Q&A with Author Ian Probert

I have a special guest for you today. I wrote a little about his most recent book not too long ago. It’s a book about ex-boxers and the author’s journey through healing after his father’s death.

Click here to read more from me about Dangerous, a sequel to his book Rope Burns.

dangerous-cover

Click here to go to YouTube to hear him do a reading from Dangerous

I also talked about his previous book, Johnny Nothing.

BUT!!! Today I want you to get to know Ian Probert.

ian-probertIan Probert is best known in the US as the author of Internet Spy, a bestseller in 1995 that was also made into a movie. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed Rope Burns, as well as a number of other books.

In 2014, after a long illness, he returned to writing with his novel Johnny Nothing, a children’s book that is garnering great reviews.

Welcome, Ian! We’re so glad to have you on the ol’ blog today. I’ll just jump right in!

Authoring means using a lot of words. Which word or phrase do you most overuse? If you could mix it up  a little, what would you say in its place?

To be honest, the phrase I use the most is ‘to be honest’. I hear myself saying it all the time and try to pinch myself so hard as to draw blood. I know exactly where I picked it up from, too. It was from that amazing interview that Melvyn Bragg did with Dennis Potter, filmed a month or so before he died in 1994, I think. While we’re on that subject I’d recommend to everyone that they listen to that interview at least once before they die. Inspirational is an understatement.

Here’s a link to that interview on YouTube, if anyone is interested: Melvyn Bragg interviews Dennis Potter, 1994. For now, we’ll keep chatting. SO, Ian, when and where were you happiest?

I’ve never been happy and quite possibly never will be. At 54-years-of-age I’ve gotten used to the fact that it’s impossible for me to enjoy living. I just hope I don’t infect those around me with this malaise. It’s not fair to them.

That is a pretty dismal way to see your days. Sadly, I think it’s hard not to have an effect on others nearby when one feels that way. Somehow I doubt you’re a Debbie Downer, though. Your writing is infused with an underlying hope, as if you know there is happiness out there somewhere. Possibly it’s a fear of embracing it? But I digress! When you write, what is the most often recurring theme you recognize?

My father. He’s in literally everything I’ve ever written, even though it took me years to realise it. He died just over two years ago but if I close me eyes I can see him straight away. He’s in my mind constantly. He won’t go away. I love him and I hate him. Perhaps someone’s invented a word to describe this condition.

Probably. I don’t have a clue what, though! After reading your story, I find myself wishing I could take away everything that makes you hate him. As far as a word for that . . . anybody else have an idea? Making up new words for real things, now that’s a talent. Shakespeare had that talent. Speaking of, which talent would you most like to have?

To be really good at something, it doesn’t matter what it is. I really envy people who find their vocation, be it painting… Snooker… Woodwork… Breaking wind… Whatever it is. I wish that I was really really (in italics) good at anything. But I’m not. I’m average at everything and it annoys me.

*grabs phone and googles “snooker” under the table* Breaking wind. I wonder who has that talent. Anyone good at billiards is probably good at snooker *ahem*, and woodwork is not as easy as it looks. Of course, painting is one of those things that is hard to pin down when it comes to gauging talent, so I’m not even gonna go there. But I totally know how you feel. I find I’m a jack-of-all-trades sort of person, but it would be nice to be amazing at one thing while also loving doing that one thing. I think that’s the hardest part: finding that one thing you LOVE, doing it well, and getting paid for it! ha!

Describe how you imagine you’d react if you found yourself taken back in time to relive your life from an earlier point. You pick the point in time.

I’ve thought about this in the past. It would be one night in 1984 when I was young(er) and more innocent and found real love for the first time. A love that lasted only a night but nevertheless left an indelible impression on me. When I die perhaps that’s what heaven will be: to continually relive that night afresh.

When I think of reliving anything more than once, good or bad, it always reminds me of ‘Groundhog Day’ with Bill Murray (1993). I don’t think I’d like to relieve the same day over and over again, no matter how nice it was. But falling in love . . . what a feeling!

What is your most marked characteristic?

My horrible ugly bald head. That and an innate sense of honour that takes immediate offence when people don’t recognise that I’m being honourable.

Forgive my giggle. Your bald head, if I might say so, is not ugly. There is enough truth in what you say about honor and lack of recognition that I had to laugh a little. That’s what makes most jokes funny, their underlying hint of truth. I like these things about you.

If you could pick your best friend from anyone in the world, who would it be?

Well it’s my wife, no serious competition, who happens to be the most beautiful person – inside and out – I’ve ever met. She’s much more than I deserve, but I’m always aware that I’m on the brink of losing her. I’m punching far above my weight.

Can I just say, that’s romantic, Ian! You won her heart for a reason, so don’t worry about losing her so much as reminding her why she fell in love with you in the first place. That’s how you make your punches count. Of course, as I think of romance and winning your woman with boxing in mind, (who knows why) this song pops into my head:

 Now that I’m all wrapped up in thinking about heroes, who is your hero of fiction?

I don’t have any fictional heroes. I’m too pragmatic to think about fictional heroes.

I have a feeling you have a real-life hero somewhere in your life. I’ll save that question for another time! If you could find fame in the boxing world, in what role would that be? Boxer, Manager, Columnist, Sportscaster, etc?

As a writer. The only thing I’ve ever been above average at.

I wonder what it would take to become a famous boxing writer.  I suppose it’s a niche fame, for those in the boxing community, because it’s definitely a community. Do you have a motto? What is it?

You’ve got to be in it to win it. Which is ironic really, because I’ve never been in it.

Depends on what IT is exactly. Great motto, though. I like a lot of mottos, like . . . “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” and “do your best, forget the rest.” Tony Horton says that second one, and I tend to like his nerdy sense of humor and encouraging attitude.

And as Ian Probet likes to say (with my own little twist), get in it, y’all!

Thank you so much, Mr. Ian Probert, for stopping in for this little chat! It’s so great to have read your book, Dangerous, and have gotten this extra insight into who you are and where life has taken you.

Make sure you check out (AND BUY!) Ian’s books and connect with this man of deep thought and dry wit!


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