Happy hump day lovelies! Today, the next lovely author I’m talking to on Meet the Author is Owen W Knight. We’re chatting about why travelling backwards could be dangerous, who has influenced his work, his favourite film, the best thing his ever done, his most recent book, Another Life, and more…..
Speculative fiction, contemporary fiction
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I grew up in Southend-on-Sea at a time when children spent their days outdoors, creating imaginary worlds that formed the basis of their adventures and social interaction. I have used this experience to create stories based on documented myths, with elements of dystopia, mystery and science fiction, highlighting the use and abuse of power and the conflicts associated with maintaining ethical values.
How many books have you written and published?
Four published. Another Life and a YA series, The Invisible College Trilogy (They Do Things Differently Here, Dust And Shadows, A Perilous Journey). The rights to the trilogy have now reverted to me. I intend to rewrite the first two volumes before republishing.
I have recently completed The Visitors, a sequel to The Invisible College, set fourteen years on from the original.
How long does it take you to write a book?
A year. I write slowly and base my speculative fiction on fact, so I need to do lots of research. The thought process of linking original ideas together demands extensive research (and inspiration).
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
Another Life. I am particularly pleased with the structure, which interweaves events in the life of the main protagonist with the history of the Green Man. For two-thirds of the book, the history of their emotions mirror each other.
I have been inspired by the great film director, David Lynch. His ability to evoke a sense of menace and a fear that things are not as they seem. He does this using everyday dialogue and with restraint and economy that leaves much to the reader’s imagination. An example to all writers.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
For many years, I was a director of a specialist software company and a business and IT consultant. This provided me with the skills of selling ideas, envisaging change, producing scenarios of different outcomes and developing pragmatic solutions. All useful qualities to apply to creative fiction.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go and why? (Backwards or forwards!)
Travelling backwards in time would risk living in a time when healthcare and life expectancy was lower. Who knows what horrors would be exposed travelling to the future, with the threats of climate change and new pandemics.
Perhaps better to travel to an alternative, enclosed world, such as Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast.
Other than writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
Travel to countries and regions with very different cultures, such as Bali, Vanuatu and Timor Leste. I love meeting people from different backgrounds.
This is a good fit with my photography; I enjoy photographing people and places remote from the UK.
Name one book you think everyone should read and tell us why?
Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier. The ultimate exploration of the twilight world between reality and fantasy. A quest to rediscover a mysterious woman in the hidden world of ‘the lost domain’. A book that brings joy, sadness, a sense of yearning and the dream of an ideal life.
What’s your favourite film of all time and why?
It’s A Wonderful Life, which was in part the inspiration for Another Life. Although flawed and dated in some of its attitudes, the idea that, without knowing, we sometimes bring good into the lives of others is inspiring.
What is the best thing you’ve done in your life so far?
To have had children who have succeeded on their own terms. Oh, and having my first album released this year, after the demo disc was rediscovered fifty years after it was made.
What is your favourite genre to read and why?
Speculative fiction in all of its forms. I enjoy writing that hints at the weird and wonderful, creating the suggestion of an alternative world while being grounded in fact. This allows the reader to exercise their imagination and add to the writer’s vision.
Which modern fiction writers do you admire, who have influenced your work?
Andrew Michael Hurley (in particular, Starve Acre), J G Ballard, Alasdair Gray, Nick Harkaway, David Mitchell, Nicola Barker, Scarlett Thomas and Sarah Perry. More recently, the short stories of Kirsty Logan are haunting and menacing.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
My most recent book is Another Life, described as ‘It’s A Wonderful Life for the 21st Century.
Set in a secretive, hidden corner of Middle England, the novel combines folklore, legends and ancient beliefs with the contemporary issue of what it means to be human in an increasingly technological world.
Thirty years ago, Oliver Merryweather is intrigued by a woman who waves to him from the window of a house in a village he discovers by accident.
In the present day, Oliver believes his life to be a series of failures and regrets. When the same woman appears to him in a dream, Oliver embarks on an obsessive quest to find her. With the village inexplicably absent from all maps, all he has to go on is the unusual mark on her wrist.
Journeying back into his past, Oliver finds himself inextricably drawn into a decades-old mystery involving missing children, pagan beliefs and the Green Man of folklore, while coming face to face with the disappointments and tragedies of his own life. As the story draws towards its unexpected and uplifting conclusion, the line between reality, dreams and memory begins to blur, and Oliver gains an insight into the true purpose of his existence.
Another Life is available from all good independent and High Street booksellers and online retailers.
thanks so much to owen for chatting with us.
Make sure you get in touch if you have an comments or questions.
Have a wonderful day and make sure you come back tomorrow!