Here’s my workspace. And yes, there are two – two – bottles of wine you can see there. Can I just say, in the spirit of honesty, that, (a) there are another two, no, three bottles just out of shot, and (b) they are left-overs from Christmas. I don’t drink them, not whilst I’m working, and anyway, it was Dry January, so that’s why they were there, still … I just wanted to get that out of the way before saying anything else.
Right, where do I work? Well, I’m lucky, I have a flat attached to my house and it’s all MINE, for working in. I did let it out a couple of times, (which is where the desk came from after a tenant ran off without paying, but left the desk, so not a complete loss.) The chair, you’ll notice, only has one arm rest. Yes. That’s because it’s a chair my son wheeled back home after finding it near the local dump. Apart from the lack of arm rest, it’s very comfy, and that’s important, a comfy chair. Whoever threw it out, tough luck, it’s mine now. The Buddha, I talk to, and read to in the absence of workmates, and since I am a pyromaniac, there are always candles. You’ll also note the folders full of notes which I write whenever an idea strikes, and the edge of an Edward Hopper picture because I like to work from images, (and inside the folders, between you and me, are scraps of material with different smells on them. I know … so weird, isn’t it?) Look closer and you’ll see, between my laptop and my coffee cup, a harmonica. Yep. Well, I have to have a break, and just take a look at the state of the garden. I mean, I’d rather play mournful tunes on a mouth organ than look out at that.
That’s it. And the good news is it’s February now, and I’ve almost finished editing this next novel, and there are four, maybe five bottles of wine waiting to be sampled.
‘The Black Country is a macabre triumph, whether you read it as a horror fable about love or a meditation on the controlling character of the artist. Either way, this ambitious and memorable first novel loiters like a rotting fish left behind the fridge. I mean this in a good way. The Black Country really is something else.’ —James Kidd, The Independent on Sunday