.
When she returns Harry will be fighting with himself trying to decide whether it’s true love he feels or it's devotion to the continuance of the Paterson lineage that’s clouding his vision. He has plenty on his mind, including Katherine and Paulo from The Desolate Garden along with all at Eton Square, London.
5) In The Desolate Garden, you brought people of many social classes to life flawlessly. Could you tell us something from your past that helped you develop that skill?
5A) Another great compliment for which I’m extremely grateful, Michael. I’m not sure how I did that other than allow them to come alive. I have been a police officer, a tenant of three public houses and a London taxi driver. In all those roles, I’ve come across people from a myriad of backgrounds and upbringings. I’m like a sheet of blotting paper in absorbing mannerisms. Put that with my imagination and hopefully you come up with a great story.
6) Do you have a title for the new book yet? How far along are you?
6A) Percy Crow is the title and I’m about two-thirds through. Paulo, the illegitimate son of Harry’s great grand-father Maudlin, has laid a convoluted trail of secrecy that’s yet to be revealed! The beginning of the story goes as far back as 1902, the date of Percy’s birth, but it doesn’t end on his death in 1983. It’s told in 2012 when Katherine, who’s in American custody, tells her handlers a name that her father mentioned before his disappearance. That name was Percy Crow!
7) S. King writes in his book, On Writing that he hates planning. He says if he knows where he’s going, his readers will be bored. Instead of planning he puts his characters in a jam and then lets the story get them out of it. Care to comment?
7A) Along with The Desolate Garden I have written four short stories, in none of those five did I have an ending when I started the stories. I would just let the story develop and see where it led, so, in that respect I totally agree with Mr. S. King. However, in Percy Crow I have an ending in mind. I don’t think I could have begun this one without a plan, simply because I’m using some of the characters and events previously mentioned in the first book. The ending came to me within a month of the first words being filed away. At the moment, that’s where I’m aiming as it will leave an opening for a third Harry Paterson novel.
8) I can’t resist the 30 million dollar question. How does a writer go about getting a proposal for 30 million dollars in film right’s possibilities? Care to elaborate?
8A) A huge slice of luck, Michael!
Thanks for your time and the chance to connect with you once again.