Carol’s Close Up with Author Nick Triplow

 

Carol’s Close Up With Nick Triplow!

 Nick was born in London in 1964. After spending much of the 1980s riding scooters around Kent and south London, playing guitar for (very) cult indie band I Can’t Scream and trying to find publishers for some ‘rough-arsed’ poems, Nick bit the bullet, went north of the river, and studied for a degree in Writing, Publishing and English at Middlesex University. Nick found validation for his ideas and writing, along with a realisation that if he was going to be another George Orwell or Graham Greene, he’d better get a bloody move on.    

 

After a farewell to poetry in the self-published pamphlet ‘Electric Lullaby’ – inspired by the mighty John Peel’s late night radio show – Nick focused on writing prose. Moving to Barton on Humber, North Lincolnshire in 2001, he began writing his first novel and in 2004 earned a place on the prestigious Sheffield Hallam University MA Writing. The course was a life-changer, and the novel completed for the MA, a slow-burn high-concept political thriller called The Paradise Man, earned a distinction.

In 2009, Nick co-wrote the script for Ted’s Return Home, a short film about Ted Lewis, native son of Barton on Humber, and author of classic British crime novel Get Carter (originally titled Jack’s Return Home). The film premiered to a packed cinema at the 2009 Humber Mouth Festival. Armed with a new sense of self-belief and a story to tell, inspired by the crime-writing of Lewis and George Pellecanos, Nick returned to draw on the people and places he knew growing up in south London for Frank’s Wild Years – a novel of loyalty, betrayal and last chances at the frayed and fading edges of the south London underworld.  

Nick is currently writing the official biography of Ted Lewis and his first novel Franks Wild Years was published  by Caffeine Nights Publishers on March 19th 2012 see http://www.caffeine-nights.com/nick-triplow.html where you can also download a sample of his work.

 Hello Nick!

Thank-you very much for being my very first Author on Carol’s Close Up! Now let’s cut straight to the chase because I’m dying to find out more about you and what makes Nick Triplow tick!

Ted Lewis, native son of Barton on Humber  and author of classic British crime novel ‘Jack’s Return Home’ (Get Carter), seems to hold a deep seated interest for you. Tell me, how is the biography going?

The first draft is not far off complete. The degree of detail you have to go into is staggering. Lewis was a complex man, a teller of dark stories in more ways than one.  Making sure you do justice to a man’s life brings with it a degree of responsibility and of course, everyone you speak to has their own memory and experience. And there’s the work itself, his writing was frequently flawed, but with an uncompromising edge that, until that time, few if any British crime authors had managed.

You have a degree in Writing & Publishing and English and an MA in Writing Nick, would you encourage others to go to University to study creative writing?

It depends where you are with your writing. Buying yourself some time to develop your work is never a bad thing, giving yourself permission to study and gain a deeper understanding of how writers work. That said, there are good and bad courses. My first degree wasn’t great in some ways, it was a new course and that didn’t help. But  I was lucky to study the practice of writing and publishing with the historian, Juliet Gardiner. She taught me a huge amount about research and integrating that into your work.

The MA at Sheffield Hallam University was a life-changer from day one. I was with an inspiring group of people. The course was highly competitive. Having Jane Rogers as my novel tutor and Mike Harris as script tutor challenged me constantly. The criticism was insightful, no punches pulled. And you had to complete a novel to a publishable standard be awarded the MA. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. But then, like any qualification, its true value is in what you do with it afterwards.  

Do you have a routine for your writing – same place, same time?

I try, but life gets in the way. It tends to get shoved aside too often – I have to earn a living. There are times, though, when the work takes hold and nothing else matters. You can lose days and weeks to it and it becomes an immersive process. It (the work) takes you places you never knew you’d go. When it’s like that, I disconnect from the rest of the world.

What’s your favourite nibble (sweets) whilst you’re working?

I don’t usually eat sweets, but when I was revising The Paradise Man recently I had a bit of a chunky peanut butter Kit-Kat phase. I’m over that now. Substitute ‘tipple’ for nibble and Jameson’s Irish Whisky or Johnnie Walker Black Label just about does the job.

If you could be a character in a book who would it be and why?

I’ve got a feeling that I’ll answer this one today and change my mind tomorrow.  But I’d be the central (unnamed) character in Colin MacInnes’ novel Absolute Beginners. To be in London as the 50s became the 60s, to be that young, that switched on, jazzed up at the birth of the mod movement, loving the summer and having some guy just give you a Vespa. That’s a good place to be. Even if it does go a bit pear shaped for the lad, he has that love of life.

What do you love about your life now as a published author and is it all you expected it to be? If not why?

I wouldn’t say I ‘love’ life as a published author – it’s a work in progress, always. Seeing Frank’s Wild Years in print is an ambition realised, but I have pretty high expectations for what’s coming next.

How would you describe yourself to a stranger?

I was told never to talk to strangers.

Who do you admire?

Obviously different things in different people, but I guess those who struggle against adversity every day and those who support them.  I’ve recently been working with a theatre company – Castaway in Goole, East Yorkshire – and they work with people with learning disabilities. A couple of months back they put on a new production which was stunning in every sense. You knew that the performers and production team had knocked themselves out to bring it to fruition. It was original, combined film, dance, music, drama. It was genuinely funny, moving and thoroughly entertaining.

Pet Hates?

I always love my pets.

How do you relax – Do you still have the scooter and the guitar?

A decent bottle of red, music, a walk on a beach, cinema on a winter’s afternoon. Sunday breakfast in Marples café, Cleethorpes. Seeing live music at decent sized (smallish) venues.

The scooter went a long time ago, I sold it to a mate who wrote it off within a couple of months. Although I’ve often been tempted to get another one. I’ve still got my guitar – it’s never far away. I have a recurring dream in which I’m back playing with the band. Only this time there’s an audience. I think at our last gig – the Clarendon in Hammersmith there were about nine people there. A rubbish way to end something that had some pretty special moments.

What do you consider your finest achievements?

I’ll tell you when they happen.

What do you keep in your pockets?

Fluff.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

Just one? Right now, a flat in London NW3 just near Parliament Hill.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Make the most of it, everything ends.

Greatest fear?

Everything ending.

Thanks Nick! See you next week at the Tonbridge Arts Festival!

You can purchase Franks Wild Years at : –  

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Franks-Wild-Years-Nick-Triplow/dp/1907565140/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1339349551&sr=1-1 

And if you want to read any more, or get a contact with Nick, you can via Electric Lullaby: www.nicktriplow.blogspot.com

 

 

 

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