Gareth Davies takes the chair in Cwtch Corner #Waleswrites
Cwtch Corner: where authors from Wales get to talk about their work, what inspires their writing and their favourite authors and books.
Cwtch Corner moved a few miles or so to Cardiff this month to meet up with Gareth Davies at the launch of his debut novel: humans, being.
The central character is Vic; a middle aged comedian at a turning point in his life. His wife has left him; audiences aren’t finding his jokes as funny as they once did. His attempts to get back into the social scene aren’t exactly going well.
It’s been described as the male equivalent of Bridget Jones’ Diary.
Q. Hi Gareth, my attempt to describe your new novel probably doesn’t do it justice. How would YOU describe it in one sentence ?
“It’s a a book about life, love and growing up – in your forties.”
Q. What made you decide to write humans, being?
“It started as a different idea. I wanted to write a novel called ‘12 Songs’, where the main protagonist unknowingly lived his life according to rules inspired by his 12 favourite songs from the 80s. It wasn’t working, I couldn’t work out the reveal (or the copyright issues for the songs,) but I liked the characters I was creating, Vic and Mia [his best friend]. So, I ran with them rather than the idea and created humans, being, because Vic and Mia were just two humans trying to exist in a confusing world.“
Q. You were raised in Wales and worked/lived in Prague for several years. But now you’re a storyteller performing stories from Wales and China. How have those experiences influenced your writing?
” When I lived in Prague many of my short stories were set in the Wales of my youth. It was as if my writing was keeping me attached to my heritage. Interestingly, now I am living in Cardiff, I am working on a novel set in eastern / central Europe. Maybe it’s a way of not letting go of an important part of my life.
The storytelling I see as a separate part of my creative life. Finding, learning and telling traditional stories that have a meaning and lessons for life is very rewarding, but I haven’t noticed that influencing my writing, yet.
Q. Some authors have a particular routine they follow when they’re writing. John Banville likes to use a fountain pen for his literary fiction and a ball point for his crime fiction. Do you have a routine you like to follow? Or maybe a favourite pen/notebook?
“I don’t really have a routine. I write whenever I get the ideas. I do like writing in various cafes around Cardiff. Much of the early parts of humans being was writing in the Little Man Coffee shop in the centre of Cardiff.
I used to always write straight onto a computer but these days, I’ve found that handwriting first and then typing up is quite useful. I don’t have a favourite pen, but I do like writing using a fountain pen, I feel it flows better on the page..”
Q. Which books have influenced you the most?
“The books that have had the greatest influence on me as a writer are probably those which have a similar style to mine. Things like The Rotter’s Club by Jonathon Coe, Tim Lott’s Rumours of a Hurricane and Matt Haig’s Humans. Humorous looks on life, love and society.”
Q. What book is on your bedside table right now??
“Punch by Kate North. We launched our books together. It’s a really interesting, quirky collection of short stories.“
Teacher, writer, storyteller. Gareth Davies has a varied career which has seen him live in Prague for almost twenty years, teach English as a foreign language and tell stories in countries as far afield as Japan, Croatia and Poland. He moved back to Cardiff in 2015 to do an MA in Creative Writing at Cardiff University. He’s had several short stories published in magazines and has self-published two novels. You can discover more about him via his website.
His novel humans, being was published in April 2019 by Cinnamon Press, an independent publisher based in North Wales. You can buy the book direct from the publishers via this link
5 thoughts on “Gareth Davies takes the chair in Cwtch Corner #Waleswrites”
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I love this interview series you are doing! I recently read an article about pens and how the Bic and other ballpoints killed the fountain pen. I used to love those quasi fountain pens where you put in a cartridge. Can’t find those anymore. I use a Pilot Precise V5 because it is the closest thing I have found that flows like a fountain pen.
Now you have me scared because my fountain pens all use cartridges. I have Waterman brand….. I discovered yesterday that the lovely Pen Store branch where I bought mine has closed.
Interesting interview. I’m enjoying this new feature on the blog, Karen. I’m hearing more and more writers recently say that they write longhand first before moving on to a computer. I wonder if it’s because there’s a closer connection between hand and brain that way or whether it’s to be away from all the distractions a computer brings with it.
Such a good question Kath. I’d suspect its more to do with the way the brain interacts with words on a page rather than on a screen. We know from studies that there is a significant difference in how we read on screen versus on the page. Maybe that’s true for the writing process also. It could also be something to do with the speed at which the words flow – handwriting is much slower so perhaps that forces you to think more about the words?