During my Masters, I met lots of great writers. One of those people was Callum Gibson. Here’s Callum to chat about his highs ‘n’ lows of 2013.
2013 has been a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?
2013’s been a funny year for me, writing-wise as my projects have flitted around all over the place. First off I published a psych-horror novel – ‘House!’ with Good Guy Publishing. It was a book that had been giving me a little trouble, and took so much longer to finish than I first thought it would, and getting it done and out there was a pretty big deal for me.
Second up, after the grueling task that writing ‘House!’ had become (don’t worry, I’m assured that reading it is a lot less miserably ponderous) I took a change of pace and wrote a novel called ‘The Rubber Spider’. It’s a kids book – first love, best holiday, witnessing the breakdown of an adult relationship, nightmares, yaddah yaddah – and it’s also the first time that I’ve ever written about my Grandma and Granddad. I’m not normally one to rap about my own scribblings, but I think it’s kind of wonderful in its own little way. It needs a polish, but that’s what 2014’s for.
And third up I rewrote the novel that got me through my MA in Creative Writing, ‘Knowin’ Jack’. When I first wrote it a couple of years ago, I thought – in all my ignorant arrogance – that it was done, but going back to it was really kind of groovy as I totally pulled it to bits, put it back together, and I think it’s all the stronger for it… and hopefully the agents, publishers, Hollywood, and everybody else in the world will agree.
Amongst all this I published a collection of all my works for Good Guy entitled ‘The Black Cover Books’, which involved reworking the previously published works and writing a new short which I totally dug doing, even though some of the older stuff was a little angrier and scrappy than I remember.
And then, after all that, to cap off the year, I’m taking part in two anthologies of shorts. One is called ‘The Tempting Providence Collection’ and I appear there with a strange little tale named ‘Dear Michelle’, and then a second one where Good Guy is reforming my graduating class and we each have a punt at telling a uni-related tale.
So my favorite moment of 2013? I’m not sure. I just got a PS4 for Christmas… that was really cool.
How about a favourite memory from 2013 in general?
This year I managed to land the lady of my dreams (stop laughing at the back), so the whole year’s been more awesome than I have the skill to say. We did go to New York City for a week which was thoroughly bitching, so yeah, I think I’ll say that. But that was only seven days in a year when the other 358 have been just as magical (Hey, I said stop laughing!).
Favourite book in 2013?
I’ve written a lot this year, so my reading’s taken a bit of a hit, but I’ve started wrestling with ‘Game of Thrones’ (I like it but… I don’t know), and it’s pretty cool, if not a little rambling. I loved ‘Doctor Sleep’ because it was by the master and who didn’t want to find out what happened to Danny Torrance? I got a huge kick out of ‘Spud: Exit Pursued by a Bear’, which rounds off Van De Ruit’s chronicles of a young boy’s time at a South African boarding school. But I have to say that my favourite book this year has to be ‘Joyland’ by Stephen King. I read it in two afternoons in the sun lying in my garden, and boy is it a work of art. Small and personal, hilarious and terrifying, ‘Joyland’ shows King at his best since maybe ‘From a Buick 8’, and it was a joy to sup Buds, smoke butts, and try and hang on to the ride.
Favourite film of 2013?
2013’s been a funny old year for movies in that there’s been a bunch of cool looking stuff come out, but most of it’s sucked. ‘Iron Man 3’ was pretty awesome, but I was going to like that even if it was as terrible as, say, ‘Iron man 2’, because it was written and directed by Shane Black and I have the biggest dude-crush on that guy and his wittily written banter (Seriously, go watch ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’… you’re welcome). ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ achieved the impossible and was crappier than its infinitely crappy title would suggest. I liked the ‘Evil Dead’ remake (it was groovy, nooch). But you know the flick that really got me going? It was a small release called ‘Side Effects’. Not only did it blow me away, it also made me not hate Jude Law as much as I always have. No mean feat, I tells ya.
Favourite song of the year?
Any of y’all ever play a videogame called ‘The Last of Us?’ developed by Naughty Dog (the cats who knocked ‘Crash Bandicoot’, ‘Jak & Daxter’, and most recently ‘Uncharted’ out of the park) and released in the summer, ‘The Last of Us’ is a game like no other in that it takes great pleasure of emotionally walloping you in your heaving guts as it breaks your heart, pulls it from your yelping mouth, spits on it, and then feeds it back into your mewling maw… Anyway, the game was amazing and the soundtrack kicked ass too. So I want to say that, though I don’t know if it counts. If it doesn’t then we’ll go with that tune by AWOL Nation that played over ‘The Councilor’ (a flick so cold that even the snowman’s junk shrunk in the theatre) trailer. It didn’t come out this year, but 2013 is the year it came to my attention. And if that doesn’t count then I’ll say ‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus… the chick’s all naked and such in the video. Oh, ‘True Love’ by P!nk and what’sherface. That reminds me of my lady. I like that.
Any downsides for you in 2013?
Yeah, I suppose. I still consider myself a struggling writer who has the same job as I did when I was at school. And I hate that. Jessica tells me not to be silly but sometimes… (I know I’m not allowed to swear hear so if you could just imagine me sighing whilst saying a word that begins with ‘fu’ and ends in ‘ck’ that would be grand). Yeah, that gets me down. But we’ll see. And, like I said, 2013 has literally been the best life of my life… and I mean that. Completely and utterly.
Are you making resolutions for 2014?
Yeah, probably. Will I stick to them? I’m not sure. I’m a big fan of cigarettes and whisky, and I’ve thought about quitting the former a few times but… I just love ‘em so much. I don’t want to sound like a church-fete tea-towel but I also want to really go for stuff, y’know? Like, regardless if it’s out of my comfort zone and such… but, y’know, losing a little weight and firming up the moobs would be good enough.
What are you hoping for from 2014?
Me and my lady are buying a house and I can’t wait for that. We’re also going to Rhodes for a holiday in May. I’m also going to read ‘The Divine Comedy’… and probably ‘It’ for the hundredth time. I have the afore-mentioned uni-short to finish, and I also have an idea for a novel which, when I’m not rocking the new box of tricks from Sony, I’m hopefully going to write. I’d also like to rewrite ‘The Rubber Spider’ and sell it. I need the money (who doesn’t?) but I think it’s a good enough tale to be told, and that it has a little something to say that might be worth listening to. I’m also going to rewrite ‘Knowin’ Jack: Older! Wiser? and finally I’d like to get on the PGCE course for teaching primary school kids. So y’all keep your fingers crossed for me, y’hear?
If you’re interested in reading a few dark tales that are both horrifying and humorous then peep the link before. You’ll also see a picture of my face, which is just as horrifying and hideous as my work. I apologise for that, but Amazon like an Author Pic like you read about. Anyway, here’s the link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Callum-Gibson/e/B007VBJ3VS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1388113960&sr=8-2
Or you can follow me on Twitter at @CGibsonWrites.
Or you can hit me up on Facebook (I’m the Callum Gibson with his head superimposed on a Die Hard 4.0 poster).