Inspiration

Chuck Palahniuk

We all know who Chuck Palahniuk is, so this is a very short introduction. He’s over in London to read some of his work at Book Slam at Clapham Grand on Tuesday 19th Nov. Josh Jones called him up before he flew over to have a chat about stuff.

Hey there Mr Palahniuk, how’s it going? Are you working hard on your new graphic novel?
Yes I am, I’m working with a couple of different editors and some well-known graphic novel authors. So I maybe have 70% of the Fight Club sequel written. I don’t feel a lot of pressure on it right now, as contractually I can’t bring it out for at least a year, so I know I have a lot of time to work on it. It’s not too pressured, it’s perfect, I love it.

Do any parts of London inspire you? Do you have a favourite place to go when you’re here?
Usually I don’t get any farther than Soho, which is where I like to stay. I get lost so easily that I’m fine to deal with Soho and then I go back to the hotel, London is a very intimidating kind of place.

Will you be reading from ‘Doomed‘ at Book Slam? If so, have you decided which part?
Actually, I never read from my current book when I’m on tour. I always try and read a short story that I’ve written specifically for the tour and that no one has heard before.

Aaah – I wondered if it was ‘Doomed’ then you might hand out Purgatory scented stuff, like you did with bacon air fresheners for a previous reading. I think purgatory would smell like potatoes.
Oh! That was when I read a story called Hot Potting, where people die in thermal springs, so that worked with the scent of cooking meat. I think purgatory probably smells like rain.

Do you intend to write really juicy, graphic scenes or they just naturally turn out that way?
Hmmm, I don’t set out to write a graphic scene. I may have a vague concept in mind, but the more I particularise the scene the more graphic it becomes because I have to re-approach the same act, kind of draw it out and repack it in as many different ways as possible. Each very tangible and visceral detail makes it more real in the reader’s mind.

Did you treat Invisible Monsters Remix like a Directors Cut of the book? Was it fun to go back and revisit it?
Before I did that, Neil Gaiman had gone back and re-written American Gods, which he called his authors cut or author’s original mix – something like that. But it was fun to go back to it and to see there were parts of it that actually surprised me and I had forgotten about completely.

When a film is made of one of your books, is it a bit like seeing a child taken away to a boarding school and you just hope it comes out ok?
It’s definitely like seeing someone else’s child being taken away to a boarding school. My child is still the book – that doesn’t change. It’s somebody else’s adopted child and they have to look after it at that point.

Has anyone ever asked you to sign their Kindle at a book signing?
They have, but I tend not to. I’ve only signed a couple. It’s just because they seem like such a multi-purpose tool, it’s like signing someone’s dishwasher or signing their car. It has no specific connection with me.

Photo: Tom Medwell

Catch Chuck at Book Slam along with Andy Zatlzman, Sivu and Ross Sutherland at Clapham Grand on 19th Nov. Tickets £8adv