17 October 2014
Urban Mythic 2: Chico Kidd interviewed
What is at the root of your Urban Mythic story?
I’ve always had a soft spot for werewolves. About a year or so ago I started trying out a new voice, an NYPD detective who didn’t just happen to be a werewolf but had joined the police because she was one. “They say the real reason so many weres are drawn to law enforcement is we still want to run in a pack. Though if you ask me I think it’s just ’cause we like chasing stuff.” I spent quite a long time nailing Taz’s voice, and also working on her world (in short, the weres are cops and the vampires are the Mob) and how it all worked and fit together. This story came out of that— in effect, it’s backstory before I’ve even completed the present-day narrative!
Alchemy Press have also published your novella The Komarovs – tell us about that and is it connected to any of your other works?
It’s just one in the long-running series I call the Da Silva Tales, which comprises so far about twenty long short stories/novellas (a goodly number of which have been anthologised) and four-and-a-half novels, the first of which, Demon Weather, has been published by Booktrope. David Longhorn summed up the milieu thusly: “One not-so-fine day Portuguese sea-captain, Luis da Silva, found himself in Venice under demonic attack. The result was to make him a ghost-seer and necromancer— one with the power to conjure up those who’ve died before their time.” Set in the early years of the 20th century, the Captain amasses a “Scooby Gang” which includes one of the protagonists of The Komarovs— Harris the werewolf. In fact its original title was Wolfbane!
You’ve travelled a great deal and had many interesting experiences – are there any adventures that particular stick out? What places or activities have you not yet experienced that you want to?
No adventures as such, but I learnt to dive in the Maldives in the 80s, when the coral was fabulous. Nowadays much of it is dead and white, mostly due to a voracious beastie called the crown of thorns starfish. We travelled round the world about eight years ago, and that was fun. On a later trip to Hawaii I visited the newest lava flow. Mostly cooled, there was still one stream of lava falling into the sea. Two years before, people had been sunbathing on that beach. Before my other half became ill, we would go to the top of anything and everything— many years before 9/11 I remember standing on the top of one of the Twin Towers. The view was astonishing. I’d like to visit Vietnam because I am a great foodie and their cuisine looks amazing.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?
Romance! And probably politics.
Room 101 time: what one genre cliché would you get rid of?
Chick-lit vampires! Buffy (and all who sailed in her) was genre-changing, but has sadly yielded to Twilight’s soppy bloodsuckers. That’s a great shame, IMHO. The Buffyverse also made humour and character integral to the action, which is what I aspire to do with the Captain and now with Taz.
What are you up to next?
The second Da Silva novel, The Werewolf of Lisbon, is due to come out this year, I hope, with the others to follow. To that end I need to finish volume five! I also have a story in Terror Tales of Yorkshire, out right about now. Plus I want to do more with Taz. I have this mad idea of writing the series backwards— first novel would be present-day, then go in reverse to the “thirteen years ago” of “Blood*uckers”. But I reckon that’s quite a long way off.