Interview: Guy Portman

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Guy Portman author photo
Guy Portman is a British author. Born in London, he grew up in a world filled with Cold War propaganda. He would later go on to work in academic research and the sports industry, before turning his hand to authorship. His first novel, Charles Middleworth, was released in 2012.

His second novel, Necropolis – the darkly humorous story about a sociopathic council worker named Dyson – was published in April 2014.

You can read my review here: Necropolis by Guy Portman

Dyson is a sociopath very much in the mould of Patrick Bateman – as has already been noted in reviews – did you have any other literary reference points when writing the character?

I was definitely influenced by Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me though Dyson is a rather different sociopath to Lou.

What’s it like to write from the perspective of a sociopath?

It came naturally. Perhaps I shouldn’t be admitting that.

Dyson works in the Burials and Cemeteries department of the local council. You write about the ‘Death Business’ very convincingly – did you spend a lot of time researching the book, or do you have any experience comparable to Dyson’s?

I did do a lot of research into the ‘death business’. I also worked in the public sector albeit briefly, which gave me an appreciation of the culture.

For fans of transgressive fiction, there are a lot of subtle nods to other books in the genre – how do you think Necropolis sits within the overall genre? (Outside of it, looking in with a smirk, or as part of it?)

Dyson would appreciate the idea of being outside looking in with a smirk. For me personally I believe Necropolis is a bit of both. It is a worthy addition to the genre, but the sardonic element separates it from other books in the transgressive genre, at least the ones I have come across to date.

Necropolis seems to be a mix of transgressive fiction and straight action - were you conscious of writing for a diverse audience when putting the book together?

Yes I was. It was always my plan that Necropolis would be a work of transgressive fiction with a fast moving, action filled plot. To date it has certainly appealed to a diverse audience, including some readers who are not familiar with the transgressive genre.

This is your second book, both of which you have self-published. How have you found being an independent author?

I am finding it very rewarding. When my first book, Charles Middleworth, was published I didn’t know much about the whole publishing process, but I am now beginning to build up a readership and reap the rewards available to independent authors.

What advice would you give to independent authors just starting out?

Perseverance is the key in my opinion. You can’t expect to become an overnight sensation. It takes time and quite a few books before you are likely to get noticed.

What do you hope your books deliver for readers?

Enjoyment, satisfaction and an escape from reality.

Which authors, if any, do you compare yourself to, or aspire to emulate?

Not sure if I would compare myself to other authors. I am a big fan of Bret Easton-Ellis, well his earlier work anyway. If I was able to emulate in even a small way the writing abilities of John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway or Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn then I would be very happy.

What aspects of writing do you find most challenging?

Starting a novel is the most challenging aspect for me. Once the novel is underway it gains momentum - Necropolis took just under a year to write.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on a short novel/novella. It will be published early next summer.

What are your long term writing ambitions?

To publish a book, be it a novel, novella or book of short stories every year for the next ten years.

What, if anything, would you change about writing and publication of Necropolis?

Nothing. That is how I feel at the moment anyway. No doubt in 5 or 6 books time I will look back with the benefit of hindsight and think I should have done x or y.

Favourite word, and why?

Necropolis (cemetery/burial ground)

If you'd like to find out more about Guy and his writing, visit his personal website at www.guyportman.com. Necropolis is available now, in both paperback and e-formats.

Useful Links
Necropolis on Amazon (UK)
Necropolis on Amazon (US)
Guy Portman's Author Website
Guy Portman on Twitter

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Review: Necropolis by Guy Portman
Necropolis (2014) by Guy Portman is an unusual novel: a hybrid of both transgressive and thriller fiction. Dyson Devereux is the head of burials and cemeteries for Newton Borough council in a London suburb. He is also a sociopath ... [Read More]

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