{Interview} Award Winning Author Georgina Bruce Talks To Kendall Reviews.

Georgina Bruce is a writer and teacher. Her writing lives in various dark corners of the internet. Her short stories have been widely published in magazines and anthologies, and have been longlisted for the Bridport and Mslexia short story prizes. In 2017, her story “White Rabbit” won the British Fantasy Award for Short Fiction. Her debut collection, “This House of Wounds,” is out now.

This House Of Wounds

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Undertow Publications (4 Jun. 2019)

KR: Coffee?

KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?

I could. But I prefer to be mysterious and elusive. Like a bat. Or a middle-aged English teacher.

KR: What do you like to do when not writing?

I walk around Edinburgh a lot. It’s a fantastic city to walk in – everything from winding wynds and hidden stairs, to rivers and ancient woodland and even a mountain, all within the city limits. I also like to practice patience and forbearance by not killing cyclists.

KR: What is your favourite childhood book?

Fungus the Bogeyman, by Raymond Briggs. I was obsessed with that book.

KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?

I rarely listen to music when I write. Sometimes I’ll be okay with background chatter or white noise, but music distracts me. I end up writing to the rhythm of the music and while that can be fun, it’s usually not what I want to do. I do love music though. One of my favourite artists at the moment is Benjamin Clementine. His music moves me into other dimensions. He has a song called Cornerstone which broke a whole world open inside me when I first heard it. That maybe a bad example because it’s a really sad song, but generally I think the music that people are making now is so exciting and political and hopeful.

KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director? 

I absolutely love Tarkovsky (does he count? I think he does.) And David Lynch, of course. He’s quite an influence on my writing: one of my stories, ‘Her Bones the Trees’, is written for and about him. Jan Švankmajer is another important influence for me, too. There are some amazing people working in television now – I think Natasha Lyonne, who created ‘Russian Doll’ is some kind of genius. And everything in my heart is for Phoebe Waller-Bridge. ‘Killing Eve’ is transcendently brilliant.

KR: What are you reading now?

Re-reading ‘The Existential Detective’ by Alice Thompson and about to crack open Nathan Balingrud’s ‘Wounds’.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

KR: What was the last great book you read?

I’ve read several great books in the last few weeks alone, so it’s hard to pick just one! But the book that probably made the biggest impression on me in recent months is Sophie Mackintosh’s ‘The Water Cure’. It’s spectacularly good.

KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?

I like all of them! They all have their unique advantages and attractions.

KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?

So many I don’t even know where to start! I’m continually inspired by wonderful writers. Recently I’ve been getting inspiration from Kerry Hadley Pryce, Simon Ings, Aliya Whiteley, Meike Ziervogel, Julie Travis, Anna Stothardt, Kate Mascarenhas, Helen McClory, Padrika Tarrant, V.H. Leslie, James Knight, Sophie Essex, Priya Sharma, Cate Gardner… the list goes on!

KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?

I generally tend to start with an image or idea, or just a line I like the sound of, and then see where it goes. If I’m lucky, it will go somewhere really weird that I don’t understand, and then the plotting part will come as I unpick and unpuzzle. Some of my stories do take quite a bit of careful construction, like Kuebiko, which is a story about a game that is also a game about a story. I mean, that took a fair bit of figuring out! But I find that if the foundation is solid, then you can make some really interesting structures, and often they can hold a lot more story than you’d think. The best stories are bigger on the inside.

KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

It varies. A few years back I wrote a novel called The Geography of the Moon which involved extensive research into space dogs, space shuttle disasters, the Soviet space program, Soviet housing allocations, Samizdat, bone music, theosophy, sacred geometry, transhumanism and so on and on… this vast, vast, vast amount of research, of which probably about 5% actually ended up in the book. But sometimes I’ll write a story without researching anything much at all, other than the odd spelling. It just depends. I like hanging out in the library, but I learn the most by observing and listening to people. I pay attention.

KR: How would you describe your writing style?

Gothic fabulism? Domestic irrealism? Just plain weird? One of the above, maybe.

KR: Describe your usual writing day?

I work as a lecturer in FE so I don’t tend to get full writing days very often. I get up at 6.00 am and write, pretty much every day, unless I’m on a break. If I have to be at work, I might only get thirty minutes or an hour, but on days I don’t have to work or do life-stuff, I might stay writing for four or five hours or longer. I’ve been known to lose entire days writing. Those are the best days.

KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?

Little Heart. There is an entity I gave voice to with that story, and I like to think it was a good thing for me to do. I think something is healing in that story.

KR: Do you read your book reviews?

I think if your work is published by indie presses, as mine has been, then you kind of have to read and share reviews. It’s part of the deal. I write reviews for Black Static so I see it from the other side as well – reviewers have to be free to say what they honestly think, and authors really do just have to suck it up! No one wants to get a negative or critical review, of course, but you can learn from them sometimes, I think. Anyway, even good reviews can knock you off track. You have to cultivate a little distance, for the sake of your mental health.

KR: How do you think you’ve developed as an author?

Now that THOW is published, I feel a weight has been lifted. Although all I can see at the moment are glaring faults, I’m coming to terms with the fact that the book is out there, doing its thing, whatever that turns out to be. I’ve learned a lot from it. But it’s an ending, really, in lots of ways. There’s a sense of loss. But any loss opens up space for something else, and I’m excited about that. I think I’m ready now to tackle some of the work I’ve been putting off.

KR: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received regarding your writing?

Don’t give up.

KR: What scares you?

Balloons. And dentists. Dentists with balloons. Just keep them away from me.

KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?

This House of Wounds is my debut story collection, anthologising works from my career over the past ten years or so. Like most debut collections, there’s quite a range of stories and styles in there, but I think there’s a unifying weirdness and horror throughout. Everything from dolls to monstrous crow scribes to dogs to chewing gum that sends you into other dimensions – there’s a lot going on!

KR: What are you working on now?

A couple of things – a novel or novella that’s a sort of time-travelling detective story, a memoir, some short stories. I’m also hoping you’ll see my novella ‘honeybones’ out in print sometime soon – it’s the most horror-tastic thing I’ve written.

KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?

You can choose…

a) One fictional character from your writing.

I had to think really hard about this, but in the end I decided it would be the guest from my story Kuebiko, because she’s from another dimension and I reckon she’d be good craic.

b) One fictional character from any other book.

Fungus the Bogeyman, mainly because he’s so charming, but also because he’d keep the insect population down.

c) One real-life person that is not a family member or friend.

Shakespeare, for the bants. But he has to bring his own weed.

KR: Thank you very much Georgina.

Georgina Bruce

Georgina Bruce is a writer and teacher. Her writing lives in various dark corners of the internet. Her short stories have been widely published in magazines and anthologies, and have been longlisted for the Bridport and Mslexia short story prizes. In 2017, her story “White Rabbit” won the British Fantasy Award for Short Fiction. Her debut collection, “This House of Wounds,” is out now.

You can find out more about Georgina by visiting www.georginabruce.com

You can follow Georgina on Twitter @monster_soup

This House Of Wounds

The devastating debut short story collection from British Fantasy Award-winning author Georgina Bruce. Haunting and visceral tales for the lost and the lonely. An emotional and riveting debut.

Advance praise for Georgina Bruce’s ‘This House of Wounds.’

“An astonishing, totally absorbing debut collection. Edgy, disturbing and delicious in equal parts. Georgina Bruce plays with myth and horror beautifully.”
-Kerry Hadley-Pryce, Author of Gamble, and The Black Country

“The stories in This House of Wounds strike me as both an emotional and intellectual examination of pain, from how it spreads and is passed on to others to how it can easily turn us into different, crueller creatures. Each act formed in pain leads to another, then another, and this makes for twisted, beautiful reading. Georgina Bruce is a courageous and compelling writer.”
-Aliya Whiteley, Author of The Loosening Skin, and The Beauty  

You can buy This House Of Wounds from Amazon UK Amazon US

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.