Matt Danmor thinks he's lucky. Not many people survive a near death accident with nothing more than a bout of amnesia, a touch of clumsiness and the conviction that the technician who did the MRI had grey skin and hooves. Still, it takes time to recover from trauma like that, especially when the girl who was in the accident with you disappears into thin air. Especially when the shrinks keep telling you she's just a figment of your imagination. So when the girl turns up months later looking ravishing, and wanting to carry on where they left off, Matt's troubled life starts looking up. But he hasn't bargained for the baggage that comes with Silvy, like the fact she isn't really an English language student, or even a girl. Underneath her traffic stopping exterior is something else altogether, something involving raving fanatics bent on human sacrifice, dimensionally challenged baked bean tins, a vulture with a penchant for profanity, and a security agent for the Dept of Fimmigration (that's Fae immigration for those of you not in the know) called Kylah with the most amazing gold-flecked eyes The 400 Lb Gorilla is caustic, (vampire-free) introduction to the Hipposync Archives: Contemporary fantasy at its sparkling best.
When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer? What was the very first thing you ever wrote?
My mother bought me an Olivetti when I was 18. Probably to help with my forthcoming studies, bit I wrote a spooky story called ‘Verdance’ with it instead. It was about the Green Man—something in the vegetation that threw a kid’s ball back to him. I suspect that story was the evil seed that grew into what my ‘writing’ is now. I managed to suppress all literary urges and went to university to train to be a doctor, but I kept feeding the seed with a rich, fertile mixture of Bradbury and King and Tolkien and watered it with Asimov and Aldiss and Pratchett and Burke (James Lee). I came back to the Olivetti in my mid 30s, when I felt I had something to say (or at least thought I did). So now I write every day. It’s cathartic and I have about as much choice about it as I do with breathing.
How did you come up with the idea of 400LB Gorilla?
Awful things happen to Matt in the novel, but everything is tinged with humour. I needed a tongue in cheek title. It’s the way I deal with most things, which is difficult when you’re trying to whistle. So what better title than the lead in to a joke.
Anywhere he likes.
How different would you say the final version of The 400Lb Gorilla is from the first draft?
How far is the moon from the sun? Well, that’s not strictly true. I’m a plotter and so I know what happens from A to Z before I start to write. But I tend to write longhand and transfer to PC. There’s your first edit right there. And so I would say that every word…yes every word gets rewritten until it sounds right. And every read is an edit. But the spine of the story is very much the same, it’s just that there are quite a few more vertebrae and slipped discs in there by the time we’re done.
How much of the characters are based on your traits or someone you know personally?
All and none. Aren’t all characters an amalgam of everyone you know? So yes, there’s a touch of me in Matt. Bit introverted, bit shy, bit befuddled by all that the world can throw at him. But then there are bits of me in Rimsplitter, who isn’t shy, or introverted or at all befuddled. In fact, he is the befuddler. So, like all things, it’s a pick and mix. Okay, I work in a hospital and so I am allowed a little bit of revenge on the one or two people I’d cross a continent to avoid. And as for the evil hospital administrator—the cheerleader for the Uruk-Hai— who I could introduce you to tomorrow, so long as you didn’t want to keep all your digits!
If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be? And why?
Mrs Hoblip, who is a brownie. She is a brilliant cook and is guaranteed to frighten off all kinds of vermin. Brownies just turn up and decide to look after people and live off those grateful people’s kindness, more or less. They are very loyal but shy away from conversation. And yes, it’s the same name as junior Girl Guides. But mainly I would like to meet her because she has a son called George who plays a big part in the books to come. George is not your typical Brownie. In fact he’s everything a Brownie should not be. But we’ll find out a bit more about him in Frivolous Pursuits, which is the next book written under the umbrella of the Hipposync Archives. Did I mention there’ll be more than one?
DC Farmer writes contemporary urban fantasy. Rhys A Jones writes middle grade fantasy and Dylan Jones used to write gritty psychological thrillers. Notice I said ‘gritty’ and not ‘comfortable’. So I can’t write in any more genres because I can’t think of any more names. It’s a bit of a juggle and I don’t try and hide them, but they all have different personas online and in my head. And don’t ask me if I’m schizophrenic, ask the other chap.
What scene was your favorite to write?
This is also the answer to ‘what scene was the most difficult to write?’ It’s close to the end and is thee scene where Mat returns to help Kylah. By the time I got there I knew he needed something big to get him out of an impossible situation and I had to think hard for that one. But when it came, though it was the mother of all sledgehammers to crack a nut type denouement, it seemed quite elegant. In an extension of that scene, Matt confronts an ex-girlfriend too. The way that turned out was the most satisfying section to write. Not that I’m vicarious or anything…
About the author:
Once a successful doctor of medicine, DC Farmer now works two days a week for the NHS and, thanks to the wonders of Krudian physics, the other nine days a 011-Dyl-011week for Hipposync Enterprises, as a scribe.
Hipposync was established in the early fourteenth century as a purveyor and publisher of rare books, the sort of stuff you are not able to get elsewhere and which contains information as varied as how to guard your castle against the Hordes of Maltasub using Harpie blood and tar, and how to change a beetle into a useful toothpick.
Of course, you will have gathered from all of this that Hipposync is, in fact, just a cover. What lurks beneath that thin veneer of respectability (yeah, right) is much, much more interesting. Hiding behind an office on the banks of the canal in Jericho, Oxford is the Department of Fimmigration (as in Fae immigration). Hey, there has to be one, otherwise just anyone could walk in, right?
DC’s role in documenting the work of the Fimmigration Service has, over the years, led to the realization that the world needs to know. Moreover, if he doesn’t tell someone soon he is going to burst. So, within these pages you will find actual accounts of the splendid work of the Fimmigration Service, beginning with The 400 Lb Gorilla–a sample of which is also on this site, and which will soon be published in its totality by Spence City once appropriate clearance from the ‘authorities’ has been obtained.
Some people say that this is contemporary fantasy fiction. Believe me, it’s real enough on planet hipposync.
DC Farmer is alive and well in darkest West Wales.
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