I came across my next guest, Danny Rhodes, when his first novel Asboville, published by Maia Press, came out to well-deserved critical acclaim in 2006. We met at that time at a Canterbury Festival event, and then more recently bumped into each other when we were both writing at Cafe St Pierre (perhaps that wasn’t too surprising given Danny’s answer below!)
Anyway, it’s good to learn that Asboville has been adapted for BBC Films by the dramatist Nick Leather. Danny’s second novel Soldier Boy was published in February 2009, and a collection of previously published short stories, The Knowledge and other stories was released in October 2011. Focussing on darker, fantastical themes, these stories represent his ongoing fascination with the world of speculative fiction.
Danny has worked with a number of Literary Festivals across the UK, including Canterbury Festival’s series in association with The Man Booker Prize in 2008, and has run a series of workshops in schools based on the issues surrounding anti-social behaviour, travelling as far afield as Manchester, Leeds, Bath and London. In 2009-2010 Danny worked alongside three other writers as part of the Canterbury Laureate Squad with my lovely Canterbury Laureate predecessor, Patience Agbabi, raising the profile of writing in the region. Danny teaches English and is an Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing for the Open University.
So here’s Danny to finish my sentences…
When you were small, you wanted to … be a long-distance lorry driver. Looking back, I think there was a documentary on the TV to tie in with the release of the 1978 movie ‘Convoy’ and the country song by C. W. McCall that was released around the same time. I remember my grandmother arranging a radio birthday announcement for me and the DJ playing the BBC spoof Dave Lee Travis version rather than the original. I remember being upset about that at the time. Trucking must have been a serious business in my seven year old mind…
Actually it’s been quite interesting to reflect upon this from my current perspective. ‘Convoy’ is about a group of truckers unifying against an authoritative Sheriff (I’ve always had a problem with authority), trucking is a solitary occupation (writing) and the film was directed by Sam Peckinpah. ‘Cross of Iron’ (another Peckinpah film) is one of my favourite movies.
And then, when I was bigger, I wanted to be a writer.
The one thing you can never resist is … …you want me to answer that?
The other thing I can never resist is the incredible urge to play devil’s advocate. This sometimes gets me into trouble.
You may not say it aloud but……I fear I am becoming an obsessive hoarder.
The last time you went ‘WOOP’ with excitement was … at a Springsteen concert. My hero. I daydream of having a casual beer with the guy and him being exactly as I imagine him. Ahem.
Your five favourite words are …. I will not give up.
And some additional thoughts:
Favourite writing place in Kent:
Café St Pierre in Canterbury. They let me sit in there for hours. They let me plug my laptop in. They politely respond to my faltering attempts at light conversation. They make fantastic chicken and advocado baguettes. And the coffee is as European as it gets on this side of the channel.
Tough. I think I’d like to speak out for all Kent writers I’ve come across since I moved here in 1994, particularly the lesser known names writing within local groups such as Deal Writers. They produce some lovely stuff in their pamphlets.
Thanks Danny! And here’s my thank you for coming on here…