Thursday, November 17, 2011
No Rules: LUCA VESTE
In just a few short months, LUCA VESTE has garnered a very solid rep as a writer worth watching. His collection LIVERPOOL 5 got enough well-deserved good press that Veste followed it up almost immediately with, yes, MORE LIVERPOOL 5.
He runs the always-fun blog Guilty Conscience, where he's become quite the champion of independent writers. In the last couple of months, Luca has gathered together almost forty different writers for a new charity project called OFF THE RECORD-- an anthology of genre fiction, with all proceeds going to children's literacy charities on both sides of the Atlantic. It's due out in December.
I'm quite pleased to have this fresh voice here at Psycho-Noir.
Meet Luca Veste.
Death. It’s not the most light of topics, but it’s a subject which fascinates me. An inordinate amount of my time is spent thinking about my mortality, and not just my own, but everyone I care about also. It can get in the way of things to be honest. If you spend most of your time worrying about dying, you end up forgetting about the living part.
I turned 28 this year, not a milestone really, but this year did mark the first funeral I’ve been too, for someone I knew. My wife’s Nan passed away in June, after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Before this, a few people I kind of knew had died, people I knew from work etc. but I hadn’t gone to their funerals. My own grandfather, Salvatore Veste, died when I was 10, too young to go to his funeral.
Sat in the church, surrounded by grief, it was a humbling experience. When a member of the family gave a eulogy, it suddenly struck me what I’d been doing with my life up to that point. Reading from a piece of paper, she gave the life story of my wife’s nan. From birth to her final years, I listened as every major event was covered. And it was all contained on one side of a piece of paper. Just an A4 sized piece of paper.
And it hit me. That’s all life is. A long (or if you’re unlucky, unfortunately short) journey, which leads to a loved one telling some people about your life from a piece of paper. It’s up to you how you fill it.
Now, anyone who’s already read my collection of short stories ‘Liverpool 5’ will recognise those paper related thoughts from the story ‘Dreams’. Also members of my family will recognise the man who relates this bit of pseudo philosophy. Because that’s what I do. I take real life people and situations, and make them kind of interesting, I hope. Another writer once said to me, ‘don’t write what you know, write what you can imagine…because what you know is probably pretty boring.’ And I heed that advice. Liverpool is a great city, with so much character. A lot more to it than just The Beatles, it’s steeped in history. Every street, every building, has its own story to tell. Every person you pass in town has their own story. I just try to tell a few of them.
I’ve been extremely lucky in my life. Hit by a car at six years old, I probably shouldn’t even be here right now. Yet, I’m married to a wonderfully complicated woman, with two beautiful daughters. I’m studying two subjects in Criminology and Psychology at University which fascinate me, and I also write in my spare time as well. I’m a lucky man.
I’ve been described by the writer and now my friend Darren Sant as exploding onto the writing scene like a ‘Scouse Gazelle’ these past few months. He’s right in a way. I was always on the periphery, bothering Steve Mosby or Neil White with inane questions about writing. But that funeral changed my outlook. To be that close to grief and death caused me to create a blog reviewing books. Reviewing books led me into a conversation with the excellent writer Charlie Williams, which ended with him kind of daring me to write a story entitled ‘Jeff: The Uninspired Vampire’. Writing that story, and making Charlie laugh, made me write another story. Col Burypublishing that second story on the fantastic website ‘Thrillers, Killers ‘n’ Chillers’ gave me the confidence to go on. Talking to writers of the calibre of Nick Quantrill and Julie Morrigan, giving up their time to give me advice and guidance, led me to approaching the publishers Trestle Press with five stories, and asking if they were interested.
In four short months, I have had one Ebook released, a follow-up written and ready for release, a story being published in Paul D. Brazill’s Brit Grit 2, and a project called Off The Record coming shortly, involving 37 of the best short story writers out there.
And it all came from death. My fear and fascination of it. It comes from being a staunch atheist (the need for evidence, of any sort, being of importance to me) and the knowing that this is it. Like the Eminem “song”, you got one shot, one chance, that’s all you got. So, even if you believe there’s more than just this life, that there’s something on the other side, why not give this life the best shot you can. That’s my goal now.
I’m just filling my piece of paper.