Interview with Dave Appleby
Author of Bally and Bro
I'm an ex-teacher living on the south coast of the UK and writing novels.
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Is it a thriller or erotica or what?
- Since it is set in the world of inline pornography there is inevitably some strong sexual content. There are elements of thriller, too. But the focus of the book is on the relationship between the two main characters, narrator Bally and his 'bestie' Bro. Readers have told me that by the end of the book they are really rooting for Bally, one reviewer said he was "shouting at the page". That made me proud.
What was your inspiration for this book?
- It started as an alternative Christmas short story for my writing group and as soon as I started writing it I knew I had two fully-formed characters.
Which authors do you admire? How have they influenced your writing style?
- I love writers who are a bit experimental, like J G Ballard and William Burroughs and Jorge Luis Borges and (just to prove they don't all have surnames beginning with B) Brett Easton Ellis.
Can you tell us a little about the locations in your book?
- I live in the inner city and Bally has been born and bred there so he basically doesn't know anything else. It's surprising how much of our language is still based around a pastoral life style (needle in a haystack, aftermath, old as the trees etc).
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- Read widely, in genre and out of it. And keep writing everyday. Don't wait to be inspired.
Could you talk a little about your writing process?
- I write and then I rewrite obsessively.
Which character has had the greatest impact on readers?
- Everyone loves Bally but, for my money, Bro is the more interesting character. He's very complex and full of motivations that even he doesn't quite understand. I had to ask myself: would Bro really do what he does? And yes, he would, but the answer(s) to that question revealed to me depths in Bro that I hadn't at first appreciated.
If the book were to be adapted for TV or film, who would you see in the lead role? Who did you have in your mind’s eye ?
- I deliberately minimised physical descriptions so that any young, slender male could play Bally. But I hope he has a body double!
How have readers responded ?
- Exactly as I hoped they would. At the end they are really invested in Bally's fate.
Where next? What are you working on now?
- A picaresque fantasy (but without any magic) novel set in a world resembling Spain in 1590.
Young wannabe artist Bally is beautiful but broke so his 'best friend' Bro comes up with a plan to make money from Bally's body. Bally is drawn into the world of internet pornography. Can he escape?
This is a coming of age novel about exploitation and love and tangled lusts, set in the world of online pornography. It confronts the reader with unsettling themes of abuse of power and trust.
From a five-star review: "a small circle of characters weave together in a carefully plotted story ... The handling of this subject matter is thought-provoking and inevitably dark. Characters and scenes are brought to life with imaginative word pictures which are frequently visceral, inventive and graphic. ... Its stylistic formatting and staccato writing ... reflect the edgy world that the author, Dave Appleby, creates. In particular, the use of slang and sensory descriptions adds a unique and fresh style to the book. For those seeking to explore the voices of indie authors, this book comes recommended."
Inevitably, given the subject matter, there are explicit scenes of sex throughout the book.
From a 10/10 review: "Modern, contemporary, not a single word is wasted. This is a very British, funny, and often hilarious read with characters that are guaranteed to have you shaking your head in frustration and shouting at the page in anger."