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Author Interview
Leslie W P Garland Author Interview

The Red Grouse Tales is a collection of speculative short stories conveying thought-provoking ideas through the stories of average people. What was the inspiration for the ideas behind your stories?

That is a difficult question to answer; where does inspiration come from? I suppose I feel that our world is pretty amoral – yes, it is immoral as well – and so ideas and themes relating to some form of morality interest me. As regards the writing of a story, some parts come amazingly easily, whereas others have to be really worked on. If I tell you that I wrote the central section of ‘The Golden Tup’ all in just a few days, whereas I worked up three different endings for ‘The Little Dog’ story, before finally settling on the one that I chose, you’ll get the idea. I am not a fan of ‘penny dreadful’s’ and like stories to be ‘plausible’ even if we know that they actually aren’t. So inevitably my stories tend to start slowly; one needs to set the scene and then introduce the story into it as though it really did happen. Most of the stories in our own lives start without us realising it and it is only when we are reasonably well into it that we realise that something is happening, or indeed has happened. My personal preference is for stories that have a bit of meat to them, so writers who have influenced me include Joseph Conrad, William Golding and Herman Hesse. I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to David Almond – who, by the way, lives just up the valley from me – for his book ‘Skellig’. The surreal concept of finding a real life angel in a garage just did it for me – wonderful! – and made me realise that my ideas were not so outlandish after all and could make stories, and it was this story of his that got me started on writing.

Your characters are felt unique but authentic. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

This question is not dissimilar to the previous one. Whereas one or two of my characters are almost, and I must emphasise the ‘almost’, a direct copy from life, most are made up. I suppose all characters are a mix of people who I have come across plus a bit of imagination, and I suspect the story also helps to drive the character. As a writer you have to ask yourself what sort of person would do this or that, behave in this or that way, and then you try and write the character to fit.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

As you pick up on in your review, evil was probably the main theme; it and how people react to it. The Little Dog explores evil in a person and The Golden Tup evil in a place. The Crow is primarily about vanity and how it can distort an individual’s view of others and events, whereas The White Hart is at heart a battle of the sexes story, with a rather sexist male stance gradually being seen for what it is. Of course I enjoyed throwing in observations about life and death, the naivety of youth, religion and the concepts of good and evil and, as already mentioned, the battle of the sexes. All these are old favourites, but they are fun to explore.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am currently writing a trilogy loosely based on Dante’s Divine Comedy. For this I am borrowing from my civil engineering background and making the first part about the construction of a tunnel, the second about the surveying of a road and the third about the construction of a bridge. These will be modern day versions of Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. I am adjusting the stories of course, but broadly speaking the general theme will be the same; namely that of the protagonist discovering himself, coupled with a rather sad love affair. So far I am well on with the first two parts, though have yet to make a start on the third. When will it be available? My wife died recently, so my personal life is in a bit of a mess at present, So I would guess at, at least a year from now at the earliest. However, if readers are wanting another book, I have two novellas to choose from; The Bat and The Blue Horse; as well as an award winning novel, The Ghost Moth.

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Told in The Red Grouse Inn, the universal appeal of these four charming, very different, adult, speculative, spiritual and philosophical tales will intrigue and entertain. With beautiful and atmospheric imagery, surreal and paranormal concepts of angels, ghosts and devils, they will have you guessing, turning the pages and looking forward to the next one.
The Little Dog – a story of good and evil and retribution. Bill, a retired forester, recounts a week in his early working life when he was paired with an unsavoury workmate. This commences with them finding a little domestic dog sitting beside a forest haul-road way out in a remote part of the forest. As Bill wonders what this little dog is doing in such an unlikely location the week becomes increasingly uncomfortable. When the little dog disappears events take an unexpected turn and our young troubled and naive Bill starts to learn some awful truths.

The Golden Tup – a dreadful tale of paradise being cruelly taken by latent evil. This story opens with the shocking news that a nice young couple have killed their new born baby. How could they have done such a dreadful thing? Our narrator, Verity, recalls how the pair bought an old derelict farmhouse and commenced renovating it; creating their own paradise. However, their felling of an old tree changed everything.

The Crow – a poignant tale of misunderstanding, dying, bitterness and blame. As a child, David, is taken to a hospice by his mother where he finds himself listening to an increasingly mad tale told by a dying and embittered old Irish priest. But why do the old priest’s recollections of the school days and subsequent rise of a local councillor become so increasingly bizarre and bitter?

The White Hart – a happy ghost story, if there can be such a thing! What might connect a chance encounter with a little albino deer, an equally unexpected meeting with a beautiful, but somewhat enigmatic young girl in a remote chapel, and a third, just as strange an incident, on a windswept hillside? Pete Montague, relates a redemptive, happy ghost story – if there can be such a thing!

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on November 8, 2021, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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