I really do get these questions a LOT of the time, both on-line and off.
- I can’t tell your gender from photos, and I clearly didn’t bother to read what you ticked off on The Mod Generation, New Untouchables, or whatever other forum. Are you a man or a woman?
- You’re not very Mod, are you?
- Wait, didn’t you used to be a….?
- Are you really pagan?
- Are you Amerikan or British? You say a lot of confusing things about this, and sometimes your accent changes.
- Will you do a certain badge design for me?
- When are you finishing your next book?
- I can totally tell this character is you, but who inspired the rest?
- Is it at all possible to buy your books on Amazon?
- You’re rather poufy to be a Mod, aren’t you?
I can’t tell your gender from photos, and I clearly didn’t bother to read what you ticked off on The Mod Generation, New Untouchables, or whatever other forum. Are you a man or a woman?
I’m a boy of history, I assure you. If you’re still unconvinced, I invite you to play rub-up on the dance floor with me sometime.
You’re not very Mod, are you?
I’m “not very” many things. Mod is not my religion that I’m slavishly devoted to. It’s a subculture predominantly united through aesthetics and music, but is also varyingly associated with philosophy, an art movement, and a literary movement, though these latter three need not be embraced by every Mod expecting to be taken seriously at the clubs or on the Internet, there is also a loose association with Mod and the growing retrofuturist movements due in part to the subculture’s unshakable associations with “1960s nostalgia” in spite of the fact that not everything associated with the 1960s is necessarily Mod, nor is everything about the Mod subculture necessarily associated with the 1960s.
Considering this, I’m a huge fan of the Mod aesthetic and of the music in my slsk sharefolder, the biggest sub-folder is actually the one marked “Mod & Skinhead” with several sub-folders by genre. I also clearly know enough to hold my own in any conversation about the broad history of the subculture, and if I look different, it’s clearly because I want to, not because I’m unaware of “the rules”. If you want me to cite examples to justify some of my choices in dress, I absolutely can and will.
Wait, didn’t you used to be a….?
Ah now, that’d be telling.
I did a lot of things in my past. I’m sure you did, too. On the other hand, the only “Living In the Past” I want any part of is the Jethro Tull song as covered by Billie Davis. If you’re truly the gentleman or lady that you fancy yourself as being, you’ll leave it at that.
Are you really pagan?
Yes. I prefer Hellenic polytheist, though, but the word “pagan” is occasionally useful.
Are you Amerikan or British? You say a lot of confusing things about this, and sometimes your accent changes.
If you’re confused, I’d suggest that it’s either cos you aren’t paying attention or cos you lack the comprehensive reading skills to flesh out the story for yourself.
In short: I’m Amerikan by current state of citizenship, and I’m British by fortune of background and cultural rearing. My parents were both about forty by the time I was born, and I have one older half-sister from each parent (my mother’s daughter being fourteen years my senior, my father’s daughter being seven years my senior). My father’s side was Ultach and English (both of his parents died before I was three years old), and my mother’s parents, who were the people that primarily raised me until the age of ten, were a Cockney grandmother and a Cornish grandfather. As an adolescent, I spent summers in London with my eldest sister and my brother-in-law. That’s where and when I learned to change my accent as a basic means of “surviving” socially —it’s a known fact that adults treat teens like they’re morons, and it’s a generally accepted fact that British will treat Amerikans like they’re morons (few exceptions to either), and no, it really doesn’t matter if it can be empirically proved that the U$-born teen really is smarter than everybody around them. As a result of six years of quickly assimilating back into my British accent at the drop of a pin, it comes and goes on occasion, though most commonly it comes in either when I’m either watching UK television or talking to people who have any non-U$ or Canadian accent. Some days, I really have no clue what my natural accent is or is supposed to be, and I have to think about how my “Amerikan voice” sounds before speaking.
I generally identify as a misplaced Brit too impoverished to go home, and I qualify for a UK ancestry visa (which requires UK-born grandparents) from both sides of my family.
Will you do a certain badge design for me?
If you’re interested in bulk custom orders: I have carpal tunnel syndrome and prefer to make new badges only once or twice a year for the purposes of weekenders and other events. It’s just very painful and after a rather humiliating incident when I took an offer I really should have known it was best not to, I don’t do custom badges for the general public anymore, especially not bulk orders. If this should ever change, I’ll update my Etsy page to reflect this before I come and update here. If you’re on Etsy, add me to your Circle and check back periodically for updates about that.
If you’re interested in a single badge I might add to my stock: I only make badges using images I find, or for musicians/bands I actually listen to. There are some things I simply will not do, ever, because I simply don’t like the band. DO NOT request I add designs for the following bands to my stock: The Beatles (especially not McCartney solo), Interpol, The Inmates.
When are you finishing your next book?
Contrary to popular belief, creativity cannot be forced, and the most creative people aren’t those who simply force themselves to be a little creative each day. Creative people are predominantly daydreamers who simply know when to act on it.
Of course, I’m an extrovert who’s easily distracted by shiny things and has Adult-type ADHD, so I don’t always take the best opportunities to act on my daydreaming, and some of those daydreams haven’t anything to do with the planned stories listed in the sidebar. My first novel took six years to finish and was completely re-written about three years in; of course, there were a lot of reasons for this, including periodic homelessness. New Dance took about two-and-a-half years to complete during a relatively low-stress period.
As of now, mid-2012, I have hopes to finish Let Your Heart Dance by the end of 2012, and hope to finish Peacocks & Fairies by the end of 2013; I am working on both simultaneously, and they are both part of The Mod Stories. I have also started on a fifth instalment in that series, with title TBA. These hopes may or may not work out as I’d like —I hoped to finish Simple Man within a year after I started the re-write and New Dance was originally a NaNoWriMo attempt —and we see how well that turned out.
I can totally tell this character is you, but who inspired the rest?
Actually, 9/10 times, minimum, when some-one tells me they “can tell” who inspired a character of mine, they’re wrong —except where it’s obvious, like the occasional “real live fictional characters” that creep into my books. There’s also a little bit of myself in all my primary characters, and I think this is true for most authors, but here’s a run-down of some of the people who inspired some of my characters:
Gary “Gaz” Donaghue —This is my single most misunderstood character, and all from people who don’t actually know me. I based his physical appearance on everything I hated about my own appearance at the time I wrote most about him. Keep in mind, I wrote most about him when I was very early transitioning and trying to “look normal” under some misguided assumption that “Passing! IS! LIFE!! If you don’t look like a carbon-copy of every other trannyboy on the planet, no-one will ever take you for the gender you want to present as!” I wasn’t very happy with how I looked during that couple of years, and it shows in how I developed his character: He’s kind of a composite of every trans man I’ve ever fought with on-line and in person, with a few notable exceptions (like he was never a lesbian and he actually has been brutally assaulted for being TS), and he’s one of the few characters I’ve written who I can safely say I’d probably never get along with, if he were a real person.
Henri “Nino” Mitropoulos —his appearance I based mainly on Cat Stevens at age seventeen, when “Matthew & Son” was released, and his family background is loosely inspired by the same artist, to a point. I’m not sure where I got the notion that he comes from a long line of tailors, but I think it worked. His father was loosely based on several people, and his mother is loosely based on US actress of the 1930s, Constance Bennett. His personal history of inescapable nicknames comes from my own similar history of inescapable nicknames, and the mention of his “ugly duckling” childhood is a vague reference to my own identification with the book as a child, and the reference in New Dance to his decade-long battle with body acne is taken straight from my own life. His own bisexuality is a complete inversion of my humanoid meat-based house-mate’s, and I think his personality is how I’d've turned out if I were more introverted and quiet. His current development through the next two books (Let Your Heart Dance and Peacocks & Fairies) is more analogous to my own than any other character except perhaps Jace.
Jason “Jace” Hanvey —obviously, his appearance is based on James Dean, but I consider his primary development in New Dance to be very analogous to my own. He “came out” as gay at the same age I started transitioning. He attempted to bury his own feelings with alcoholism and recreational drugs, I attempted the same with careless promiscuity and blatant obnoxiousness. He’s socially awkward in spite of airs of coolness. That quote from his school (mentioned in New Dance) was taken verbatim from my own high school guidance counsellor about myself. His relationship with his parents is non-existent except when it’s emotionally abusive, and the only member of his family he really gets on that well with is his eldest sister and a nephew who’s actually older than him by about a year -and that situation was based loosely on a similar occurrence in my own family, and the relationship with Jace can be analogous to my relationship with my eldest half-sister and my brother-in-law. Like Jace, my parents were also about forty when I was born. His surviving parent is obscenely religious to the point it makes her hate the child she once believed was the most precious.
Alice Reagan —Her appearance is based mainly on Audrey Hepburn, but her personality is based mainly on a cross between Gitane DeMone (dark cabaret singer) and Stephanie Mata (a fixture in the Los Angeles deathrock scene). Her background and “goals” come in part from myself and several of my friends in relatively equal measure.
Owain Shaunnessey —My inspiration for him is kind of all over the place, including Stephen Fry, Dave Bats (who runs the monthly deathrock party in Long Beach, CA, with his wife Jenn), my humanoid meat-based house-mate…. He’s probably the only character I consider more “mix-n-match” of about a dozen or so people than Gaz.
Colin Gow (first appearance in Let Your Heart Dance) —…is my revision of Pete from The Leather Boys and Kevin from Quadrophenia. I believe it is not-coincidental that those two characters in their respective films look an awful lot alike.
Margaid “Paaie” Quirk (first appearance in Peacocks & Fairies) —In some ways, I like to think of her as the girl I could never be; she’s the girl several people seemed to expect of me, and the girl I briefly tried desperately to be. Since I couldn’t be her, I created her so that the world could have her. Her appearance is influenced partly by early-1980s Toyah Wilcox, Kate Peirson and Cindy Wilson from The B-52s, Tracey Ullman, Amy Winehouse, and Sandie Shaw. In personality, she’s quieter than I am, louder than Nino, and I made her a little more cynical and slightly more political than the other characters (which is saying something, as these characters are rather apolitical and tend to be more philosophical). Like my own family, hers is dirt-poor, though for different reasons (though the family history of cancer is referencing my own family’s history of cancer). Her talents for hair are based in part on my own, and her talents for the clarinet family are based loosely on those of my friend Mauraway. I named her purely for the word-play and allusions to myself: Her preferred diminutive of her name, “Paaie”, is unpronounceable to anybody who doesn’t speak Manx, and her surname, taken from an early 20th Century list of common surnames on the Isle of Man, has an English definition of “peculiarity”, making it somewhat synonymous with “oddity”. Like myself, she also got into the Mod scene through her fondness of New Wave, No Wave, and Art Rock but instead of how I “came back around”, she basically came to it for the first time.
Is it at all possible to buy your books on Amazon?
Yep! I don’t link directly to Amazon because buying my book from the links in the sidebar gives me nearly double the royalty payment, which will mean that I’ll have more money to pay my bills, feed my cats, buy amazing records, clothes, etc…, and after that’s all done, keep the steady supply of marvodaphne coming so that I can keep writing.
If you still really want to get the books on Amazon after I already gave you a good reason not to (after all, you may only be able to buy via Amazon in your country), just type my name into the Amazon search box, or copy-and-paste the ISBN and, voilà! Books! After you read them, be sure and tell your friends or post a review to your blog.
You’re rather poufy to be a Mod, aren’t you?
Nope, and if you knew as much about the subculture as you think you do, you’d know that queer sexuality and alternative gender expression has always been a fairly common thing amongst Mods.