Jack Binding is a British author from London, but lives in Sydney. He writes dark fiction that combines horror with black humour. He regularly releases short stories on Amazon, which have received high critical praise. He is inspired by writers such as Stephen King, Clive Barker, JG Ballard and Martin Amis. His first full-length novel is due to be released in 2017.
Jack Binding’s anthology of short stories Pills was read and reviewed by the CTM Bookish News & Reviews column this month, you can read the review of Pills here.
CTM: Hi Jack, welcome to CTM and thanks for joining us. Tell us a bit about yourself?
You’re welcome. Lovely to be here, albeit metaphorically rather than geographically. Well, I write fiction of the dark variety. Often there are horror or humour elements to my work, but there’s always a black streak running through it. I’m currently living in Sydney, although I spent most of my life in the UK.
CTM: What was your inspiration for Pills?
I lived in London for around fifteen years, and the experiences I had there (both good and bad) provided the main inspiration for Pills. London has an edge to it. I feel as though any moment it could erupt into chaos. And I suppose it did back in the 2011 riots. I was living in Dalston at the time, and I remember the hordes of people making their way up Kingsland Road. I watched from the window of my apartment. I was clutching a bottle of vodka and a baseball bat. Thankfully I didn’t have to use the baseball bat. The vodka, however, was gone by midnight.
CTM: How did you start writing?
I started in my early twenties writing a blog. It was more for therapy, really. Stream of consciousness stuff. That’s when I realised I could turn a phrase. Most of my writing has an informal style, as if I’m whispering in the reader’s ear, which I think is a hangover from the blogging days.
CTM: What was your hardest part of the book to write?
A story called Sleeping Pills. It was quite personal, quite painful, and very, very depressing. It’s probably the bleakest tale in the collection, which is saying something! Also, if you want to be really freaked out by it, read it with the mindset that all there is nothing supernatural about the hallucinations, but rather they are driven from the narrator’s crumbling mind.
CTM: Wow!! Yes, I’ve read it, and loved it. Now you put it like that and I think about it I am a bit freaked.
CTM: Do you think there is a difference between novel writing and short story writing?
There’s more scope for character development in novel writing. However, unless it’s essential to the plot, I tend to edit it out anyway, so both, for me, tend to be pretty lean pieces of work.
CTM: Who is your favourite character in Pills?
It used to be an old woman called Mags, but today it’s probably Jeanette from Dog In A Suitcase. She has a fondness for dismemberment.
CTM: Hmm, Jeanette is a bit of a character alright!
CTM: What are your writing habits in general?
I’m scatty. I write notes in posts-its. I send myself emails throughout the day. I wake up early and write in the morning. I will often stop what I’m doing, and write when I’m incensed about something. I would love to be regimented, but my life is too hectic to plan at the moment, so I just have to snatch pieces of writing time when I can.
CTM: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Well, I consider myself an aspiring writer, so perhaps I’m not the best person to be dishing out advice. But maybe it’s just don’t dull the edges for public consumption. Don’t edit out the swear words or the sex or the death because you’re embarrassed. Keep it raw and real.
CTM: We like that advice! Makes great reading.
CTM: Are any of the characters in Pills based on real people…. Be honest?
Of course they are! Almost all of them. I actually had a bad experience with an editor whilst working on Dog In A Suitcase, so I renamed the dog after him. The dog does not make it to the end of the story.
CTM: Note to self, don’t get on Jack’s bad side.
CTM: What will you publish next, a novel or anthology?
Novel next. Split POV. Very dark, although no supernatural elements – just good old fashioned human villains.
CTM: Be sure to let Kim know, she’d love to do a read and review.
CTM: Any advice on self-publishing?
Until you reach critical mass, keep everything rolling. Keep Twitter, Facebook, Blogging etc. If you take your foot off the gas, people stop paying attention.
And that’s a wrap, thanks for joining us at CTM Jack. Best of luck with the novel. CTM Bookish News & Reviews strongly recommends Pills as a must read book. It is for a mature audience and not for the faint hearted.