Getting personal with Andrew MacKay
Some authors are afraid to cross the line.
International Best-selling author Andrew Mackay makes it his starting point.
Multi-genre author Mackay is the author of the best-selling Brit satire series In Their Shoes. He is also responsible for keeping people up at night and questioning their sanity with his extreme horror series Pure Dark, and also writes crime (Versus, Let’s Kill Mr Pond) and romance (Simple Machines.)
Self-proclaimed “Antisocial Justice Warrior” Mackay is the founder of Chrome Valley Books – “The Home of Dangerous Fiction”. His works often contain a ruthless and shocking commentary on society, delving into the darker machinations of modern life, but always with a sense of humanity and wit.
His influences include John Cleese, Tom Sharpe, Kurt Vonnegut, James Patterson, Hunter S Thompson, Douglas Adams, Imogen Edwards-Jones, Michael Frayn, Chris Morris, Jerry Sadowitz, Christopher Hitchins, Bill Maher, George Carlin, Milo Yiannopoulos and Larry Cohen.
His obsessions include (and are essentially limited to) unhealthy amounts of: smoking, drugs, alcohol, caffeine, sex, arguing, fighting, vandalism, daydreaming and writing about himself in the third person.
I’ll stop writing about myself in the third person, now, because it’s annoying and pretentious.
Please help me welcome Andrew MacKay to Roadie Notes………
1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
I think I was eleven years old, as that was my first year in high school. Our English teacher gave us some homework. A half-finished story he’d written about a prince fighting a dragon. We had to finish it. I had never really contemplated writing seriously at the time, but I was a movie freak. I thought it could be my first proper attempt at writing something. I ended up filling out the exercise book (as they were back in the early nineties) and included a twist, a sex scene between the hero and a character I introduced, and filled it with gore and action. I loved writing it, exercising my overactive imagination, and it ignited a passion that my readers are continually hassled by to this very day lol
2. How many books have you written?
I’m about to finish my twelfth. It’ll be out just before Christmas. My first book was released October of 2016.
3. Anything you won’t write about?
God, no. I’ve tackled most subjects others daren’t touch. From pedophilia to class warfare and back again. I’ll have tackled every genre I can think of before very long.
4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…
I turned 39 two months ago. I’m married but don’t have children. I hate kids with a passion. Little, scary pre-adults with absolutely no filters. God, they’re annoying. They make fascinating subjects, though. I was a teacher for fifteen years till summer of 2016 and gradually grew to hate the job as much as the kids. There was no way I could continue. During the last year of that job, I spent most of my free time unhappy and wanting to kill myself. I knew I wanted to write, so, it was either kill myself or make a decent attempt at being a writer full-time.
I’m also a traveler, been all over the world. My wife is from South Korea, where I spent quite a bit of my time, now. I’m also a psychopath, which probably won’t come as much of a surprise to my readers or those who know me. It’s way more common than you think, actually. I believe upwards of 90% of everyone on the planet are psychopathic, or at the very least mildly sociopathic. Certainly everyone is out for themselves. A half lifetime of dealing with thousands of people in the teaching profession and filmmaking world teaches you this is true, and fair enough. Then again, this is something a fucking psychopath would say, isn’t it? It certainly makes sex all the more interesting in ways I can’t be bothered going into right now…
5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
The one I’m writing now, Simple Machines, even though it’s not quite finished. It’s a romantic thriller featuring some very interesting characters and dilemmas. My second favourite is probably In Their Shoes: The Dealer (Book VI) which is a mile-a-minute rollercoaster of action, suspense and deranged violence, and very satirical. It’s an epic and wild ride, and I amuse myself thinking about it from time to time.
6. Who or what inspired you to write?
My desire to murder people and cause serious harm to others for real is quelled by my writing. I get to kill fictional characters, rather than real people. I think my writing is my own prison time, really. I love it and can’t live without it. Deep down inside, much like you, probably, I fucking hate the world we live in. It’s full of injustice. Pointless wars. Corrupt governments. Insanely rich people getting even richer. The poor are left to fucking die. I spend a lot of my time laughing at the news, reconciling the fact that the world is indeed a fucked up place. I consider it my civic duty to write about the disastrous state of affairs in my books, almost to the point of trivialization. Because, after all, what’s the fucking point in anything, ever. Right?
7. What do you like to do for fun?
I’ve perfected the art of staring at women’s butts when I’m out shopping and making it look like I’m not doing it. I like plugging my earphones into my head and blasting music into my cranium at full volume whilst smoking myself to an early grave, dreaming up mad-ass scenarios for my books. Music is a big part of my life, because it adds a soundtrack to my fucked up thoughts. Often, they’ll translate as sequences in my books. Life is just one long, huge movie trailer in the world of Andrew Mackay. Sometimes it’s a scene where I dissolve a child molester in a bath of acid. Other times, it’s me in a threesome with another guy where we’re spit-roasting the shit out of an unsuspecting woman. Sometimes, it’s compassion. Slow-moving and heartfelt. Now that I think about it, a lot of my life is dictated by my penis. I’m glad I took part in this interview, it’s been therapeutic so far…
8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
On the last letter of the last word of the last sentence, I usually punch the key and spin around in my chair, like it’s the final blow to my opponent, and I’ve knocked the fucker out once and for all. Let’s say the last word in the sentence is “fuck” – the “K” will get a pounding ten times harder than the last girl I slept with.
9. Where do you write? Quiet or music?
I write at home at my desk, which is also my media centre and where I masturbate. Sometimes I fall asleep on my desk. But my life is basically in the corner of a room on the seventh floor of an apartment block somewhere in Hampshire. It’s my life, really, and definitely as sad as it sounds. It’s not especially healthy, either. I smoke quite a lot, you see. And I drink occasionally. Lots of coffee, too.
I write to music – as I type. It’s often a four-hour YouTube video/mix of some description. There are some great horror ambience tracks for when I write horror. For Simple Machines, I’ve found a chill-out mix thing which features a remix “You’re Not Alone” by Olive, which has sort of become the book’s signature track, quite unintentionally. But it’s a perfect fit for the tone of the book, and would definitely by in the film adaptation.
10. Anything you would change about your writing?
No. Or, rather, yes – everything. Depends on what you mean by the question. Would I change the way I write? Hell, no. It’s what makes me, me. Do I want to evolve and get better? Yes, with every single book, please. I demand honest, no-BS feedback.
11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
I admire a lot of different authors, but I shan’t name any because none of them are as good as I am. That’s not me being arrogant, actually, quite the contrary. I write stories I want to read. I’ve not come across any other author who has written exactly what I want to read, except me. I many ways, I write my books for my own edification. If I want to read it, and like it, the chances are some other people will, too. Like Shakespeare said, “To Thyne Own Self be True”. Never, ever, write a book with the intention of pleasing anyone other than yourself, first and foremost.
12. Where do you live?
Mainly in my black-hole, perma-nightmare brain. Answer you want; Hampshire, UK.
No. I love, love, love cats, though. My wife hates them. I used to have a cat years ago, but he died. I was heartbroken. I’d have another cat in a heartbeat. Maybe six of them. They’re gorgeous little bastards, aren’t they?
14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
The bits in between I have planned. I’ll know what “A” is, and I need to get to “B”, but am relying on my ‘pantsing’ to get me there. It’s where the real genius comes into play, if you trust yourself enough. It’s happened twice this week already with Simple Machines. It’s great.
15. What is coming next for you?
Simple Machines is next. Jan, Feb, March will be a zombie horror trilogy which I think will put me on the map, properly.
16. Where do you get your ideas?
Mrs Doris McWhirter, a charming old woman who lives in a remote Scottish village. She sends me her ideas by post on the first Monday of every month, because she doesn’t know how to use emails. November’s ideas included Convenience and Simple Machines, which I thought were wonderful. December’s included the horror trilogy. I once asked her where she gets her ideas from, and she didn’t have a fucking clue.
You can connect with Andrew MacKay here:
Some of Andrew MacKay’s books: