This week I’ve been chatting to Will Carver (and as you might expect if you have read anything of his, you are in for a slightly terrifying TREAT with these answers!) Will is the bestselling author of the January Series – Girl 4 (2011), The Two (2012), The Killer Inside (2013), Dead Set (2013) – and the critically acclaimed Detective Pace series, which includes Good Samaritans (2018), Nothing Important Happened Today (2019) and Hinton Hollow Death Trip (2020), all of which were selected as books of the year in mainstream international press. The books in this series have also been longlisted/shortlisted for the Amazon Readers Independent Voice Award, Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award, Not The Booker Prize and the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award. Will spent his early years living in Germany, but returned at age eleven. He studied theatre and television at King Alfred’s Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company and lives in Reading with his children.
Take it away, Will…
How many pairs of shoes do you have?
I’ve never been one for shoes. I used to have two pairs. One for comfort and one for smart occasions. But, about five years ago, I did this thing for Reebok and they supplied me with new kit every month for a couple of years. So, every four weeks, I would get new shorts, top and trainers etc. Now I have about 30 pairs of shoes but 15 of those are exactly the same (Reebok Nano 5) but in different colours. So I can wear trainers that match the colour of top I am wearing whenever I work out.
I guy at my old gym said I was ‘the Imelda Marcos of fitness’. That’s already better than 50% of the quotes I have on the front of my books.
What is your most unrealistic ambition?
I’d like to be appreciated in my own time.
Did you like school?
I loved it. I always liked learning. I went to an all-boys school, so I didn’t have the distraction of girls. I could focus on studying and doing as much sport as possible. That was everything to me. I played some kind of sport every day but excelled in athletics and rugby.
I could have played rugby professionally but found I had a much greater love of writing, so dedicated myself to the torment of the blank page and having no money.
How many times have you seen Top Gun?
When I was 13, I went out with a girl a few years older than me – I developed early – and she was obsessed with Top Gun. We must have watched it two or three times a week. I was happy to go along with this because she was teaching me things. We went out for about four months.
So, say 16 weeks, 2.5 times a week, that’s 40 times.
Plus the other times I watched it on my own – another 20.
Probably 60 times. (Though I’ve watched the beach volleyball scene at least double that.)
What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to you?
I’ll give you three stories and you maybe it will help explain why I write the things that I do.
1. One night, when I was a teenager, I woke up very suddenly. I was in pain. For some reason, I had shot out the bottom of my bed and was seemingly thrown into the wall. I whacked my head pretty hard and woke up on the floor.
At the same time, my mother woke up. Yes, there was a large crash as I was flung into the wall that separated our rooms but she had woken up on the floor at the foot of her own bed on the other side of where I lay crumpled. She said that she felt hands on her ankles pulling her slowly out of bed.
2. I was twelve, walking back from my friend’s house at night. He lived about 100m from me but you had to walk through an undergrowth. I was heading home. It was creepy. I looked over my shoulder and saw a man at one end of the trees – I was about halfway through.
I carried on walking. I looked back again and he was running at full pace towards me. I used to be a national-level sprinter and damn, I used that pace to leg it through the rest of the woods and into my house. I didn’t look back once. Absolutely terrifying.
3. I don’t want to go into too much detail on this but it involved me at 9, getting up to go to the toilet, leaving the light off in the bathroom, finishing and turning around to see a man’s silhouette in the doorway, overweight, wearing only union jack boxer shorts and a gas mask. My dad’s idea of a joke and an image that haunts me to this day. I screamed.
What is your most treasured possession?
This is tough because I don’t tend to put too much stock into ‘things’. I have a film collection of about 5000 but that’s kinda useless now in this streaming age. ( I still have 3000 VHS tapes in my mum’s loft because that’s the only place they will fit.)
Then I thought that maybe it was my laptop because it has all my writing and photos on. But that’s all backed up in the cloud, so if I ever lost the thing, I still have my life’s work and pictures of my kids.
So, I guess my most treasured possession is my time. And I try to fill it the best way that I can before it’s all gone.
What’s your secret party piece?
It’s a secret. But if we are ever at a party and you can get hold of a cucumber and some tight, rubber hot pants…
What’s your favourite joke?
Here’s a quick one and a longer one:
SHORT ONE – A man jumps out of a plane. At 20,000ft he pulls the chord for his parachute and it doesn’t open. He pulls the safety chord. Nothing. He plummets. 15,000ft. 12,000ft. At 10,000ft, he passes a plumber.
Panicking. ’My parachute won’t open. Can you help me?’
The plumber responds.
‘Ah, sorry, mate, I only do boilers.’
LONGER ONE – A man walks into a bar and he has an orange for a head.
‘Can I get a pint of Fosters, please?’
The barman returns with the drink.
‘I can’t help but notice that you seem to have an orange for a head.’
‘Well, I was on holiday and found myself in this cave. There was a dusty, old lamp. I rubbed it and a genie popped out and gave me three wishes.’
‘Right. And what was you first wish?’
‘I wished that whenever I put my hands in my pockets, I could pull out wads of cash.’
‘And that happened?’
The man puts his hands in his pockets and pulls them out.
He drops a twenty on the bar to pay for his lager.
‘What was your second wish, then?’
‘I wished that whenever I clicked my fingers, women would come up and talk to me and want to be with me.’
‘Sure.’ He rolls his eyes.
The man clicks his fingers and whoosh, two women either side of him.
‘Bloody hell. That’s crazy. So what was your third wish.’
‘I wished I had an orange for a head.’
Do you worry about swallowing spiders in your sleep?
This sounds like a question that I would be asked by the same people who said, ‘But where will you get your protein from?’ when I first turned vegan.
Who do you love?
My kids. My partner, Kel. My mum. The inventor of hummus. Other family members. A few friends. These are the people I want around me. Well, not the inventor of hummus but certainly their creation.
Then there’s the love I have for David Duchovny and Ben Affleck that I’m not ready to deal with, right now. Throw in a Ryan Reynolds for good measure.
There are fictional characters that I adore: Dale Cooper, Lorelei Gilmore, Mrs Maisel, Liz Lemon, Hank Moody, Fox Mulder. (Mmmmm, Duchovny.) Jack Pearson. Randall Pearson. Kevin Pearson…
Then there’s people whose work I love. Palahniuk, Bukowski, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Zusak, Torday, Allen, Scorsese, Coppola, Fincher, Ozon.
And painters and musicians and thinkers and drinkers.
Wow. I never knew I had so much love in me. Why am I such a miserable piece shit most of the time?
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