>Interview With Willie Meikle
Here is an interview with Willie Meikle, author of the Derek Adams PI series and Watcher Trilogy, I conducted last year
How’s life out in the colonials?
Very good thank you very much. Newfoundland is a lot like rural Scotland in many ways. Sea, cliffs, white houses scattered up the coast and lots of wildlife. And it’s empty. I love it.
Plus theres minimal council tax, and we got a 4 bedroom house on the shore for 20 grand. but shhh, everybody will want to come.
As someone who has written in stories based around the works of HP lovecraft, how do you feel about accusations that his work is only suitable for angsty teenage boys?
His work -is- suitable for angsty teenage boys.. it’s the -only- part that bothers me. I’ll admit I was a teenage boy when I read him first, but I wasn’t very angsty, being too busy chasing lassies, learning to smoke and drink and listening to Zeppelin for any of that nonsense.
A lot of people are drawn to HPL by the strange overwrought language and the weird names of his creatures. But for me the stories I like most of his are the ones where the universe is vast and indifferent and humans just get in the way. The Color out of Space in particular still gives me the creeps, and At the Mountains of Madness is IMHO a masterpiece.
The ‘cosmic’ tales have been subsumed in the public consciousness by the Cthulhu mythos stuff that has spawned a myriad of tales, some good, many dire.
But the main inspiration I got from him was the deep old ones. Like you are with nuns, I am with pale things that lurk beneath. It stems from childhood nightmares and a mixture of Morlocks, Tolkein’s goblins and HPL. That’s what led to “Island Life” and I threw in some references in the book to those inspirations.
I do still go back and read HPL from time to time and I’m -far- from a teenager now
How much of an input have you had in the development of your screenplay to the screen?
I have several in various stages at the moment.
– I collaborated with director James Sharpe on a supernatural rom/com feature script, Halfway to Heaven, the proceeds to go towards saving Broomhill Pond in Ipswich. It’s all done and going to the Sundance festival this year
– Dark Window Films, an Anglo Irish prod co, are going to bring Derek Adams to life this year and produce my screenplay for The Amulet. Derek may have to become a Londoner to get this done though!
– Fir3storm Industries in South Africa are in production with a feature of The Five, a script I wrote in collaboration with director Emile Meyer… a Tarantinoesque number featuring chicks with big guns and philosophical issues. Emile plans to take this one to Cannes next year
My script, Ask the Cosmos is with London Studios and is still stuck in pre-production hell. It might never get out. But there -is- a reading this week of a revised screenplay. I think this one has morphed away from my original concept a bit and I’m down for a “based on a story by” credit if it gets done.
But the degree of my involvement in all of them has been the same… I write the screenplay then it gets taken away and made into a movie that might or might not resemble what I wrote down.
Has moving over the water given you a new lease of life?
Well it certainly got me out of the rat race. I spent 25 years in IT building computer systems for men in suits, so it’s nice to fall into semi-retirement. I get some money from online tech writing gigs but I have -much- more time for my own writing now, and I get to sit and watch the sea at the same time. Life is good.
Is there any part of your work, that you have been so proud of, you enjoy going back to read it over and over again?
Nope. Every time I go back and read something later I think it’s shit and want to get it back and re-write it. I haven’t got to the stage of being able to read my own writing for pleasure. I doubt I ever will.
As an author who is flying the flag for the return of creature horror, what you think is the appeal of this genre?
A lot of people are bored with their lives and can’t see a way out. What if a big monster came along and demolished the city? I think that’s part of it, the desire to see what -might- happen if civilisation went away, without it actually having to happen.
There are also monsters embedded in our psyche at a basic level, and “creature features” speak to our hindbrains where we’re still little more than smart monkeys hiding in the trees.
Then there’s the case where you actually identify with the monster itself, and become the one responsible for doing the tearing and demolishing. That’s where I get a thrill out of doing the writing part, when I get to be the one on the rampage.
Mix all that together, and add a dash of ’50s monster movies nostalgia, and you get, for me at least, the best entertainment possible.
If you could clear the copyright, is there any villan / creature you love Derek Adams to take on?
There’s a few I’d like to have a go at:
Derek Adams meets The Necroscope and takes on a horde of Lumley’s Vamphyrii
Derek Adams meets Repairman Jack and takes on the Illuminatti (or Rangers fans as they’re otherwise known
Derek Adams vs a Predator (come on, wouldn’t a Predator in Glasgow be -great-?)
Also would love to take him back and meet some of the old pulp characters… Tarzan, Doc Savage, the Shadow in particular
Have you any feelings about writing another children’s book?
I didn’t intentionally set out to write one the 1st time
Generations was originally going to be a full-on giant insect horror novel, but Young Tom just sort of crept in and took over the telling. GWP are publishing 2 other “Tom and Granddad” stories in a chapbook later this year, but that’s the extent of my ambitions in the children’s book area at the moment.
Its a crowded market that I don’t really understand, but if the right idea came along I’d give it another go.
As a writer of horror fiction, do you believe in the things that go bump in the night?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is a bit more complicated. I’ve had more than a few “experiences”, and been told of more by people I trust, that have convinced me that there’s more to life than the purely physical, but it’s nothing I can easily explain in a few words here. When we get to meet for a beer I’ll tell you a few stories.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I play guitar. I’ve been playing since 1972 and have a small degree of competency that allows me to play some blues stuff pretty well on a battered old Dobro and sing along. (I used to sing in a choir in my schooldays)
I like beer. A lot. And whisky.
I read. A lot.
I get out and about to see wildlife and scenery.
And I spend far too much time just hanging out online when I should be writing.
Being a horror author, do your family and friends ever wonder about you? What has their reaction been after reading your work?
I’ve always been drawn to the dark side of the force so I don’t think it’s any surprise to anyone that’s known me for a while. My mum is one of my biggest fans I -have- been asked why I don’t write something “nice”, but that’s not my style.
I’m not an extreme horror writer though, and it might be different if I had lashings of sex and gore painting the page