Stuart Keane is an up and coming indie author who's current Novella The Customer is Always... is currently available on Kindle for £0.79/$0.99. If you haven't already picked yourself up a copy then you're missing out on a great fast paced page turner.
I had a chance to sit down with Stuart and ask him a few questions.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I believe there's inspiration in everything. The walk to work everyday. A great cup of coffee. The moments when you forget about the bad stuff, the crazy shit that can bring you down and ruin your day. I'm quite a cynic at heart so I always see the negative side to anything. This is a great way to view things (despite belief to the contrary) because when I do have a moment of happiness and inspiration, it comes in three ways and that's when I can write something down and come back to it later. Several ideas have been born from this.
The Customer Is Always... came about from that very method. My current day job is in a call centre and the mundane, boring routine of the day is enough to drive you insane. I was thinking about this during a particularly aggressive call, when the customer was ranting and raving - heaven forbid he hadn't paid his insurance premium on time and of course we're to blame for it - and I was like "This guy wants blood." Boom! There it was. A great idea that started to develop. The interest for me is how Vincent, my main character, would handle such a call, one more aggressive, one where the enemy is calling the shots and actual, not metaphorical, lives are at stake. It unravelled from there...
Tell me a bit about your debut novella and how it came to be. It's selling quite well.
The Customer Is Always... is a very character driven thriller. Vincent, a ordinary guy stuck in an impossible situation, is someone anyone can relate to. 90% of the people I know work with customers everyday and all it takes is that one person with an attitude to ruin your day. The customer is always right...yeah right. Yes, there is some merit to this but it's total bullshit, a slogan imagined by some overpaid suit in a plush office to maximise revenue and bend over backwards for the person paying their salary ... who's never faced a customer in his life. Corporate politics is one thing that rubs me the wrong way and that's when I decided to make the bad guy sympathetic and the good guys very corporate, hiding behind their rules and laws because they know they're in the wrong. One particularly reviewer picked up on this and I was so happy she realised what I was going for. I think anyone who's been stiffed by a huge company - and let's face it, many have - will read this and know exactly how Vincent/Mr Pierce feels. It's this moral ambiguity that is the core of the novella.
Random question, righty or lefty?
Righty...but when typing I suppose I'm ambidextrous. Imagine writing a novel with one hand? That would deserve an award.
What's next for you?
My first full length novel, All or Nothing, is due this month. A date is yet to be decided as I am currently in contact with some potential publishers, which is exciting stuff. However, in the meantime, I have a short story, Fool Aboard, included in a horror compilation, The Terror Train Anthology. This is due for release on June 15th. Full details can be found on my recent blog post http://www.stuartkeane.com/my-blog/
After that, I'm also featured in Journals of Horror: Found Fiction, another anthology, due for release in late 2014. My second full novel is currently in production, hopefully for a Christmas release.