Updated: Oct 5, 2019
I recently had the pleasure of reading Kevin Ansbro's fourth novel, "The Minotaur's Son & other wild tales". I enjoyed it so much that I added it to my 2019 favourite reads page. I am lucky enough to be friends with Kevin on goodreads, so I thought why not ask him for an interview and he graciously agreed to answer a few questions.
1. Ok, Let's get the cliché question out of the way. If you were on a desert island and were only allowed to take three books which would they be and why?
‘Midnight’s Children’, by Salman Rushdie; ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’, by Gabriel García Márquez; ‘Great Expectations’, by Charles Dickens. My writing style has mostly been influenced by those three writers (with a bit of Gerald Durrell and Graham Greene on the way). In the case of Márquez and Rushdie, I just fell in love with the chaotic brilliance of their exquisite writing: so picturesque, so poetic and so surreal. All three authors are masters of descriptive imagery and their figurative writing styles have shaped mine.
Great Expectations is everything a novel should be: a sweeping tale with strong character development, awash with irony, symbolism, twists, tragedies, revenge and moral conclusions. It has the lot!
2. Do you prefer writing or reading? You must answer one or the other a gun has been put to your head!
I prefer to write, but being able to do so owes a great debt to my being an avid reader.
3. Have you ever considered writing non-fiction and, if so, what would be the topic or subject?
God, no! I would rather tip Tabasco sauce into my eyes!
4. You find out that you are allowed to take three authors - they must be authors, alive or dead - to the desert island along with the three books from question 1. Who would they be and why?
Rather fortuitously, the authors I would choose would be the three previously mentioned: Márquez, Rushdie and Dickens.
5. You are now allowed to take three people from any walk of life, but they must be alive. You cannot resurrect Lee Harvey Oswald and ask was it you? You can't reanimate Marilyn Monroe and ask what happened. Who would you take and why?
1) Bear Grylls; otherwise we would all quickly die of starvation or dehydration. I can’t imagine Charles Dickens being very good at climbing a coconut tree or diving for clams! 2) My two wives; Julie Ann Ansbro and Salma Hayek-Ansbro (they count as one). 3) George Clooney (it’s only fair).
6. I would love to know what you think about the increasing rash of books that, how shall I put it, do not abide by the rules of punctuation. Does it bother you?
Poor writing and shoddy punctuation drive me to distraction! I’ve read more than a few high-profile novels lately where the writing and editing leave a lot to be desired. And they still get rave reviews! I sometimes wonder if I exist in a parallel universe.
7. I love music almost as much as literature. Do you like music? Any favourite bands or music?
I LOVE music, Collin! And my tastes stretch right across the board: anything from seventies funk to Italian opera. Here are some faves off the top of my head: The Clash; Foo Fighters; Red Hot Chilli Peppers; Thin Lizzy; Pulp; James Brown; Luther Vandross; Sade; Roberta Flack; Candi Staton; Rose Royce; Chic; Bob Marley and Barry White. Andy Williams had a wonderful voice, as did Luciano Pavarotti. I could go on…
8. Being the martial arts machine that you are, who would you rather fight, Bruce Lee, or Chuck Norris? Hmmm, Chuck is a bit of a wuss, he is allowed nunchucks.
Chuck Norris. Not because I think that Bruce Lee was the better fighter; it’s more to do with the fact that I preferred to fight bigger guys. They’re easier to hit and you don’t feel so stupid if you lose! : ) My fighting days are well behind me, as are Chuck Norris’s, hopefully – otherwise he might read this and fly over to England specifically to kick my butt!
9. Your house is on fire, everybody is safe, but you have time to run in and grab one object. What would you grab and why? This is real Kevin, you can't come running out with your favourite cupboard.
Assuming Julie was safe, I would dash through the flames to snatch whichever memory stick is holding my latest work-in-progress. I would rather my house burned to the ground (it’s insured) than lose a novel that I’d poured my heart and soul into for 1,000 hours.
10. You write in the magical realism genre, which is an enigma to many readers. How would you best describe the genre?
I am so pleased you asked this, Collin. It kinda drives me crazy when people confuse magical realism with fantasy. These two quotes, the first written by Sir Salman Rushdie, the second by me, will hopefully go some way to explain our interpretation.
“When people use the term magical realism, usually they only mean ‘magic’ and they don’t hear ‘realism’…” —Salman Rushdie
“To master magical realism one must make the real seem unreal but, more importantly, make the unreal seem real.”
Thank you for inviting me to answer a few questions, Collin. I really enjoyed chatting with you. I was once asked what I would do if I woke up one morning to discover that I was now a woman. I replied that after my wife and I had run around the bedroom screaming like banshees, I would try to make the best of a bad situation and see if I could start dating Prince Harry, with a view to marriage. Sadly, that ship has since sailed. Harrumph!
A big thankyou to Kevin for agreeing to this as I know he is very busy at the moment with "The Minotaur's Son & other wild tales" only just being released.
Cheers Kevin, your bloods worth bottlin' to be sure, to be sure.