Sunday, May 15, 2016



Hello beasties!

Guess what!? Yes... It's another interview with that lot down at The Beargrrrian Gazette... They want to know what I've been up to - what I'm writing and what I'll be doing next!


Here is recent interview from Beargrrria’s top magazine for chat; THE GROWL GAZETTE. They know me there due partly to my dubious connection with Beargrrrian superstar, Charlie Grrr. This is the tenth time that they have interviewed me in recent years – they really MUST be short of people to speak to. This time I’m mainly discussing what I’ve published this year and what is yet to come. So, here’s what they asked and what I said in reply; straight from the yeti’s mouth, as it were!!!

Q. Welcome Mr Yeti!

Hello… It’s absolutely fantabulous to be back!

Q. Please can you tell us about the books that you’ve published so far in 2016?

A. Certainly. Well, I had three out in the first four months of the year… The first season of my new scripted series (and BEAST OF FRIENDS spin-off) HOT STUFF!! came out in January, whilst in March I released A YETI WAY OF THINKING – my long over-due collection of poems, short stories and prose pieces. Finally, in early May, I put out the first season of another BEAST spin-off, KENSINGTON GORE… These are script-novels, by which I mean that they are written like scripts, with a minimum of description – but they are meant to be read, which is not to say that they couldn’t also be adapted for performance. It’s the same format that I used with THE BEAST OF FRIENDS series and which has served me well for the last few years. To be honest I wish more books were written this way, I just don’t have time or patience for 900 page epics anymore! My inspiration comes from Pulp fiction and soap operas – a story that leads to a cliff-hanger at the end of every episode/chapter – harking back to my SUTTON PARK days. You really do need to write for yourself first…

Q. Does it feel good to finally release your YETI WAY OF THINKING collection, especially considering how long you were working on it for?

A. Oh yes – there was definitely a time when I never thought I’d ever get it completed because it was becoming so large and there was so much editing to be done! I’d finished writing the actual material, but the behind the scenes pieces from the blog were really bulking up the book until that section of it was far larger than the actual third with the poems and stories in. Including behind the scenes extracts from my blog works fine when a collection is written in six months or a year – but this one took far longer and so in the end the solution was just to include the key things that I’d been up to during the writing of the volume – the gigs and my trip to Portland.

I enjoyed working on the cover – it changed a bit from the original idea of having a collage of photos – most of them ones that I had used as my Facebook profile pictures during 2012 or 2013. In the end these images squeezed down were too low resolution – but it gave me an idea to include the photos that I did – subjects that a yeti might be “thinking” about, for instance. In the end that meant a photo of a cat (Deeley!), a cake, a graffiti skeleton (to represent horror) and myself… (Not that this means I just think of myself – but I did think that maybe I should be on the cover!) The back cover includes a colour version of the Onion Man drawing that my friend in Australia, Paul Webster drew for the book. I thought it a shame only to use the black and white version as it had originally been so very colourful.

I’m looking forward to performing some of these new pieces at my summer show in July – although as the material contained in it was written between 2012 and 2014 a number of the pieces have already been performed in previous shows.

Q. Can you tell us a little more about the story and characters that appear in HOT STUFF!! ? When are you hoping to release the second season?

A. To answer your first question HOT STUFF!! is set in a library in a town (or maybe it’s a city) called Spectrum where there has recently been an unexplained fire, which the head librarian perished in. Horner was a good friend of hers and has been summoned to help caretaker the service – partly to hold the fort and partly to work out what exactly went on. The library staff are made up of a mix of characters – some who I have written for before and some who have been created specifically for the new series. Mavis and Edie, for example, I have been writing about since the early 1990s and in HOT STUFF!! they work on the enquiry desk as library clerks and later in the first season another character who I have been writing about for years, a mystic called Fatima joins Horner’s investigations. Other staff include handy-man Felix and long-time library employee, Arthur – not to mention cleaning staff and a work placement student, but for now I don’t want to say too much for fear of giving away too many twists. The first season is made up of eight linked scripts.

The second, third and fourth seasons are already written – but I am still at the formatting and rewriting stage on these. I am hoping to have the second season ready to release around September, but there is no set date as yet… Seasons three and four should be published during 2017 and I am currently about to start writing season five without any current decision on how long the series should run in all. I am aware that as the series continues having numbered seasons might make people think that they can’t simply drop in at any point – which actually they could; so at some later point I might go back and give the seasons overall titles – rather like the BEAST OF FRIENDS movie special that is due out later in the year.

Q. Moving on, can you tell us a more about the story and characters in KENSINGTON GORE? When do you expect to release the second season?

A. KENSINGTON GORE is about a small team of characters who manage a sinister block of apartments in the Kensington Gore area of London – next to the Royal Albert Hall… The leads are made up of the remaining characters that first appeared in THE BEAST OF FRIENDS – Katrina, Warren and Lucy. Another character from this series, Warren’s mother, Ashley also features – when first introduced she was rather an unlikeable character but has mellowed over time and is one of my favourites to write for as you can’t predict how she will react to all that occurs.

The second season of this show is already written and busy being proofread; I am hoping to have it out around November – but there is no date set as yet… I have just finished the first draft of the third season and aim to move onto writing the 4th season any day now. Later seasons of both this and HOT STUFF!! do allow characters from each series to visit the other – so the two work separately or together.

Q. You’ve written quite a lot in advance – does the process take a long time?

A. In a way it does – I’m quite a long way in advance of what I’m publishing – but that’s a good thing as it means that I know for sure what is coming next and also that guarantees to any readers that I won’t suddenly get bored and leave them in the lurch. If I stop or rest either series I will endeavour to plan it as such and not just loose interest as I have done with a couple of my older projects when something new has turned my head. So far I’ve found that the two series are working in slightly different ways – HOT STUFF!! seems to complete its main plot-arc within the confines of its season – with a little teaser cliff-hanger at the end, whereas KENSINGTON GORE concludes each season with a far more major cliff-hanger – a fire, a massacre, a life threatening event… I can’t say too much or I’ll be giving stuff away. As far as time taken to write each season it probably takes as long or longer to format and rewrite as it does to write a first draft – so between a year to eighteen months from end to end. At the moment I hope to release two seasons of both HOT STUFF!! (HS) and KENSINGTON GORE (KG), a year. I’ve just completed the third series of KG and am plotting season four – whilst busily proofing season two for release no later than November 2016. As far as HS is concerned I’m proofing season 2 and have just finished season 4, with season 5 pretty much plotted out. At this rate I’ll have enough HS to last into the first half of 2018 and enough KG to keep me going for all of 2017. I’ve no plans to end either series, for the moment, although I had originally planned to just do three series of each. I enjoy writing each for different reasons – but each has a different setting and line-up of characters that I love returning to.

Q. Are you looking forward to releasing your special BEAST OF FRIENDS movie-length special, YETI DON’T FALL BACKWARDS? Is it true that you hope to go back to Venice to promote it?

A. Oh yes – I can’t believe that it’s almost two years since I began work on that one – and that’s partly been from choice, as I’ve been working on other series and wanted a bit of a break between the release of season four of BEAST and the arrival of the movie length special. The movie actually fits in nicely at the end of season 3 of KG – it is set in that time-line but is a flash-back to a past adventure that we never saw. This means that the actual main story in the movie is set towards the end of the second season of BEAST and features the old core team of Horner, Katrina, Warren and Colin. As far as going to Venice is concerned – it is certainly my intention to return there in either October or November 2016 and it would be nice if the book was out by then so I can show it around the city where it was conceived! Somehow that sounds wrong, but hey – it’s Venice and Venice is never wrong!

Q. Will that definitely be the last project we see under the BEAST banner?

Never say never… I’m still writing with most of the main characters that I introduced during BEAST – so there is no reason that I couldn’t reunite them at some stage or write another “lost” adventure, as I enjoy writing with the core cast from late season 2. As it is, you will definitely see a number of cameos between the two spin-off series which briefly unites the team. This said, I have no current plans to write anything new under the BEAST title right at the moment.

Q. Do you have plans for any new series? You spoke, last year, of a Horner special – what happened to that? Is it still in the pipe-line for consideration?

A. In the end the idea that I had for the Horner special morphed into the 4th season of HOT STUFF!! I thought it had a more solid chance of working in that form – rather than having to invent all-new characters to surround Horner. Using that plot as the basis for the 4th season also allowed the series to stretch its wings as far as discovering new areas of Spectrum City. I did write a couple of diary entries on my blog, which will be included as extras when the season is officially released. They were about Horner encountering a zombie character in both Devon and Lyon – but these can still be read as a background to events in season 4.

As far as new series are concerned I hope to be releasing a script-book of sketches that involve my Shy Yeti character encountering various different situations – a number of these sketches have already been published on my blog, but I’d like to write enough to collect them together into one volume – A SHY YETI SKETCH-BOOK, if you will; possibly released before the end of the year.

Q. Can you tell us about your recent KISS-ME-QUICK E.P. on Bandcamp? We believe that this has been awaiting release for some time. Was it actually lost?

A. Strictly speaking, no… It was languishing incomplete on my hard-drive, although all 12 poems were converted and ready to be heard – each verse having, between 2, 3 and in one case five different takes. All I really needed to do was listen through to them and decide which version I preferred and wanted to release. Initially I was just going to make it a 4-track E.P., until I recalled that my previous two albums contained over 30 tracks each, in which case 12 tracks seemed about right to call it an E.P. Well, why not… Originally it was going to be named the CAT-LIKE E.P. after one of the poems – but I decided that people might think it an E.P. of animal poems, when in fact it's more about relationships.

Q. What made you decide to release it now and not just flesh it out into a full album? Also, do you have a favourite recording on the new E.P.?

A. It was a complete surprise to myself that I released it when I did! I was at home on Saturday 23rd April with no plans for the day when I came across the files – surprised that I had as many as 12 recordings to work with. I have been considering making further recordings, especially as I am not currently making films – not to mention that I have Garageband on my new phone – so could possibly use that for future recordings. I decided that whatever I do next I should really start afresh – or else there would be a big gap between the recordings. It’s nice to be able to release this E.P. now and then to move on to something new, if that is what occurs.

As far as which recordings I like best – there were a couple of poems where I added a few sound effects along with the verse and the one that I think worked the best was the piece, MISTER MOSQUITO where I tried to make the music tinkle along like the mosquito. I think if I do record further poems then I would like to do them more like that – it definitely makes it more fun to listen to.

Q. What projects do you expect to still be released this year?

A. The books I’m aiming to publish before the end of 2016 are the second seasons of HS and KG, the movie length BEAST special and maybe the Shy Yeti sketch-book; but we shall see how things go as the year moves on…

Q. You’ve not published a Mouse Of Commons book in a while – is there still more to come from Gladstone McWhiskers?

A. There definitely is – it’s just a matter of having the time to get it done… I still have a book of short stories and another novel to complete – but progress is slow, I’m afraid. I am progressing with both projects in short bursts when I have spare time – so I’m sure I will move on a little further this year. In a way it’s probably a bit like the problem I had with A YETI WAY OF THINKING – it was almost but not quite done for a year or eighteen months, but a completion date for that project seemed to get further and further away – until one weekend I did lots of work on it and suddenly there was a light at the end of the tunnel. All I need to do with the Mouse short story collection is to get a couple of stories typed and then I can proof it and pass it to my mum (in her role as professional proof-reader) to give it a final once over… I’ll get there eventually! I really will… Poor Gladstone and Ollie!!

Q. Will there be any further poetry projects?

A. I’m sure there will be – but having released A YETI WAY OF THINKING and planning one – if not two poetry shows, I think that will be my quota for 2016. I’m really having a break from writing poetry – although I have a lot of ideas and am working on one or two of those (such as one that I recently put on my blog) I am not rushing to do more. I have, however, begun compiling SHY YETI RULES O.K. (2009) and SHY YETI STILL RULES O.K. (2012) into one volume, as well as updating it for 2017 with favourites written since 2012, which is provisionally entitled SHY YETI’S GRRR-EASTEST HITS. I have also just started compiling a book of everything new that I have published on the blog since the start of 2015 – as A YETI WAY OF THINKING’s contents concludes at the end of 2014. It’s provisionally entitled GETTING BLOGGY WITH SHY YETI. Both books won’t be out until early 2017.

As far as re-releases are concerned, I may take a look at refreshing my POEMS TO MAKE BEARS GROWL and RHYMES BEARS STEAL PIES FOR collections from 2006 and 2007. They are my first two books that I designed specifically to publish on, but they actually still look pretty good and don’t need the sort of re-working that my first eight pre-lulu books needed to get them into shape. I’ve also toyed with doing another themed compilation but these are all ideas that would be nice to do, but are rainy day projects rather than anything of a high priority.

Q. Are you looking forward to your next Poetry Café show in July?

A. My last Poetry Café show was in October 2015 and due to ill-health it was the only opportunity that I got to launch my yeti poems that year… I’m hoping to do, at least, two shows during 2016 and – as you say – the first of those is on Friday 8th July… John Smallshaw, my trusty poet ally should be back and we are hoping that others will show up on the night to read open-mike. I intend to celebrate the release of A YETI WAY OF THINKING on that occasion – with a number of friends travelling in from out of town – so it’ll be nice to give that volume a night of its own.

Q. From the sounds of it your blog is still going strong – is this the case?

A. Very much so – I’m currently posting at least once a week and during April I did so twice-weekly – as I was promoting KENSINGTON GORE and also had quite a back-log of new pieces to post.

Q. Where was your most recent trip to and do you have any locations in mind this year?

A. Well, my most recent trip overseas was a return to Nice back in January and I wrote a number of pieces whilst out there – one linked to a future season of KENSINGTON GORE and one a stand-alone prose piece. I also have another trip coming up at the end of this month – a return to Amsterdam and I’m intending to write a holiday diary, a prose piece and a Shy Yeti sketch.

Q. Exciting news! Thank you for talking to us, Mr Yeti. See you again later in the year!

A. Absolutely! It’s always a pleasure to catch-up!

Next time I'll be sharing with you another new Shy Yeti sketch... In this one Shy gets recognised by a fan - or maybe that's not quite what he is... Join me again next time and all will be revealed!!

More soon!

Yeti hugs,

Paul xx

P.S. I think Deeley may well have been replaced by an evil cat gremlin in that last photo! He looks enormous - and extremely grumpy! (Sorry, Deels...)

P.P.S. The photos in this post were partly taken on a trip home to my home village, near Salisbury in April, around my flat with Deeley and whilst on a walk nearby in early May whilst recording some daft bits for a friend's pod-cast.

All contents of this post are Copyright, Paul Chandler 2016. Thanks to Toby W for the Deeley photos.