This year at the Russian film festivals the premiere of the short film «Romantic» based on the novel by Danny King «The Hitman Diaries» will be held. In an interview with Young Space, the writer talked about his experience in the field of cinema, Internet piracy and called the underestimated quality of our generation.
The short film «Romantic» by Konstantin Tupitsyn based on the novel «The Hitman Diaries» is coming soon. Is this your first joint work with Russian filmmakers? How do you assess the cooperation?
I’ve been very impressed with Konstantin. He contacted me last year when the rights to my book were available. He asked if he could make a short movie based on the book and screen the finished film at Russian film festivals. I was happy to let him if it helped his career. I’m a huge admirer of anyone with drive and Konstantin is definitely someone with a bright future. I just hope he remembers me when he’s a famous filmmaker.
The teaser of the film shows excellent Russian color, but also does not lose the charm of the original. Is this the closeness of English and Russian heroes in spirit?
Yes. I think English and Russian people are very similar in temperament. We both live in the shadows of past and present class struggles and we’re both fairly cynical people, particularly about our leaders. I don’t mind flag-waving at the World Cup or the Eurovision Song Contest but I don’t think it’s the answer to every problem. I’m a great believer in people as people. English, Russian, Chinese, Argentinian. We’re all the same. We all love our children. We all love to laugh. We all want to be happy. And none of us can quite believe America voted Donald Trump into the White House.
You already have worked on the scenarios of several films, do you plan to work in the field of cinema? Will this be a film adaptation of your novels?
Two of my scripts have been made into films (“Wild Bill” and “Eat Locals”). It was a great experience seeing my words turned into pictures. I have written ten more movie scripts and would love to see more turned into films. I need to find a producer who would be willing to back me but this isn’t easy as there are more unproduced screenplays in the world than there are stars in the sky. And they are all chasing the same dollars.
In your works the characters lead a fairly criminal way of life. And how do you feel about the modern type of offense — piracy on the Internet?
Crime is as old as time. For as long as there have been things to steal, people have been stealing. So when money went digital, crime followed. Internet piracy is just a new trick learned by an old dog. People get careless when they are on the internet. They forget that their computers are windows into their houses and lives. I’m careful about what I put online. But I’m old. New technology confuses and frightens me so I am naturally cautious. I even have my iMac camera covered over when I’m not using it. Some people think I’m paranoid but I would rather be paranoid than naive, just as I wouldn’t leave my wallet next to an open window in my house.
Do you attend meetings with your readers? How do you see your target audience, has it changed over the years of your writer’s career?
My books are popular in UK prisons so I have visited several prison reading groups in the past. These guys are always very welcoming and enthusiastic about reading, which is great to see. But my target audience is changing as I get older. I wrote “The Burglar Diaries” before I was 30. I’m now almost 50 and my outlook has changed. I have children now, which is wonderful, but also a mortgage and a bad back and high blood pressure and a load of other shit that goes with being almost 50. I think an author’s writing should age with the author if it is to stay authentic.
Will there be a continuation of the series «Criminal Diaries»?
The “Criminal Diaries” are finished but I would never say never. I wrote eight crime books, not all of them “Diaries”, and I think that’s probably enough. My first love was always horror and I’ve written three horror novels, two of which were published in Germany. I’d love to see them published in other countries, particularly Russia, but that depends on other publishers accepting them. I’m also interested in writing for my kids so I’ve written a series of children’s books. I had fun doing it and my son has read the first one but I’m not going to pay off my mortgage writing for just him so hopefully I can find a publisher for them too.
Now books, trainings devoted to writing skills, learning to write novels and stories have become popular. Do you think that the literary world will change in view of such training of the mass reader in the writing of books? Is there a future for such newcomers?
With the invention of ebooks and online publishing, it’s never been easier to get your words out there. I’ve self-published several books in the UK and US but getting published is not the problem. Getting readers to notice you is. These days this comes down to how good a person is on social media. Someone with 1,000,000 Twitter followers is going to have more success than someone with 100 followers, even if the person with 100 followers is a better writer. A lot of it comes down to confidence and shouting. We live in the age of the loud-mouth. I’m on Twitter but I never look at it. I never know what to say. And when I occasionally do think of something, I still don’t “tweet” because I can’t imagine anyone else being interested. I think being able to shut-the-fuck-up is an underrated quality these days.
Who influenced your literary style?
Henri Charriére, the author of “Papillon”. His book, more than any other, helped me find my voice.
They talk a lot about the death of a paper book. Do you think that it will be replaced by electronic ones?
I think books will have a place for the next 50 years. Vinyl records are still with us despite the invention of MP3 music files and I think book lovers will keep paperback books going too. But this won’t last forever. Nothing ever does. Eventually, all us old bastards will die and the next generation will look at books as cumbersome blocks of paper. Some may even burn their houses down trying to recharge them from the mains. And eventually, 200 years from now, the whole of the human experience will be online and no one will know what’s real and what’s not, except for the pirates that sail the electronic waves of the World Wide Web.
Five books that formed Danny King as a writer.