Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Stark Holborn?
Your intriguing new novella, Triggernometry is out now. How would you introduce it to a potential reader?
Triggernometry is an alt-history western, set in a world where mathematicians are dangerous outlaws. It’s a pulp fiction adventure with shoot-outs, bar brawls, heists, peril and vivid landscapes, starring a cast of mathematicians from across history.
What inspired you to write the novella? And where do you draw your inspiration from in general?
You have Jared Shurin to thank for this one; we were messing around on Twitter when he mentioned the name Triggernometry. I started musing on what form the story might take, and here we are. The same was true of Nunslinger; it was a 2am post night out joke, until I actually started thinking about it. Of course, I never dreamed at the time it would spark off a 180,000 word, twelve novella epic.
How were you introduced to genre fiction?
When I was a kid my dad – who took a lot of acid when he was young, and used to play bass for Dr. Feelgood before they were famous – read to me a lot, usually whatever he was reading at the time, everything from Aldiss to Burroughs. Doesn’t seem to have done any damage…
How do you like being a writer and working within the publishing industry?
Some days it’s the best job in the world. But like any job, there are days when it’s tough. One of the hardest things has been trying not to become disillusioned with the publishing industry, at a time when author advances are smaller than ever, and royalty splits remain stuck at around 7% for a paperback. Sometimes, it feels impossible to progress or to make a living. At the same time, the industry is full of passionate, talented people, who work their hardest to bring new books to life. I think self-publishing can be useful route too: it gives authors a chance to sell to readers directly, especially books which might be too weird for publishers to take a chance on.
Do you have any specific working, writing, researching practices?
At the moment I’m writing to a four hour soundtrack of wind through a dead tree in a Mojave Desert.
When did you realize you wanted to be an author, and what was your first foray into writing? Do you still look back on it fondly?
I started seriously thinking about it when I was nineteen and wandering across Australia. It took about four years to write my first novel – which I sincerely hope my agent has lost. Another two or three years to write the next, while working a variety of strange jobs, before Anne Perry at Hodder bought Nunslinger based on the first instalment.
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline, and what are you working on at the moment?
Certainly do. I’m currently working on a feminist space western, set on a desert moon; Mad Max: Fury Road meets Dune by way of Cowboy Bebop. I’m also going to be writing for a SF noir game called Shadows of Doubt. It’s already looking fantastic, so I can’t to get stuck in.
What are you reading at the moment (fiction, non-fiction)?
If you could recommend only one novel or book to someone, what would it be?
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt.
What are you most looking forward to in the next twelve months?
At the moment I’ll take just being able to raise a glass in person with family and friends again.
What’s something readers might be surprised to learn about you?
That I’m not an old American man…?!