Below is an interview with Paul Kane first published in The Dragon's Tail Newsletter, Summer 2003
Brutal Dreamer: How would you describe yourself as a person and as a writer?
Paul Kane: I like to think I'm quite a decent person with a good sense of right and wrong - well, so I've been told anyway. I always treat people with respect in the hopes they'll do the same with me. That's probably naive of me, but what the hay. I also believe very much in karma and helping folk out where I can. Sometimes it comes back to you in some unusual and unexpected ways, but it always comes back. I love a good laugh as well, I think that's so important in life, which is probably why I've dabbled in comedy writing as well as horror. I think if you can make someone laugh or smile it's the most special thing in the world. There's no feeling like it. As a writer I'm fairly focused. I'm something of a perfectionist and will write much more than I need to at first, then trim off the fat. I think we're all developing as writers all the time, and my style's certainly changed over the years. I can look back at stuff I wrote in my early days and squirm at some of the mistakes I made. But we're all learning every day; we never stop. I just hope people keep on liking what I do. That gives me such a kick.
Brutal Dreamer: What do you enjoy most about writing stories? Why?
Paul Kane: It's the feeling of power you have over what's going to happen. Unlike life, you've got more or less complete control over what's going on in your stories. That's not to say you can make characters do whatever you want them to - they usually have a life of their own if you've done your job properly. It just means that you can turn night to day if you want, can create monsters or a whole new world if you so desire. That's what's so cool about writing, you get to play God, or 'Controller' if you subscribe to my mythos about the one-eyed ones. As human beings we're all pretty much powerless to control fate or whatever, so writing is one way of combating this I suppose. I also enjoy the feeling of communicating my ideas and thoughts to others through my writing.
Brutal Dreamer: How would other authors describe your writing techniques or style?
Paul Kane: Some writers would be kinder than others, I'm sure. Hopefully they might describe my techniques as a mixture of tried and tested formulas - if it aint broke don't fix it - and unexpected twists. As for my style, it's a hard one to pin down for them I suspect because I'm very chameleon-like when it comes to writing. I work in so many different styles depending on what I'm producing - for example the comedy style is totally different to the psychological one. It's swings and roundabouts. One critic once described me as versatile and that about sums it up I guess.
Brutal Dreamer: What can you offer us that other writers cannot?
Paul Kane: I believe that, like most writers, my personality comes through in the fiction. So in that respect my writing can't be like any other author's really. In concrete terms I think a few of my brainchildren are somewhat original - like the Controllers I mentioned earlier. I've had a lot of very positive feedback about those stories, and seem to have struck upon something that most people feel. I can also tap dance, and don't know many other authors who can. That was a joke by the way...
Brutal Dreamer: What is it about writing that attracts you, and why?
Paul Kane: Again, it's the whole thing about getting your ideas out there for other people to see. I also paint, draw and I'm into film and photography as well, and the same thing applies to all of them. You're presenting this material to the general public and hoping that they're going to 'get' what you're doing. Some don't, some do. And it's the ones that do that make it all worthwhile.
Brutal Dreamer: What is unattractive about writing? Why?
Paul Kane: Writing can be a very solitary business. It's you sat at a desk typing words into a computer. It can get lonely sometimes and lots of writers live quite isolated lives. Even when they're with other people they're in their own little worlds. I'm fortunate in that I'm a lecturer too and this gets me out and about and away from the computer. I also have loads of friends all around the world, plus a core group of special people in my life that I can lean on, chat to, or just hang with. My family and loved ones are also a great antidote to this. They're incredibly important to me and I count myself a lucky man because of them.
Brutal Dreamer: What are your greatest achievements in your writing career thus far?
Paul Kane: My first short story acceptance for a start, a milestone for any writer. The competitions I won in the wake of that. The publication of my first collection, Alone (In the Dark) and watching as it sold out of its print run in record time. The kind quotes that critics and other writers have given me, and continue to give me. This sort of encouragement is vital for any writer. And lastly the publication of Touching the Flame, which was on hold for two years and went through a few publishers before finding a stable home.
Brutal Dreamer: If a story you wrote was ever to go to Hollywood, what would the title be? Who would star in it? What would the rating and genre be? Would it be a Box Office bust or hit?
Paul Kane: There are one or two stories I'd love to see filmed. 'The Torturer' perhaps, or some of my Dalton Quayle adventures...the latter might work best as cartoons come to think of it. Being into movies myself, I've actually got a full-length script in mind and have started work on it. I'm going to keep the title to myself for now though. Who would star in it? Anybody we could get or who'd be interested, as it wouldn't necessarily be big budget. The rating would probably be 15 or 18 and the genre would be very dark thriller bordering on horror. And in my little fantasy world I hope it's a hit, naturally.
Brutal Dreamer: If you could pick any woman in the world to star as your leading lady - who would she be?
Paul Kane: I know it's popular to say this because she's the woman of the moment, but Halle Berry. Not only does she have obvious audience appeal and star quality, but she's a damn good actress too.
Brutal Dreamer: What about a leading man?
Paul Kane: Tom Cruise maybe. Again, star quality and a superb acting ability. I thought he was exceptional in Minority Report and Vanilla Sky. Having said that, I'm a huge Jack Nicholson fan because he just goes nuts in everything he does. Having Jack in his heyday would also be a dream come true.
Brutal Dreamer: Tell us more about you. Tell us your most intimate secrets, ideals, and goals.
Paul Kane: My most intimate secrets? Well, if I told you those they wouldn't be secrets now, would they? Seriously though I don't have too many secrets. I'm a very open and honest person, sometimes too honest for my own good. I'd love to say I'm Batman by night or something, but I don't think the tights would suit me. My ideals? I'd like humanity to sort itself out I think, and stop trying to eradicate itself; that would be quite nice. As for goals, I don't set myself those anymore. I'm not one of these 'I must have achieved this and that by next year' kind of writers. I take things as they come and find that patience and persistence tend to win out in the end.
Brutal Dreamer: Thank you Paul!
(C) Brutal Dreamer & DDP 2003
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