Saturday, 11 March 2017

Diana talks to Rod Glenn

Rod is a multi talented man. Not only is he a superb actor, he is  one of the geniuses behind Wild Wolf Publishing and is also an established author in his own right (or should that be 'in his own write'???)

It is a pleasure to be able to talk with you Rod...
First things first I am sure there is a question that you have always longed to be asked. Now is the chance. Ask your own question and answer it!  What scares you most?  The possibility that there is absolutely nothing after death.  I’m not a religious person, but I desperately hope that there is something after death.

If your latest book 'No Chance In Hell' was adapted into a TV show or a film, who would you like to play the lead role? Me! I split my time between writing and acting and I’d love to play the action hero lead. Failing that, if Tom Hardy can pull off a Geordie accent I guess he can have the gig.

What made you choose this genre? I don’t specifically choose a genre – I tend to write from a basic idea and the genre and everything else tends to evolve from there.  No Chance In Hell is an action/horror, but my previous novels are thrillers, sci-fi and post-apocalyptic, so I’m not picky!

How do you get ideas for plots and characters?  Sometimes from seeing something or someone in the street, or a basic ‘what if’ question might pop into my head or even from a dream.  Inspiration can come from anywhere.

If, as a one off, (and you could guarantee publication!)  you could write anything you wanted, is there another genre you would love to work with and do you already have a budding plot line in mind?  I have an idea for a very different take on the werewolf genre which I’m toying with at the moment. (Rod, if it comes to fruition, may I have the chance to review it for the Review, please?)

Was becoming a writer a conscious decision or something that you drifted into (or even something so compelling that it could not be denied?) How old were you when you first started to write seriously.  I started writing in primary school and I never stopped. I’ve always been compelled to write. At the same time that I was writing my first childish stories I was also taking part in every school play – I’ve always been compelled to do both.

Marmite? Love it or hate it? I’m weird – I can take it or leave it.  Write into that what you will… (Well, I can write into that that you are weird!!!)

Do you have any rituals and routines when writing? Your favourite cup for example or ‘that’ piece of music...??  I prefer silence when writing – I don’t like any distractions.  Other than that, no, writing is a job, as is acting, so they need to be treated as such.  I get up and I write, whether I’m in the mood or not.  You have to get yourself into a routine and put the graft in.  It’s a solitary job, so if you don’t motivate yourself no one else will.  If you use excuses like I’m not in a creative mood or I have writer’s block then writing will only ever be a hobby.  You will never earn a living from it.

I promise I won’t tell them the answer to this, but when you are writing, who is more important, your family or your characters?  Ha, both.  You have to maintain some perspective or you’ll disappear too far down the rabbit hole. *See below

Other than writing full time, what would be your dream job?  I’m extremely lucky that I have my two dream jobs – actor and writer. (So are we, your viewers and readers)

Coffee or tea? Red or white?  I always have a cup of strong Yorkshire tea first thing in the morning and then coffee throughout the rest of the day.  Red every time for wine, mainly rioja.

How much of your work is planned before you start? Do you have a full draft or let it find its way?  I usually only start with a basic premise and allow the story and characters to evolve from there.  With my debut novel (The King of America) I started with a question – what if America was ruled by a monarchy?

If you had free choice over the font your book is printed in, what font/fonts would you choose?  I like Garamond – feels a little warmer to me than the likes of Time New Roman or Arial. (Yep!)

Imagine that you could get hold of any original source document. What would it be?  It would definitely be top secret government documents on aliens and UFOs.

Have any of your characters ever shocked you and gone off on their own adventure leaving you scratching your head??? If so how did you cope with that!? Characters are always surprising me!  Sometimes one written in as a small insignificant role blossoms into a lead character and visa versa.  Sometimes they die too soon, sometimes they survive when I thought they wouldn’t.  You just have to keep writing and trust in the story.  The hard work begins in the re-drafting stages anyway – that’s where all the re-writes, cuts, changes and additions happen.

How much research do you do and do you ever go on research trips?  I continually research throughout the writing of a novel, whether it is looking on Google Maps at a specific area or a fact check, research is key to realism and realism is key to making your story believable.  Even the most fantastical story involving magic, dragons, aliens and demons must be fundamentally believable on a base level.  I used to go on research trips, but with so much information available at the click of a mouse it’s rarely necessary these days.  If it is needed though then I have no hesitation.

Fiction authors have to contend with real characters invading our stories. Are there any ‘real’ characters you have been tempted to prematurely kill off or ignore because you just don’t like them or they spoil the plot?  They do occasionally sneak in, sometimes as a bit of fun for a friend or family member, but often a ‘real’ person might fit the bill better than a complete fabrication, so I might change their name and tweak other physical or personality traits so that I’m the only one who knows who that character is based on.  As writers we probably do this a lot more often than we admit, whether it is just someone we noticed in the coffee shop once or a friend we’ve known since kindergarten.

Are you prepared to go away from the known facts for the sake of the story and if so how do you get around this?  Realism is always paramount for me, so I will stick to the facts as much as possible, only veering off if it does not detract from the story’s believability.

Do you find that the lines between fact and fiction sometimes become blurred?  Fact is quite often stranger than fiction, so the line is indeed microscopically thin.

Have you ever totally hated or fallen in love with one of your characters?  I tend to love all my characters, even the nasty ones, so I do tend to feel their pain.  My antagonists always have some redeemable qualities about them, that grey area that makes them human, no matter what they do.  Likewise with my protagonists – they usually have a darker side.  You cannot have light without dark. 

What do you enjoy reading for pleasure?  I read all sorts – Edgar Allan Poe, Terry Pratchett, H P Lovecraft, H G Wells, Christopher Brookmyre, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, J R R Tolkein, Bernard Cornwell, Douglas Adams, Roger Zelazny and many, many more. To be a good writer you have to read a great deal and from different genres and authors.

What drink would you recommend drinking whilst reading your latest book?  A stiff one!  Whisky.

Last but not least... favourite author?  It’s almost impossible to chose one, but I would edge towards Edgar Allan Poe.

Rod Glenn was brought up in the north east of England and lives in Newcastle upon Tyne with wife, Vanessa. His writing is of a dark nature with darkly humorous undertones. He also an actor, some roles include The Hippopotamus, Wolfblood, Outside, The Fairy Flag, The Hollow Crown and Ripper Street.

The King of America
Sinema: The Northumberland Massacre
The King of America: Epic Edition
The Killing Moon
Sinema 2: Sympathy for the Devil
Holiday of the Dead (contributor)
Radgepacket Vol. 1 (contributor)
P.O.W. Wartime Log of F/Sgt T D Glenn (contributor)
Sinema 3: The Troy Consortium
Wild Wolf's Twisted Tails (contributor)
Action: Pulse Pounding Tales Volume 2 (contributor)
The Fortress 

 *From above. On 23rd April, which is St George's day and my birthday (and the birth and death day of some bloke called Shakespeare) my 'Diana talks' is called 'Diana talks to herself...' 
In this fascinating discussion (?) I explore the reasons why I have never written commercially and why what Rod says above is all a part of it.

© Diana Milne January 2017 © Rod Glenn February 2017









  1. Well done Rod! Very informative!

    1. With *Diana talks* sometimes I get a black and white snap shot of a writer, on other occasions I get a full colour photograph. This is one of those rare occasions when I feel as if I have got a full technicolour production!