The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Gregory Hughes

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The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Gregory Hughes

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Summary: Gregory Hughes's Unhooking the Moon came straight at us of leftfield and is one of our favourite books of the year so far. It's a bittersweet road trip of a novel, featuring a loyal brother, a street hustler, a cigar smuggler, a chart-topping rapper, some goddamn paedophiles, and the most entrancing central character you're ever likely to meet. Unsurprisingly, we jumped at the chance of asking Gregory a few questions.
Date: 27 April 2010
Interviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy

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Gregory Hughes's Unhooking the Moon came straight at us of leftfield and is one of our favourite books of the year so far. It's a bittersweet road trip of a novel, featuring a loyal brother, a street hustler, a cigar smuggler, a chart-topping rapper, some goddamn paedophiles, and the most entrancing central character you're ever likely to meet. Unsurprisingly, we jumped at the chance of asking Gregory a few questions.

  • Bookbag: When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?

Gregory Hughes: All sorts of people really, young and old. When I was writing it I aimed for a crossover. And so I hope it can be enjoyed by anyone. And I always imagine them reading it on a train - I don't know why.

  • BB: The Rat is a delightful and unique central character and we're sure she'll find her way into the hearts of everybody who reads Unhooking the Moon. Is she a creation of the head or the heart? Or is she someone you know?

GH: She is a mixture of two kids: she looks like my brother's kid Julie. When she was ten (she's now 30) she had huge blue eyes and her pointy ears used to protrude from her mousey blonde hair. She looked like an elf. But her character has a lot of my godson Russell. He was always wild and precocious and he had every other kid on his estate terrified with "the paedophiles." I don't know where he heard about them but he was always on the lookout for one. He never found any, I'm glad to say, and now he plays football for Rochdale.

  • BB: Can you hustle as well as Tommy, the down-and-out gambling lawyer?

GH: I wish I could. I'd make a fortune!

  • BB: All the characters in the book are idiosyncratic in one way or another, but they all show inner strength when the chips are down. Do you think we all have this potential?

GH: Hopefully we do. I think life wears you down, especially as we get older, but I like to we all have some sort of reserves we can draw on - especially when it comes to doing the right thing.

  • BB: You have led an eventful life: youth detainee, homeless person, New York skyscraper window cleaner, removal man, deep sea diver, and now writer. What did you want to be when you were a little boy?

GH: I wanted to be the heavyweight champion of the world. I'm not kidding, that's what I wanted to be. The thing is I'm not that big. And I don't like being hit. Anyone hit me I got out the ring and went home.

  • BB: The Rat is a child of faith. How do you approach religion?

GH: I am not religious. It's not that I do not believe in the existence of God. I do not believe in religion. But I am a fan of Buddhism and I absolutely believe in karma.

  • BB: In real life, do you swear or beep?

GH: I am such a potty mouth. Sometimes, in situations where I can't swear, I become lost for words.

  • BB: What would be your desert island book?

GH: I would have to say Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. For a book that centres around a horrific murder he manages to show such compassion to all concerned, even the murderers.

  • BB: What book should all children read?

GH: Huckleberry Finn. Not Tom Sawyer.

  • BB: What's next for Gregory Hughes?

GH: Hopefully I will continue writing. At present I am trying to learn how to write a great script.

  • BB: Ooh, good luck with the script. Thanks, Gregory!

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