I’ve recently been having a fascinating conversation via e-mail with Twitter-friend and fellow writer CJ Wright — the two of us discussing how we work, our influences, the difficulties writers face today and our aspirations. This is part two with more to follow over the coming weeks. Part One can be read here.
Chris is the author of a number of self-published novels including Ritual of Blood, Killing Time and Falling Star. You can Find out more about Chris and his work by visiting his website.
CJW: Also in horror, characters need to be believable, even more so than in other genres of fiction. Believable characters make unrealistic situations genuine to the reader.
I’ve been re-reading your interview in Writing Magazine (February 2010 issue), about how your disability effects your writing day. Also being a writer with a disability (I have Joint Hypermobility Syndrome, which causes intense pain in all my joints, making walking without assistance, and gripping things, almost impossible), I have found that the use of a computer is essential to creating my fiction. Due to my condition, writing has become the main driving force in my life, and it is something that defines me instead of being seen as a ‘disabled person’. I was wondering how you saw your writing in relation to your disability.
GWM: It’s funny, but for quite awhile I worked really hard at trying to avoid being defined as “a disabled writer”. There was, in some quarters, an assumption that a bloke in a wheelchair should write about blokes in wheelchairs — and that really galled me, naturally. So I quite deliberately avoided the obvious, at least for three or four novels, and tried to create characters physically very different from me, and do it convincingly. The point being that, beyond our various differences, we are all inherently very similar. For me that was a point I really wanted to communicate, however indirectly.
But the older I get, the more clear it becomes that my disability — or perhaps, more accurately, the way it’s shaped my life — definitely colours my fiction. Even without taking into account my next novel (which is, unusually for me, heavily autobiographical, in places), I think it’s provided me with an ability to see things from a slightly different angle. I still resist being labelled, but now I understand my disability’s value. Granted, I usually find myself writing from the point of view of someone without an obvious physical disability — but you can bet your bottom dollar that he/she will have some kind of “disability”, so long as you define the term as broadly as possible!