“This particular yarn is one that’s bubbled away since it surfaced in a short story I wrote in the late 1980s. That short story was about six hand-written A4 pages in length, and was basically the dream-sequence from the existing novel; in that original tale, however, it was anything but dream-like.
“I can’t remember the title of the short story (possibly ‘Il Desinenza’, which roughly translates as The Termination in Italian) though the current protagonist Floyd was still Floyd then; the weather was just as bad, he still fended off rain with a newspaper, and the joint influences of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, Carol Reed’s Odd Man Out, and my ‘60s/’70s comic book heritage hung pretty obviously onto my coattails.
“Back then, as the story wraps itself up, it’s a Controller—a Seeker’s nemesis already—who does the dirty work and affects termination. “Next time, shoot straight,” I recall penning as Floyd’s cynical quip while he cleans up the mess.
“Somewhere en route along the past twenty-odd years it’s become Floyd whose aim and life is amiss, and we added about 200 pages into the mix.
“I say ‘we’ because my erstwhile collaborator over the past three years of the novel’s gestation has been my editor Kristopher Young – the author of Click – who’s invested so much of his own ideas that the story has definitely shaped up as collusion.
“But I’m getting ahead of myself, which I have a propensity to do; you may also have discovered that I tend to waffle a lot and use semicolons unwisely.
“After the short story was written I shelved it for several years. The ideas continued fermenting somewhere in my coin-locker brain, until 1992 when I resurrected the romp while I was living in Richmond, in Melbourne (Australia), and extended it to a 162-page manuscript. I still have that version in a drawer next to my desk here in Tokyo—it’s all dog-eared and there’re different typefaces within the same tome as I started out on my mum’s electric typewriter, which of course ran out of ink, then graduated to my partner’s dad’s boxy, black-and-white screened Apple Macintosh with a dot matrix printer.
“I remember scratching my head at the time, trying to nut out a half-decent title, and came up with We Are Not Afraid, We Serve. It always was a half-hearted moniker that lacked pizzazz. I was 27 at the time and I do cringe now when I look back at much of this.”
READ MORE OF THIS EXTENSIVE INTERVIEW HERE:
THE NEXT BEST BOOK CLUB INTERVIEW