I am thirty-one years old and I come from a place called Hull which died tragically in 1985. I’ve spent the last fifteen years doing menial jobs which have included barman, cook, record shop assistant and hospital orderly. I am married with a baby daughter. I spend far too much time watching football and betting on it, I am permanently skint and I exist on coffee and wine. Yes, I am a walking cliche.
What/who inspired you to pick up a pen and start writing?
I started when I was about eight or nine writing match reports for my primary school football team, then I started writing stories but I never showed them to anyone. I don’t know why but I always felt ashamed that I had aspirations of being a writer. As a child I loved Roald Dahl, and read Henry Sugar until I knew it off by heart. Once I was old enough I got into Irvine Welsh, George Orwell, Jack Kerouac, Camus, Sartre, Raymond Chandler… the songs of Nick Cave and Tom Waits… I also read loads of biographies… My two favourite authors are Charles Bukowski and Cormac McCarthy, but the one book that made me sit down and tell my own story was Ask The Dust by John Fante, I would say that’s probably my favourite book ever. Actually a massive influence on me was my old high school teacher Mr Birkenshaw, I think he realised that I wasn’t cut out for a normal career and he encouraged my creative side.
For anyone who hasn’t read your writing before, tell them what they can expect to read.
I’m told its very dark but I’m not trying to be dark, I’m just a bit of a miserable sod. Everything I write is narrative-based, very descriptive and emotionally heavy. The few people who have read my forthcoming novella 18 Days have told me its really upsetting and deep, and my friend who looks after my literary career, fellow writer Darren Sant, has told me to be prepared that it may be too intense for some people. I think people who stick with it will find it rewarding though.
Tell us about your writing process. Do you write an outline before every story or are you an impulsive writer and just sit down and let the story pour out?
I’ll have a spontaneous idea and write frantically until I’ve completed it. I have no formal education in writing or literature past sixth form so I don’t know how to storyboard, structure or any of that. 18 Days was originally intended to be a short story of about 2500 words. I ended up writing 30000 words in five days. Actually, it was five nights, I can’t write during the day. Sadly these freakish levels of creativity result in periods of weeks where I can’t string a sentence together.
What is next for Allen Miles?
My private detective novel, provisionally titled Dick, is about a quarter finished and hopefully it should be complete this time next year. I wouldn’t mind crack at writing for the stage or screen. I have a drafted screenplay called “Paradise” that I should really go back to and polish up. It’s about the shambolic failure of a comically awkward rock n roll band. My favourite things to write are short stories and prose pieces and I’d love to release a collection at some point. In the short term, I’m going to the kitchen to pour myself a glass of wine.
So here’s where I cheat a bit and get some more info out of you.
Bonus question: You are stranded on a desert island. You can have 3 ‘luxury’ items and one person with you. What and who would they be and why?
I would take my i-Pod, because it contains a frankly ludicrous 27090 songs, although without an internet connection I’d miss my twice weekly dose of the Guardian’s Football Weekly podcast; I’d take a crate of 2006 Calloway Crossing, the finest Shiraz I’ve ever had; and I’d take my new mobile phone. Its unbelievable. Admittedly its the size of a baking tray but its got a kindle on it so I’d never be short of books, I’ve got loads of films and video games on it, and loads of episodes of Peppa Pig for my daughter Gabbers, who would be the person I would take because she makes me very happy and she is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. And I suppose with a mobile on us we’d probably get rescued after a while.