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Thursday, 5 March 2015

Anthony Bunko


Hi, Anthony,Tell us a little about yourself?

 I’m married with two daughters (Danielle 25, and Georgia, 14). I live in Merthyr Tydfil…..I’m 52 years old going on 17. In my day job, I’m a self-employed management consultant but my passion has always been music and being creative (otherwise known as being slightly weird!!!)

How would you describe your books?

 With my fiction books…hopefully…very funny…with hints of sadness here and there. With my non-fiction books…..Hopefully…very funny…with hints of sadness here and there!

What genre is your work mainly? Do you tend to stay in the same vein or are you hoping ( if not already) to explore new ventures?

 I love fictional, comedy, type stuff. I think it’s because I never take life seriously even though I have quite a serious job. But over the last few years I have also written several autobiographies which started when I met the late and great Stuart Cable – drummer with the Stereophonics. So basically, I guess I jump around a lot…not sure if that is a good or bad thing…..but sometimes when I get an idea / story in my head, be that a kids book, comedy, film scripts / advert for TV etc…..unless I write it down, it stays in there taking up space in my already crammed brain.

Can you share with us a quote from one of your favorite characters?

One of my favorite characters was Big Ken from my first book – the tale of the shagging monkeys. He was the chairman of Dowlais Rugby Club, with a big heart but a short fuse. Below is one of his conversations!!!!

   ‘I don’t wanna smell any of that WACKY BACKY,’ the big man said in a very crisp voice that would have snapped a twig if it was walking through a jungle. ‘Or find any of those C’s that you junkies keep popping every night.’

   ‘E’s, Ken,’ corrected Peter.

   ‘What…?’ said Big Ken, flicking the large moth off his larger head.

   ‘It’s E’s, not C’s, Ken. I thought you would like to know.’

   ‘Right that’s it… outside. You’ve been trying to pick a fight with me all f-ckin’ night.’  Big Ken turned to face Peter. He started to roll up the sleeves of his shirt.

Is it hard to come up with new ideas or plot's?  

At present, No… mind is always full of ideas……probably most of them too weird …but hopefully a few diamonds in the rough in there as well. Living in the valleys I get to meet loads of interesting characters and hear some wonderfully bizarre stories which often find themselves transferred onto the pages of my books…even if they don’t want to go there…ha ha

How long does it take you to complete a finished book?

 Normally about 3 to 6 months…and that’s with me doing a full time job…..if I didn’t have to do the day job …around 3 months…according to what it was.

Who is the easiest character to write for and why? Hardest and why? 

 I find writing in first person the easiest, that’s why I quite enjoy writing autobiographies. I find myself becoming that person for 3 to 6 months….then when the book is done; the person leaves me like a demon and never to return….spooky or what?

Are your characters based on real people? People you may know on Tv or Movie stars?

  Obviously the autobiographies are based on real people. All my fictional characters are normally based on people I know or a mix of people I know rolled up into one ball…but don’t tell them!

Without giving anything away, what is or are your favorite scenes from your books?

  I love writing the scenes where there’s lots of dialogue between a few of the characters…..I hope those scenes will be funny and the reader can really see their personalities shining through. In my first book I had a scene where four friends were sitting in a pub in Portugal overlooking the sea. During the session they started talking about their weirdest sexual adventure…..still makes me giggle now when I read it !!!

What's up next for you?

  I’m just finishing off two books… children’s book and a comedy one… I’ve always wanted to write a stage play and I’ve written one based loosely on the Wizard of Oz…called the Wizard of Gurnwah….(which is posh for Gurnos) which hopefully will be performed in May time at the Merthyr Rising Festival. I also have a secret project which I can’t share yet…but if it comes off it will be VERY BIG.

Is there anyone besides you in your family who writes?

 No not really. My youngster daughter Georgia wants to be an actress when she leaves school. She is excellent.

When did you start.What was your first published piece?

 I began writing more by accident than design. However, I now think there was always a creative demon inside of me trying to get out. One day in 2002, I sat in a three hour traffic jam on the M4 after returning from a business workshop in London. Bored, I picked up a pen and scribbled down the now infamous title, ‘The Tale of The Shagging Monkeys’. Two months later, the comedy novel based on my mates from Dowlais Rugby Club was born.
The spelling was terrible and the grammar was worser (ha ha), but the mad-cap tale not only made people laugh, it earned me a 4 star rating in the Western Mail, the National paper of Wales.

Do you have any favourite books or authors? 

 My favourite book of all time is Catch 22 By Joseph Heller…..I read it every two years or so and still makes me laugh out loud. I always remember reading The Van by Robbie Doyle by the pool when on holidays about 15 years ago and laughing out so loud my wife gave me a row. When I finished it I thought, I wish I could make someone do that (laugh I mean, not give someone a row!!)

Out of all the books and stories you've written which is your favorite?  

My second book – The Siege of El Rancho…which was based on my hometown. I think it’s my favorite because of two reasons. 1. It proved I had more than one book in me. 2. Unlike some of my other books where I roughly know the end before I start the book, with this one I didn’t know where it would take me…so I just let the characters and the plot set the journey…while I strapped myself in and went on a bizarre ride.

Do you have a favourite character?

  From the book mentioned above I invented a character who was an invisible, seven foot red Indian who lived in a pub cellar and played basketball with a cabbage. No one could see him, but everyone knew he was there. I loved him because he started out as a throw-away idea that grew and grew as the book progressed. This type of writing stood me in good stead when more throw-away characters popped up in other novels.

What is your favorite genre to write ? 

Comedy…but I also have a dark side. I’ve written many, short, violent, dark, little stories. I would love to write a novel in the future

What are your favourite movies?  

 The man who came to dinner 1945 with Bettie Davies..its about a famous radio actor who gets imprisoned in a family’s house at Xmas……brilliant writing

How long have you been writing? 

 Since 2002 – but I did used to write songs / poems when I was younger and more edgy

Who or what has been your biggest literary influence? 

 Punk rock music changed my life. It gave me the belief that I could be whatever I wanted to be and made me look over the wall …to see a much wider horizon.

How Difficult is it for you to come up with one of your brilliant plots? 

Not difficult…normally if I’m stuck I go for a run and more often than not something pops in to my head to move the plot along nicely

How about characters? Are they easily born and developed?  

All my characters grow as the story progresses and develop. At the start of a book I try and think of people I know and who is this character most like…..when I begin, I picture that person on the page until the character itself starts to come alive…..Frankenstein's monster type of thing.

Have you ever trashed a novel or story before or after finishing it, feeling it wasn't turning out as you planned? 

 After my first book (the tale of the shagging monkeys) I started something but after a month I realized I was trying to be too clever and too much like an author wearing a cravat…I ditched it and went back to writing what I knew about.

Any funny experiences or quirks you'd like to share with your readers? 

On a personal front, and nothing to do with writing, I have a quirk where I never step over white lines in the middle of the road and best of all, when I drive into multi story car parks I turn into the Terminator when he was searching for his victim in the first movie. I even make the strange robot noises like Arnie did, and imagine I have a red target coming out of my eyes….ha ha…..please don’t tell anyone about that.

Which one of your books would you like to see made into a movie?  

TV, Tarot Cards and George Bloody Clooney – a dark comedy murder thriller mystery thing…..would be an epic film with the right director I’ve been told.

What is your favorite band or artist? 

The Clash – if it wasn’t for The Clash I wouldn’t be a writer…simple as…

What was  it like to publish your first book? 

 I self-published my first few books…..and I remember going to pick it up from the printers in Ebbw Vale on a Saturday morning. I went home…opened a bottle of wine (still only 11 am in the morning) and read the book cover to cover. I’ve done that same routine ever since, but try not to start so early!!

What advice would you give to others who want to make writing their career? 

Just go for it…stop talking about it. Stop making excuses…put in the hard yards / take chances – and follow your dream. It’s so easy , and cheap, to get your book out there nowadays…even if you just do it yourself on kindle.

Do you ever get ideas at random moments, and if so how do you hang on to them? 

All the time. I usually carry a pen and paper with me. The worst is when I’m falling asleep and don’t write it down and think ‘oh I’ll remember that in the morning’. When I wake up I can’t remember a thing.

How do you overcome writers block and do you have a special place you like to write? 

I don’t really get writers block. It’s strange if I get writer’s blip…I either go for a run or use some consultant techniques to re-spark my imagination. My favorite place to write is in a strange pub, by myself with a bottle of wine, a pen and a note pad…maybe a roaring fire if its Winter.

Can you write on demand and under pressure, or do you need time and space before the creativity starts to flow?

 I personally like deadlines…maybe it’s because of my working background…if writing was my day job…it would be a job…up at 8…writing until 12…go for run…shower, back to writing until 6….

Who or what was the inspiration behind your books? 

I honestly feel the deep rooted inspiration behind me writing my books is an aim of mine to live in a creative world, surrounded by creative people. I watched a documentary of the Monty Python Team a while ago where they jetted off to Tunisa for 4 months to write the script to Life of Brian…..doing something like that would be my dream…so at present, books are my vehicle to get me to where I want to get to…..then see what happens next.

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