Yes, but only when it comes to my work.
I am blunt and outspoken, but if I have anything to say, I’ll say it to your face, not behind your back. And yet, when it comes to my work, there are two sides to me. There’s the light-hearted, the fun-loving humourist, happy to take the mick out of anything and everything, including himself. The other is the broody fatalist who sees too little charity, too little to applaud in this world. Both masks appear at infrequent intervals in my work.
There are elements common to both sides: a sense of mystery, a craving to see justice done, and an acceptance that we’re all of us, far from perfect.
I include myself in that final statement. If I were perfect, I wouldn’t have arranged for two books in different categories to appear in the SAME BLOODY WEEK!!! Gormless or just disorganised? Take your pick. Both descriptions fit.
Do I have a preference? Yes. It’s humour, the light-hearted. There’s enough gloom and doom in this world without me adding to it, but there are times, such as recently when I’ve suffered a distressing and intractable illness, when I can’t see the funny side, and the dark takes over. There’s nothing I can do about it. I mean, I try, but when I’m down, the humour is supressed and all that pours out of the keyboard is grim.
Striking a balance is sometimes difficult. Take the Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries as an example. Light-hearted whodunits with sense of 3rd age fun about them, but in the later volumes, they’ve been a little darker than the early adventures Joe, Sheila, and Brenda got themselves mixed up in.
And on the darker side, I have to ensure that humour is minimised. Not totally eliminated, because that would detract from the sense of reality which is vital to them. No matter how bad things are, we can all find something to smile at.
Having made a complete ball of chalk of the twin release, you may ask which side of me is leading now? Fact is, I’ve come through an impasse and the light is beginning to show through. I’m working on the next Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery, A Body in the Graveyard, which is different to the one I promised last Christmas, but that’s because the dark was dominant then, and with my usual skill at arms, I opened my trap to put my foot right in it.
When will it appear? Ask me another. We’re going away for a few days very soon, and that can have all sorts of effects on me. If we were going to Benidorm, I’d practically guarantee STAC #25 appearing in the late spring. But we’re not. We’re going to Skegness.