Monday, 23 July 2012

Interview with Author Stu Ayris

I'm honoured to be able to bring you a very special guest on the blog today. Stu Ayris is the author of literary novels that make you look at the world in a completely different light. They include A Cleansing of SoulsTollesbury Time Forever, and the recently released The Bird That Nobody Sees. He's also a pal of mine and the second ever follower of my blog, which I haven't forgotten. But that's enough from me, let's hear from the man himself...


Hi, Stu. First, can you tell us a bit about who you are and your background?

Okey dokey. I was born in August 1969 and have a twin brother as well as a younger sister. I grew up in Romford, Essex, did pretty poorly at school and worked in a succession of low paid jobs (road sweeper, gardener, ceiling fitter, record shop assistant) as well as enduring a two year period of unemployment in my early twenties. I eventually got married, qualified as a psychiatric nurse (1997), had three wonderful children, got divorced, got married again (to somebody else) and find myself now living in a wonderfully bizarre village called Tollesbury on the North Essex Coastline.

You've certainly got plenty of life experience to draw on!

When did you first realise you wanted to write and can you tell us about how you got started?

English was about the only lesson that appealed to me at school so I guess I developed an affection for writing way back when I was in my early teens. Around the same time, I discovered Bob Dylan, John Steinbeck and Jack Kerouac and realised that reading, listening to great music and writing were about the only things that would help me understand this strange life!

I think they are the biggest things that keep me sane too! I like how you are inspired by music just as much as by books.

What are your biggest inspirations when it comes to writing?

Everything that happens around me. How can you not be inspired by that? I guess living in my own little world for so many years has enabled the wonder I feel for the world outside to endure. It really is very beautiful.

Inspiration is everywhere if you keep your eyes open.

Tell us a bit about your new novel, The Bird That Nobody Sees.

Glad to! It’s written in the third person and has taken me the best part of a year to complete. The central theme concerns the choices we have when we are faced with a situation that is not of our making – it could be our height (the main character reaches dwarf classification by half an inch…), the loss of a wife, the loss of a parent, our childhood – all those things that can influence the way we react to circumstances. It is about the value of friendship, a belief in unconditional positive regard and an acceptance that, although life is hard, we can help each other to get through it. Four of the main characters are based on my best friends and several of the scenes in the novel are based on real events. I guess it is my way of thanking my mates. It’s also, I hope, both enlightening and very funny - just as my mates are!

Sounds excellent. I can't wait to read it!

I'm intrigued by the title. How did that come about?

The title came about when I was reading about the albatross – it is the most amazing bird that does the most amazing things yet how many of us have ever seen it? I then started to think about the feelings, the sensations people have the moment before they experience a vision or a satori. I got to thinking that the two could be linked in terms of their wonder and magnificence. I guess you’ll have to read the novel to really get it but, I must say, I wasn’t really sure myself until I had almost finished writing it. It was almost as if the bird, the vision, crept up on me also. Just as it should!

Sounds like some deep thinking behind the book, very intriguing.

When did you start blogging and what prompted you to do so? What’s the best thing about it for you?

I started my blog last November as a way of documenting my attempts to get Tollesbury Time Forever published. I suppose it was a means of both helping others and getting out my frustrations! Over time I began to review other books and discuss writing in general. The best thing about it? Meeting wonderful people like yourself and feeling a little more connected to the real world – which is always good, but in moderation!

Haha! I totally agree.

What would be your advice to people who are just starting to write or thinking about it?

Absolutely enjoy it! Don’t do it for money! Do it to change people’s lives and have fun along the way. The main thing is that it shouldn’t hurt!

Very sound advice... anyone who goes into this for money is completely barking up the wrong tree!

And just for fun, can you describe yourself as if describing an MC from one of your novels?

Ah he walks into The King’s head in a shambling fashion more befitting a man in manacles than a man in cowboy boots. Neither storm nor rain has he been battered with, yet for all the world you’d think he had been subjected to both during the short walk from his house to the pub. He’s forgotten how to shave and he’ll only look you in the eye if he thinks he’s done you wrong. Yet he’s got a book with him and the chances are he’ll spend the rest of his life sitting at the bar – reading to begin with, then just seeing shapes and patterns and forgetting even where he is. He’ll do it again tomorrow, no doubt. For tomorrow is always a good day. And he'll always say 'good morning' to you whether he knows you or not - because that's how you change the world.

I'd like to meet that man... thanks for being here today, Stu!

If you want to find out more about Stu you can do so over at his blog, Tollesbury Time Forever. I wish him all the best on his continuing journey of publication and discovery!

43 comments:

Kyra Lennon said...

Fantastic interview, with some really interesting answers. I love the way the title of the book came together!

Elise Fallson said...

I agree with Kyra, love the title and thought the interview was great! The book sounds really intriguing too. Nice to meet you Stu. (:

Kelley Lynn said...

Great interview!

Angela Brown said...

Wonderful interview Stu and Nick. Thanks so much for sharing. The book sounds very interesting and I must say you are right about getting into writing. Doing so for the money can turn out to be soooo very disappointing. Glad I got that delusion of grandeur out of the way years ago lol!!!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hey Stu! Interesting way to come up with a book title, but it really fits. Good interview, guys!

Suze said...

'Four of the main characters are based on my best friends and several of the scenes in the novel are based on real events. I guess it is my way of thanking my mates. It’s also, I hope, both enlightening and very funny - just as my mates are!'

A lovely tribute.

Julie Dao said...

Wonderful interview! I love the reasoning and thinking behind the book, inspired by the albatross!

Stu Ayris said...

Thank you so much Nick and all you lovely people! Just so happy to come home from work and see the interview and the words from Nick and the wonderful comments. You know what? Life just excites me in every possible way - fortunately these days I drink just enough, laugh more than enough and gamble hardly ever (although the latter is subject to change...)

Any questions and I'd be overjoyed to answer them.

Keep on keeping on, good people!

Stu

Leigh Covington said...

Great interview and words of advice!

Stu Ayris said...

Cheers Leigh!

L.G.Smith said...

Nice back and forth there. Love that you find inspiration in what's going on around you. Good writers are good observers first. :)

Stu Ayris said...

Thank you LG. I guess it's a case of never been bored or tired with what's around you. And living in Tollesbury you are presented with either eccentricity, beauty or wonder whenever you set foot outside your mind!

kmckendry said...

Great interview. I love the title.

joss said...

great interview really interested to read the book now, hmmm wonder if hubby will notice if I get just one more book lol. It's always just one more lol

Stu Ayris said...

Cheers Joss! I am sure he'll love you even more for displaying the compassion that is necessary to make a poor drunken fool smile!

Medeia Sharif said...

Thanks for introducing me to Stu. I enjoy literary novels. I bookmarked some of his book pages.

Lisa Regan said...

Great interview! So true about the albatross. Makes you think . . .

Stu Ayris said...

Thank you Medeia and Lisa! There are certainly some wonderful discoveries still to be made in this baffling world!

Nick Wilford said...

Thanks for stopping by and saying hello to Stu, everyone! :D

Emily R. King said...

I agree with Stu that life is inspiring. :)
Nice meeting you, Stu! Thanks for the intro, Nick!

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Stu & Nick,

It's intriguing to think about how people handle things that affect them that they didn't have a hand in. The way Stu describes himself is cool. Tells me he's an easygoing guy.

Stu Ayris said...

Cheers Emily and JL! Now I've never been referred to as cool! Disorganised, eccentric, on a different planet and kind - but never cool!!

David P. King said...

Awesome interview, Nick! :)

Stu Ayris said...

Cheers David! Nick makes it all very easy!!!

Denise Covey said...

Great interview. I'm a great believer in life experience and writing. D.

E.J. Wesley said...

Sounds like a phenomenal read, Stu! And I can really appreciate your approach to writing, especially absorbing inspiration from the people in your life.

Appreciate Nick sharing you with us. :)

Stu Ayris said...

Cheers Denise and EJ! It's the best I can do and that's good enough for me! ; )

Morgan said...

Stu seems fascinating... the kind of guy you'd love to just sit and chat with for a couple of hours...

Great interview. Thanks for this, Nick. Stu's work sounds fantastic. :D

Stu Ayris said...

Thank you Morgan - very kind of you! If any of you are ever near Tollesbury, pop in and I'll buy you a pint in The King's Head and we can chat for as long as you like!

tfwalsh said...

Great interview... I really enjoyed your description of yourself as if it were an MC... what a great way to see someone...

Stu Ayris said...

Thank you!

Just seen this review of the book - http://indie-bookworm.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/review-bird-that-nobody-sees-stuart.html?spref=bl

so need to have GREAT BIG SMILE added to that description!!

Nicole said...

Thanks for the interview, guys!

Stu Ayris said...

Our pleasure! (speaking for Nick there but I'm sure he'd agree!)

The Golden Eagle said...

Great interview!

I really like that writing advice. And interesting description of yourself--that's an unusual perspective. :)

Stu Ayris said...

Thank you Golden Eagle! It's the only description I have!

Gina Gao said...

This is a really great interview. I really like the writing advice.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Shell Flower said...

This is an awesome interview, Nick. Great back and forth between you guys.

Stu, your path to becoming a writer is really great. I love how you were inspired by Kerouac, Steinbeck, and music. I think I fell in love with Kerouac when I was about 17 and have had a crush on him ever since. His writing is beyond emptyspace blue :)

I also enjoyed your "character" description. You sound like quite a character.

Where are your novels available?

Stu Ayris said...

Hi Shell! Thank you so much for your kind words. Yep - Jack is absolutely beyond compare (emptyspace blue - beautiful!!!)

Tollesbury Time Forever (FRUGALITY:1) and The Bird That Nobody Sees (FRUGALITY:2) are both available to download as ebooks on Amazon. I am hoping to have TTF out as a paperback withing the next couple of weeks too!

Cheers!

Michael Pierce said...

Great interview. The Bird that Nobody Sees sounds like an interesting book.

Stu Ayris said...

Thank you Michael! I like to think it is! A few reviews have come in already and they are all favourable which is really handy!

nutschell said...

great interview. Love how he came up with the title:)
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Shannon Lawrence said...

Great interview on both sides of it! Love the description at the end. Very interesting.

Stu Ayris said...

Cheers Nutschell and Shannon! Very kind!