Your new novel In the Know: Revenge is a Dish Best Served Quickly
- in a few words, what is it about?
Itís a thriller about what happens when average working class people
lose faith in the justice system and start looking for alternative methods
With In the Know:
Revenge is a Dish Best Served Quickly being set in the hooligan-scene,
did you do any special research on the subject, and/or is any of it based
on personal experience even?
In The Know isnít
exactly set in the world of hooliganism although it is an element of the
plot and my central character, Billy Evans, has a history that is steeped
in it. Indeed, heís based on characters Iíve met over decades of
following football. My writing career actually began when I started
writing about hooliganism back in 1996 when my brother and I wrote a
non-fiction book called Everywhere We Go. That explored the subject from
the perspective of two lads who had been in and around the scene in the
70ís and 80ís and not only looked at what it was all about but
explored various issues that impacted on football fans generally such as
policing, the media, politics, etc. Iíve written 9 non-fiction books on
hooliganism and subjects relating to football now so I think I know my
core subject pretty well.
(Other) sources of
inspiration when writing In the Know: Revenge is a Dish Best Served
To be brutally honest,
the inspiration was simply to tell the story and give my readers something
theyíd been asking for for a while which is the next chapter in the
story of Billy Evans. Iím extremely lucky in that I have a very loyal
following so I generally try to give them what they want as opposed to
what I think they might like.
In the Know: Revenge is a Dish Best
Served Quickly is the third book in the Billy Evans-series - so
do talk about the character's creation, the previous books, and how did he
evolve over the years/books?
I make no secret of the fact that
I never set out to be a writer, indeed it was never on my radar at all.
When we wrote Everywhere We Go it was purely as a way of making money,
simple as that. However, after the first book we were asked to do a second
one and ended up doing another three within a couple of years. A few years
after that, I had a call from the writer Lynda La Plante who wanted to
meet with me to discuss a hooligan-related plotline she was developing
for one of her TV series. So I met with her but what she had was absolute
rubbish so I offered to come up with something better. She loved my
outline but sadly, the network turned it down due to some of the plot
elements, but she told me that it was such a great story, I should write it
up as a novel. Iíd never thought about doing any fiction up to that
point but gave it a go and that turned into The Crew, which was the first
book in this trilogy. That book came out in 2000 and Lynda La Plante
actually gave me a cover quote for it, which was nice.
How would you describe In
the Know: Revenge is a Dish Best Served Quickly's approach to the
I think if youíre going to write a thriller, then it
needs to be thrilling. That means that stuff needs to be happening all the
time as opposed to every so often. I read some so-called thrillers and
they just plod along trying to be all moody and smart and I sit there
feeling like my life is ebbing away. Iíve no interest in writing like
that. Writing is entertainment and it doesnít matter if itís
thrillers, horror or even comedy, itís the duty of the writer to provide
that entertainment. Thatís why all my thrillers have huge endings. I
want readers to experience that Ďfuck me, I didnít see that comingí
moment. Not least because thatís part of what will hopefully bring them
back for more.
Do talk about In the Know: Revenge is
a Dish Best Served Quickly's overall style and feel!
Someone has reviewed In The
Know and said ĎBrimson writes at breakneck speed and he drags you along
with him for the entire journey.í I think that sums up my style
perfectly. As for the feel, I try to make all my fiction as honest as
possible. I know my readership pretty well I think, and so I try to involve
them in the story by portraying situations and characters that they can
relate to or even recognise. After all, Iím writing about their world,
not just in respect of football life, but working class life and so I have
a duty to get it right.
few words about the actual writing process in regards to In the Know:
Revenge is a Dish Best Served Quickly?
I write all my fiction in a very specific way, and it all starts with the
ending. Indeed, most of my fictional work will stem from an idea Iíve
had for the last few pages or few minutes of a story. Remember, it
doesnít matter if itís a book or a movie, every single element of a
plot is about getting you to the conclusion so when it comes to a
thriller, you have to end it with serious drama or whatís the point?
when it comes to a new project, the first thing Iíll do is get a rough
handle on my central charters and then Iíll write the ending. Then
Iíll rewrite it until I have it pretty much nailed down, at which point
Iíll go to the start and start developing the rest of the plot and the
characters to suit. I might tweak it slightly to encompass character
traits or incidents Iíve come up with along the way, but generally
speaking, the original ending will remain exactly the same throughout.
Itís a strange way of working, but it works for me. Indeed, I always
tell people that thereís no way to write, only ways.
can tell us about audience and critical reception of In the Know:
Revenge is a Dish Best Served Quickly?
Well as I type this itís only been out for 5
days but in all honesty the lockdown has worked to my advantage because
people are diving into it as soon as it drops on the mat. The response
from my readers so far has been genuinely better than I could have asked
for and itís generating a bit of a buzz on social media largely because
I encouraged people to post pictures of it on their doormat so letís
hope it continues! Critical reaction is something else entirely because
generally speaking, I donít get any. If youíre not a big name or new
(female) author writing about finding love on holiday in the South of
France or having a tough time after being dumped, the critics rarely give
you a second glance these days. But thatís an entire debate in its own
projects you'd like to share?
Iím currently writing my
first military thriller which is based on a script I wrote a few years ago
which is hopefully heading for the big screen. On top of that, Iím
developing a thriller for a studio in Hollywood. Oddly, that stems from
something I pitched to them a few years ago. They really loved the central
character, but the concept wasnít for them so after a gap of about four
years, theyíve come back to me and asked me to come up with another plot
based around that same character. Itís very exciting.
What got you into writing
in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the
I know some people will hate me for this, but I got into writing
purely to make money. My brother and I knew the idea for Everywhere We Go
was solid and we knew that if we could find someone to publish it ahead of
EURO 96, then weíd also have the perfect timing. As it happened, we did
and it was. The book was an instant smash and continues to sell 24 years
later. However, not knowing any other writers at all, we thought that a
big selling book would set us up for life - but of course it doesnít work
like that. So we just carried on milking it for as long as we could. 25
years later, Iím still getting away with it!
As for training,
God no. It
was years before I actually started to meet other writers and by then
Iíd already sold more than most of them and had a Hollywood feature
under my belt so I was pretty confident that whatever I was doing was
working. Why change a winning formula?
What can you tell us about your books prior to In
the Know: Revenge is a Dish Best Served Quickly?
Know is actually my 16th book, and theyíre split pretty much equally
between non-fiction and fiction. Of the fictional stuff, four are comedies,
and then there are the three thrillers in this trilogy. The first of
these, The Crew, stems from the meeting with Lynda La Plante as I
previously mentioned, whilst the second, Top Dog, was another born out of
an idea I had for an ending. Or rather, two ideas for two endings which I
wrapped together. I actually adapted Top Dog for the screen a few years
ago and it did really well.
you also branched out into screenwriting - so how did that happen, and
what can you tell us about your filmwork?
Like most things, it happened by chance. I had a message
from someone who told me about a woman from the US who was posting
messages on hooligan forums talking about an idea for a movie and asking
for people to contact her. So I made contact using a fake name and checked
her out. Once I was happy she was on the level, I put her in touch with
the real me and fairly soon, we were talking about an idea for a script
which eventually became Green Street. Whilst I was doing that, I had a
call from a guy called Jon S Baird asking me to write a short movie about
hooliganism for him. That ended up being called Itís A Casual Life, and
is probably my favourite film to date, albeit only 12 minutes long. Jon S
Baird actually went on to direct the Irvine Welsh movie Filth as well as
the BAFTA nominated Laurel and Hardy biopic,
Stan & Ollie, so he
didnít do too bad for himself either!
What do you
actually enjoy more, writing prose or scripting movies, and how do the two
I only ever work on stuff I enjoym which is why I have such a varied
backlist of work. If a project appeals enough to get me actually working
on it, Iíll carry on until it either reaches a conclusion or stops being
fun, at which point Iíll walk away and leave it. Lifeís far too short
to not have fun when youíre working and at my age, itís even shorter!
It should be obvious that books and scripts are very different beasts to
develop and both have their pros and cons. What I will say is that
when it comes to screenplays, the pros tend to be greater and the
cons much more devastating! The key difference from a creative
perspective is that whereas with a book Iím in total control of the
entire process, a script is very much a collaboration. From the second you
start writing right through to when the director yells Ďwrapí, every
single word and every single scene is open to change. Indeed, I always say
that scrips should be written in pencil rather than ink because everything
is at risk of being rubbed out. As a writer, that means that you canít
afford to get precious about a script, and unless there are specific things
that youíre prepared to fight for, then you have to go with the flow.
That can be great when it improves things, but when you sense that itís
damaging, as often happens, it can be gut wrenching. The other thing is
that with a script, if the finished movie looks great on screen, the
writer rarely gets the praise, but if itís awful, itís always the
How would you describe yourself as a writer?
My mate once told me that I was the most famous writer
no one had ever heard of and that sums it up pretty nicely I think.
screenwriters, whoever else who inspire you?
I have to cite Lynda
La Plante because she inspired me to move into fiction. Aside from her
however, the only thing that inspires me are my readers. Thatís a trite
thing to say, I know, but itís a fact.
couldn't live without?
Lord of the Rings. Iíve lost count of the number of times Iíve read it
but it still excites me every single time. Itís pretty much the perfect
story. Iím also addicted to book called Vulcan 607. Itís about the
Vulcan bomber raids on the Falklands during the 1982 war and the reason I
love it so much is because I was in the Royal Air Force at the time and
was stationed on Ascension Island whilst the raids were taking
And since this is first and
foremost a film page, your favourite movies, and those you absolutely
Iím a huge fan of
Ealing comedies and old British movies. Indeed, if I were to write a top
10, The Cruel Sea, Yield to the Night, The League of Gentlemen and
for Scoundrels would certainly feature. However, my favourite all time
movie, and this will shock a few people, is the classic musical Singing
In The Rain. I never, ever get tired of watching it, itís the perfect
escapism. If I had to state a genre that leaves me cold, it would have to
be slasher/horror stuff. I just donít get it at all.
Your/your book's website, social media,
My website is: www.dougiebrimson.com
Anything else you're dying to mention and
I have merely forgotten to ask?
I donít think so. The only thing Iíd add is that if anyone is thinking
about writing anything, then stop thinking about it and do it. If I can,
Thanks for the
thanks to Richard S Barnett, founder of IIWYK!!!