Exiles. The book contains "stranger in a strange land" stories by writers like Patti Abbott, Ryan Sayles, Carrie Clevenger, Chris Leek, Richard Godwin, Jason Michel, and myself. He also recently released A Case of Noir, about Luke Case, a boozy English hack with a dark secret who starts a dangerous affair with a gangster’s wife. Case escapes to the sweltering Spanish heat where he meets a colorful cast of characters, including a mysterious torch singer and a former East End villain with a criminal business proposition. It's another shot of international noir from the master. I talked with Paul about living and writing overseas.
All Due Respect: You’ve lived in Poland for a number of years, how have you felt like an outsider? What was the biggest culture shock for you?
Paul D. Brazill: I think I’ve always felt like an outsider, even when living in Hartlepool and London, but I suppose when you’re living in a foreign country that ‘state’ is more pronounced. Certainly when I first came here. Quite a pleasant feeling, of course. The purpose of self-imposed exile not to have to fit in.
I had no expectations so there was no real culture shock. I was surprised by the lack of pub culture, though, in that most pubs are ostensibly places for young people. There’s little of the mish-mash of age, sex, class that you--at least used to--get in the best British pubs.
ADR: Have you begun to feel more at home in Poland?
PDB: I ‘negotiate’ the place better for sure. But I’ve always lived in my own bubble. It doesn’t matter where I am, I’ll never feel like I’m in on the joke.
ADR: How has living abroad changed your view of your home country?
PDB: Well, I’m sure it’s made me appreciate the good things and dislike the rubbish things even more.
ADR: Do you feel like your writing has changed due to living abroad?
PDB: Apart from a lost screenplay, I didn’t write before I moved here. I’d been living here for 6 or 7 years before I started knocking out stuff. I doubt I would ever have got any writing done had I stayed in England, though.
ADR: What are some of your favorite stranger-in-a-strange-land books/stories?
PDB: Adrift In Soho Colin Wilson
Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley books and plenty of her other books.
The Comedians Graham Greene
Fierce Bitches Jedidiah Ayres
Morvern Caller Alan Warner
Cocaine Nights J G Ballard
ADR: What's Blackwitch Press got cooking these days?
PDB: Nothing. I don’t intend to do anything with BWP for quite a while. Next year there may well be a Roman Dalton book but whether I do it through Blackwitch Press or elsewhere, we’ll see. It takes a lot of time—and money—and I have even more admiration for indie publishers now I’ve seen how difficult it is. But I want to concentrate on getting my own writing finished and out into the world.