Risingshadow has had the honour of interviewing James Walley.
About James Walley:
Hailing from the mystical isle of Great Britain, James Walley is an author who prefers his reality banana shaped.
His debut novel, The Forty First Wink, released through Ragnarok Publications in 2014 scuttles gleefully into this bracket, with a blend of humour, fantasy and the unusual.
A clutch of follow up work, both short and long (including books two and three in the Wink trilogy) are in the offing, and have a similar demented flavour.
When not writing, James is partial to a spot of singing, the odd horror movie or ten, and is a circus trained juggler.
Click here to visit his Twitter page.
About The Fathom Flies Again:
It's time to wake up and smell the carnage. Just as every night gives way to dawn, all dreams yield to the break of day. For Marty, that's kind of a problem. When you've fought killer clowns, sailed the seven skies, and generally laid waste to your own dreamspace, real life can be kind of a drag. At least, until your nightmares crawl through the cracks and shadows, and take a liking to your town. When the jesters come a knocking, it's time to man up. When the unmentionables under your bed come a biting, it's time to grab your trusty, pint-sized pirate compadre and lead a charge against the night terrors. What does this mean for Marty? It means the crew of The Flying Fathom are back, surfing on rainbows, swashing their buckles, and saving the world, one sleepy little town at a time. Book one of this series, The Forty First Wink, brought you a glimpse of utter, rum-swilling madness. Now The Fathom Flies Again, pushing you over the edge and chuckling at your plummeting screams, before scuttling off to find something shiny to steal. Remember, if you hear something under your bed, don't move. Don't make a sound. Draw your cutlass and think of something devilishly witty to shout, because things, my friend, are about to get all too real.
GUEST POST BY JAMES WALLEY
God loves a trier, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t? It’s not hard to work out why we love our heroes flawed. For a start, that’s where all the interesting stuff comes from – Adversity, obstacles, character depth. If your hero is faultless, what does he have to overcome? Who could possibly oppose him? OK, so I’ve just totally debunked Superman, but you see where I’m going with this, right?
We love the other guy, because he is us. If we were dropped into a situation requiring a cool head, meticulous planning, and a comprehensive knowledge of firearms, how many of us would be striding purposefully towards the camera whilst an explosion detonated cheerfully behind us? That’s right. Most of you would be with me, still fiddling around with the blue wire as the timer beeped down to zero, leaving us with the tried and trusted “run away, shrieking” option. It’s not dignified, but you live to fiddle around with the blue wire another day.
Since I spend most of my time writing about the triers, I thought I would compile a short list of the ones that have resonated with me, in their own inimitably limited ways.
1. Tim Bisley (Spaced) – Not one that many people, especially in the States will be familiar with, but this legend of British comedy comes with a hidden pedigree. The show came some years before Shaun of the Dead, but its chief protagonist would eventually become the cricket bat wielding dispatcher of zombies we’ve all come to know and love. I place him at number one on my list because he was the inspiration behind The Forty First Wink’s Marty. He may dream big, but he lives small, and to me, that’s his appeal. Tim is me growing up, head so full of video games, pop culture and dubious substances that whatever goes on in real life is at best a distraction, and at worst a chore. What I love most about Tim, and his later incarnation Shaun, is that they don’t even realise they’re the stars of their own show. They’re just looking to get by. Whether they’re suddenly up against an undead horde, or just trying to get home from the pub. Not all heroes wear capes.
2. Arthur Dent (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) – From my all time favourite novel, a hero who really doesn’t want to be one. He barely even classes as a hero, he’s just sort of…there. Everything going to pot (of petunias) around him, and all he wants is a nice cup of tea and for the universe to start making sense. This is quintessentially British to me, and no amount of infinite improbability, Vogon poetry or Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters are going to sway Arthur from the startling realisation that the universe is loud, aggressive and unpleasant, and he’d quite like to just go home please. His unwillingness to accept that he is the hero of this particular story is what makes him so compelling and relatable to me.
3. Jack Burton (Big Trouble in Little China) – Ah Jack. When the earth’s quaking, the poison arrows are falling, and the pillars of heaven are shaking, what are you doing? Probably trying to reload your gun while your “sidekick” does all the dirty work. Jack believes he is the John Wayne, the Clint Eastwood, the Arnie (I maintain that nobody knows how to spell his last name properly. Hell of a score in Scrabble, though). And that’s what makes him awesome. He is, for all intents and purposes, the sidekick that thinks he’s the hero. Wang Chi does all the ass kicking, but ole Jack, well, he’s the star, because he believes he is. I suppose he does kill the bad guy at the end, and he sort of gets the girl, but he does so in such implausible circumstances that he earns his place in my unlikely heroes gallery.
4. Neville Longbottom (Harry Potter and the etcetera etcetera) – Let’s all have a good old laugh at Neville eh? He’s a fool, the butt of all the jokes, the class buffoon. And yet, he actually saves the day by opening up a can of slicey whupp ass on Nagini (oops, spoilers). Something inside me knew that Neville would eventually come good, maybe that same thing was just hoping he would, because that’s how I would want to see it played out. Throughout the entire series, the awkward bumbler got everything wrong. He didn’t believe in himself, and he made everybody chuckle with his affable idiocy. And then he popped up to save the day, because loveable idiots can do that, and you know what? It’s awesome when they do.
And so ends my short list of noble ‘hit and hopers’. An oblivious dreamer, an unwilling participant, a gung ho loose cannon and an oaf come good. I’m sure you can see why I wanted this type of character to champion my stories. Six pack laden protagonists, with their own theme music, and infinite ammo are all well and good, but when you want someone to root for, who better than someone who will act like you would when the chips are down. Who triumphs, not despite their obvious shortcomings, but because of them. They’re the interesting ones, even if they would prefer not to be. They don’t make plans, they just make stuff up on the fly, and their eventual victories are so much more satisfying for it.