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BookLore Interview
Christian Cook

1. They say that an author's first novel is largely autobiographical. Which parts of Broken Eggshells would you attribute to your own experiences?

As O J Simpson's lawyer isn't available, and I could probably only afford legal advice from Homer Simpson anyway, I'll have to answer this very carefully on my own. I have to admit that I heavily plagiarised vast moments of my life in creating 'Broken Eggshells' ­ the entire scene where Geoff is at Victoria station actually happened to me, almost word for word. I have the (mis)fortune of continually bumping into people who are much safer being placed in a novel than being left to roam the streets. A strange old woman recently insisted on sitting down next to me and explaining in great detail that the freakish weather we get nowadays is all Neil Armstrong's fault. When they got to the moon they apparently knocked the weather off its course, which was a tad clumsy of them I think. This all happened at a train station (the conversation, not the Apollo moon landings.) Maybe it's time I got that car.

2. How long did Broken Eggshells take to write?

About six months of long weekends and evenings. Some of the final evenings seemed to be longer than the weekends.

3. Did you always want to write a novel?

Yes, but I never wanted to spell check one.

4. Are you planning any further novels?

I have a dozen or so collections of further ramblings that are either on disk or somewhere in my head. Hopefully some of them will be spilling onto paper very soon watch this space (Obviously not this exact space here. If we put my next novel here it would take people far too long to get to question 5)

Now the deep and meaningful bits:

5. What is your favourite food?

Calamari ­ but how they make those bland rings of blubber taste so great is an eternal mystery.

6. What is your favourite novel?

Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov. Probably the most complete and satisfying novel I have ever read. 4 dimensional characters, quirky but without being pretentious, an engaging plot that carries you from one page to the next and a superb ending. Very dark, very funny and very recommended.

7. Desert Island Disk stylie - name 3 things you couldn't do without.

My wife, my Bible and my Mac.

8. Do you play online games?

Not yet, I have always wanted to though. Wait there a second… Well, that was interesting. I have just had a 3-player game of 'Age of Empires' on the Mac, though I have a sneaking suspicion that my opponents were in fact one person with two computers and a Napoleon complex. I have a feeling he/she was sitting at home dressed like an extra from 'Asterix the Gaul' and yelling tribal things at the screen as we battled. A great person to meet online, anywhere else run!!!

9. Would fame change you?

I've always thought of myself as being famous, I just haven't got round to telling everyone yet.

10. Do you play the Lottery?

No, but it seems everyone ahead of me in the queue at Woolworths does.

11. What is your favourite colour?

I don't really have a favourite colour. That bright pink that some people dye their hair has always fascinated me. They must have looked in the mirror one day and suddenly thought, "I would look so much better if my hair was bright pink." Is there only one bright pink available or do you have to sift through a load of Dulux colour charts to find a particular bright pink that suits your skin tones?

12. Did you put the fairy liquid in the city centre fountains last Christmas?

No, but I will next year. Thanks for the tip. I did once gut a packet of party poppers and refill them with jelly. The tops go back on very nicely and you achieve a great re-enactment of that scene in Bugsy Malone.

13. What is your favourite programming language?

I know my strengths and I know my opportunities to interact with others (alright, weaknesses). Programming isn't a great strength of mine so I'd have to answer that my favourite programming language is plain English. Usually following the routine:
On (begin need of programming)
Set SHOUT="Alex, do me some programming please mate."
If Alex=Doing programming
repeat while Alex=not Doing programming
set SHOUT="Alex, please please, please could you do some programming for me and maybe a database?"

14. What was your reaction at buying your first unsubsidised pint after leaving University?

Hang on mate, I gave you a tenner. Oh, you know that… so it isn't a pound a pint at this bar then?

15. What advice would you give a fresher when attending the Freshers Ball?

Relax, be yourself and enjoy it while it lasts (see question 14).

16. Do you believe in capital punishment?

No, you can't blame London for everything.

17. Is there a God?

The world is far too quirky for it not to have been authored by someone and as a designer I recognise a design when I see one. The great thing about the web is that it enables readers with questions about a novel to put them directly to its author. The great thing about the Christian faith is that it enables me to put my questions about life directly to its author. I do have a lot of questions about life, most of which revolve around people with pink hair.

18. What would be your ideal job?

Being paid loads of money to sit answering questions like this all day.

19. What did the slug say to the snail?

Big Issue mate?

20. Does the future of mankind depend on global unity and the sharing of resources to allow the colonisation of the stars or cheaper beer?

I think that both would achieve exactly the same result - cheaper beer would be much quicker though and wouldn't involve sticking the American flag anywhere unless you'd drunk an awful lot of very cheap beer.

To finish this exhaustive list of questions and complete your detailed psychological profile please confirm your favourite Spice Girl.

On a purely shallow looks basis, it would have to be Posh. On an overall personality and everything else basis, Ginger Geri. When they were first named everyone else was labelled according to their personality but she just got categorised by hair colour. But since then, Geri has gone on to do far more than the other 4 combined. The fact she is ambassador for weight loss at the UN (or something) is brilliant - it just confirms everything I hoped and feared about the people that oversee the planet (I do believe that we will one day have a huge sinister one world government, however the current conspirators have caused at least a hundred year set back in the plans - keep up the good work lads).

by Chrissi and Nigel - 19th July 2001

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