We caught up with Chris earlier in the week before the release of his first published short fiction, Bones, to find out his inspiration behind the story. With a narrative firmly set in Manchester, we wanted to know the importance of the city and region in his writing. Chris said 'Place defines a person more than anything, I think, especially when it comes to humour and how an individual uses it to grasp a handle on a situation. If you read Ian Rankin's Rebus novels, George Pelecanos's DC Quartet, or David Peace's Red Riding Quartet, the setting, whether it's Edinburgh, Washington DC, or the East Riding, is ingrained in the characters, and this comes through in their dialogue. I wanted to try and capture the flavour of Manchester through the interaction between George and Dennis in my story.'
Chris is currently studying towards an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University, he reflects, 'The course has been invaluable to honing my writing. The tutors I've had the pleasure of working with, particularly Nicholas Royle, have all given me a huge confidence boost. But for me, the most rewarding aspect has been working alongside the other students. Every story I've workshopped has grown due to the efforts made by students who have taken the time to read over writings or extracts I've submitted, suggesting edits, changes and so forth. "Bones" in its published form came out of one of those sessions.'
It's undeniable, the focus of regionalisation in Chris' writing, we sked him his thoughts on the growth of northern publishers. 'It's good to see publishing moving out of the London-centric circle. A lot of what I write is either based in the north of England or America (I'm a cinema buff with a fondness for Westerns, as well as being a great admirer of Elmore Leonard, all of which has left an indelible impression on my writing), so I don't imagine it would be easy for me to get my stuff published without the likes of Northodox giving northern writers a platform. One of the best novels I've read recently is Ironopolis by Glen James Brown, and it's only thanks to a Sheffield based publisher that it eventually saw the light of day. If it was based in the south of England rather than the North-East it would have had much more exposure, I'm sure.'
If you're interested to read more of Chris' writing, as we are, we've some great news for you, as he says, 'At the moment I'm churning out a lot of short stories and a couple of novellas, most of which are being submitted, rejected and bounced around between various magazines. I'm also working on my first novel, a satire set in Hollywood during the 1980s. It's a revenge story that plays on the conventions of trashy B-movies. It's been a labour of love for the past four years, though I've only started writing it seriously over the last twelve months. It requires a lot of research to get the tone right, so I'm taking my time with it.'
Follow Chris on Instagram @readingroom2020 for all his writerly updates. Or follow us on social media as we sing his praises (and rightfully so).
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