The path to the Isolation Tank is winding. And sometimes I get distracted and end up lost. I left for supplies, intending to return on Monday, but it’s Wednesday, and Aiden Truss was patiently waiting when I returned. There was some thumb twiddling, but since I leave a basket full of thumb-wrestlers from the ’80s in the tank, I think he remained amused.
Why writing? What drew you to it? Why do you continue?
It’s been my preferred form of self-expression for almost as long as I can remember. I can’t draw, can’t sing and can’t dance. I write to order my thoughts and to try to make sense of things.
If you were freezing to death and the only thing left to burn were the books in your library, what 5 books would you burn last? (And yes, everything else burnable has been burnt.)
- Gape – it took me long enough to finally get published. I’d hold onto this one ‘til the last!
- My copy of the The Annotated Dracula by Leonard Wolf. It’s not exactly a rare book, but it is out of print and took me a while to track down a nice copy without having to pay through the nose for it.
- Dune by Frank Herbert – my all-time favourite sci-fi novel.
- The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland – the best graphic novel ever written.
- The Complete Works of Shakespeare – I have a beautiful leather-bound version. These are the greatest works in English literature, and I’d save them at any cost.
What’s the most challenging thing you’ve done (in life or in writing (your choice))?
I didn’t attend university ‘til my thirties and studied for a BA and an MA part-time over seven years. I’d finish my day job and then go to classes in the evenings several times a week. Obviously my weekends were entirely taken up with study and essays and dissertations. I just got on with it at the time, but now that I look back, I’m not sure how I did it. I certainly don’t think that I’d want to do it again.
What’s one word or phrase that drives you nuts? Why?
‘Like’. Some people like talk like this like all the time like in London. It’s like really like annoying!
Do you have a favorite character you’ve created? If so, who is it and why?
Astolath is my favourite character. He’s my unfettered and homicidal alter ego. His casual approach to violence is what I play out in my head when someone annoys me. Of course my continued participation in wider society prohibits me from acting things out for real. His actions are my fantasy revenge on those who have crossed me!
Creepiest place you’ve ever been? Has it appeared in your fiction? Why or Why not?
My younger son started to collect Warhammer figures and games, and he asked me to take him to an event at our local Games Workshop store. I was honestly creeped out by the whole experience. Until that time, I had thought that I was a geek, but I couldn’t hold a candle to these guys. Warhammer was their world, and even the humour was finely tuned only to the palates of those initiated into their fantasy world. The experience does in fact appear in a manuscript that I’m working on.
What’s the best rejection you’ve ever received?
From a publishing house that I won’t mention:
“The protagonists strong and engaging voice was coupled with humor and undeniable wit that we thoroughly enjoyed. While we were delightfully surprised by this piece, thematically it is not quite the right fit for our next publication in the collection. Please continue to develop this novel, as it will surely be welcomed by future publishers.“
How did you get that scar?
I have a small scar over my left eye that causes it not to open as wide as the right one. I got into a fight with a boy at secondary school, and he thrust a pen into my eye socket. I only ended up with a few stitches and a black eye, but it could have been a lot worse.
What song would precede your entrance into a room if we all had personal soundtracks?
‘Year Zero’ by Ghost BC.
Promote yourself and/or your writing
My first novel Gape, a horror fantasy with a good dash of humour, has just been published. It’s set mostly in London and explores what happens when a young homeless girl meets a demon and becomes entangled in his world and in the wider politics of Hell. It features warrior archangels, fiery demons, rampaging monsters, and fried food!
And now, a word from the publicist:
Gape by Aiden Truss
What she wasn’t prepared for was a visit from a demon, an invitation back to his temporally insubstantial sanctuary, and forced to take sides in a battle involving most of the denizens of hell. Oh, and a boat trip down the river Thames.
After a disappointing start to the day, things were about to get a bit more interesting…
Aiden Truss is a forty one year-old geek who still thinks that he’s twenty-one. Despite never having grown up, he’s now been married for twenty four years and has two sons who have grown up against all odds to be strangely well adjusted.
Aiden spends his time flitting between high and low culture: he holds an MA in Cultural and Critical Studies and can often be seen stalking the galleries and museums of London, but also likes watching WWE, listening to heavy metal music, collecting comic books and playing classic video games.
Aiden lives in Kent, England and Gape is his first novel.
Final thoughts before you run screaming for your life?
I’m not really a screamer. As Lord Blackadder once said, “I tweak the nose of terror and put ice cubes down the vest of fear!”
Thank you for waiting, Mr. Truss. You’ve preformed well under duress. Any impatience with my lateness was invisible. Now scoot. I have to pack a bag. Which way out? Shout and listen for the echoes. If they’re too sharp, you’ve got the wrong way. But remain aware of your surroundings, they change by the minute.