Ryan Pollard was born in Manchester, UK. He grew up in the South Bronx of New York City and would spend his summers in England. He has both AFA Theatre and AFA Arts and Sciences degrees. Pollard is attending the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts.
Ryan celebrates his gritty and volatile first novel – To Dream of Foreign Nightmares (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003WUY48Y), available now on the Amazon Kindle at $0.99.
1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
The night hours have been my thing. Midnight, early morning hours. Things are more clear in those hours for some reason and I get into a more atmospheric state of mind. Turn on the laptop, knock back a few cans of Stella and do the business. I'll admit to taking breaks and playing a little bit of Football Manager. Nobody bothers me on week nights because everyone is asleep.
2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
It depends. If I have my computer on in front of me, I'll start with the computer. Sometimes I'm sitting in bed or can't be bothered to turn that thing on, so I go to my secret notebook. Once I finish unlocking the vault, I write whatever idea I have that so desperately needed to be put down. Then I throw it back in my vault, change the password, and command a fleet of henchman to whisk it off to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean so nobody can ever steal it... Unless they're ambitious. Fair play to them.
3: What do you draw inspiration from?
English culture. I love the music, humour, mentality, and the way of life. Even in America, I still find my ways to live it. I read The Sun every day and laugh at the sensationalism and puns, talk with my friends in England on MSN, and wake up at stupid o'clock in the morning to watch football. I'm a huge football supporter and the culture around that is what I know the best. Beyond all that, I'm largely influenced by music because I always have it on at my place or when I go for a walk.
I'm a sucker for the 90's Britpop era because I grew up during all of it. Bands like Oasis, Blur, and Pulp in everyone's ears at a time when New Labour won in a landslide and London was the greatest place on Earth. It's sad to see how we went from this period of great pride to what's happening now.
The Pogues speak to the Irish half of my genetics. I told a mate recently that real men don't cry – they eat raw meat, drink whiskey, listen to The Pogues and get in fights with strangers.
4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?
Nah, I'm not one for that. I'm only concerned about quality. It doesn't matter how many words there are if it's all sh**. My only goal when I sit down is to keep writing until I've run out of interesting dialogue and storytelling for that moment. I don't want to be boring, that's all my goal is. I don't want someone to look at a sentence and think, “Who bloody gives a sh**?”
5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?
I'm self-published. I wasn't going to waste my time trying to pitch a book about lads tearing it up and say, “Hey, I know don't know anything about British youth but please publish me?” The good news is that I at least earned some spare change to go buy a candy bar.
As for my cover art, I'm skint. I don't have the means to go out and get someone to do it unless they can do it for free. For my first book that I just released, some bloke on the Kindle Boards website named Jason has been helping me come out with a cover for To Dream of Foreign Nightmares. Right now it looks like he did it out of the goodness of his heart, but I'm waiting for him to tell me I owe him something. That's how it works on the street anyway. Let's just say I hid the money under the mattress...
Seriously though, he made two great covers and I had to pick one. I think I made the right choice. He deserves an applause for helping me out.
6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?
I had written stories since I was twelve. By the time I got around high school, the idea of going out and doing it became a reality. My creative writing teacher, Mr. Fish, I'll never forget him. He was the first person who ever believed in me and encouraged me to make a serious go. Something in his eye made me stand out amongst all the neo-hippies and middle class white kids trying to make everyone think they had a hard life. He became more critical on me as the semester went by but I knew why he did it. He was the only teacher who understood that I don't do rough drafts. I nail it the first time and get on with life.
A few years later and it's not as cool as I thought it would be. No buses of naked ladies or trashing of hotel rooms. Instead, it's all about looking for real jobs in the classifieds and trashing my apartment in the Twin Cities metro area.
7: Do you own an ebook reading device?
My mum owns a Kindle. I don't know what version it is but she has one. It was her who told me I could self-publish my stories on it.
I really wanted to see a piece of literary technology take off like this. I wish I patented and made it myself because I could have sworn I thought of this years ago.
8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?
The last book I read was London's Burning by Dave Thompson. It details the London punk rock movement of the 70's and has given me ideas for a story. I also want to give a mention to Tom Clare and his book Forever a Babe. His passion for Manchester United glows off the pages and it was a book done for all the right reasons.
9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?
If I had the production values to come up with a decent video, it's going to be for something much more cool. Like skateboarding out of my apartment window in my underwear. Or a funny sketch with any of my mates. A book trailer? You know who my friends are? They would take the p*ss out of me.
10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?
To Dream of Foreign Nightmares... Markie Bristow is a lad in Manchester who loves the city. It's not all sunshine however, and because of the way his life has gone, he feels compelled to think big on his music aspirations and get out. Him and his new friend Devon don't have a definitive sound, they just wanted to get out, and it shows in their awkward live performances when they get there. After awhile in New York, Markie's American dream becomes a nightmare.
11: What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I'm working on a play that I've written and want to get it into book form. It's called Sitting Here In Silence and it's about a gambler/writer, his romance interests and brothers. He's not romantically involved with his brothers, they're different issues. Another piece takes place in 1970's London and it's built around an Irish-by-blood gangster from Glasgow. There's two other projects but I'm not comfortable saying anything in public about either at this moment.
I continue to work on a poetry project, but I want to do it right. I don't want it to just be a collection of poems because I feel that would be a cop-out. I want to do something different and incorporate them into some general story or theme. Trust me though, these poems are the dog's bollocks.