"From a creative standpoint I’d love to have travelled on any one of Captain Cook’s voyages with all the Boro lads..."

Author Q&A: we catch up with Will Nett on one of his rare ventures back to the Boro.

"From a creative standpoint I’d love to have travelled on any one of Captain Cook’s voyages with all the Boro lads..."

Will Nett, the author of Local Author Writes Book, once spent a year researching golf for his book The Golfer’s Lament, wrote up his trip around the world in his book Billy No Maps, and is more famous in Teesside for his first book My Only Boro that sat at the top of Waterstones’ charts for three Christmases in a row. Will is also a Harvey regular with his weird and wonderful short fiction.

We catch up with Will as he heads to the UK for a rare stay back in the smog.

Q: Will, where have you been and how was it?

A: I’ve just returned from Morocco ahead of social and summer events around Crossing the Tees. I’ll be at Stockton library on Wednesday 12th June alongside other authors talking all things books. Ahead of that I’m making early research enquiries into an idea that someone contacted me about while I was away, but that is likely a project for next year.   

Q: What are you working on now and what’s the next book we can expect?

A: I continue to work on my first novel, Hogweed, which I started almost two years ago, but broke off at times for other work. It’s a sprawling tale of deception and criminality based on my own travels across Europe and North Africa over the last decade or so. I hope to have a completed first draft by the autumn, by which time I expect to be travelling again.

Q: If you could time-travel back to anywhere, when and where in the world would you go?

A: On a practical level I would return to Stockholm in Spring 2023 to see if I can find the much-missed hat that I lost somewhere near Djurgarden, but from a creative standpoint I’d love to have travelled on any one of Captain Cook’s voyages with all the Boro lads. 

Q: Where do you write and what does your perfect writing spot look like?

A: Quite literally, out of a backpack, such is the nature of travelling; airport floors/train stations/ferry ports… As a fixed base I tend to work from home in a dilapidated shack at the bottom of the garden. No, really. I do. 

Q: Is there a novel you’d love to write if you had infinite time available?

A: There’s a long list of novels I’d like to write, and I’ve already started on it. Of course, I cannot divulge any details of them here due to the deteriorating heart condition of my solicitor. I would love to revisit My Only Boro given how much has changed in the near-fifteen years since it was published. Maybe a twentieth anniversary follow-up would be as well received. Let’s get the ol’ gang back together!

Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever encountered, in the UK or in the world?

A: I couldn’t even begin to rank the weirdness of some of my travel experiences so you would have to take your pick on reading my books; pinging golf balls into the sea off the coast of Reykjavik; press-ganged by Scientologists in Copenhagen; shooting craps with Pamela Anderson’s ex-husband in Las Vegas; getting punched in the head in the back of the Middlebeck Social Club whilst researching a piece on backyard boxing fights – you should’ve seen the other guy, etc, etc – looking for the Loch Ness monster in the midst of Covid; stranded in the Australian Outback for a week. You must let it all happen to you.

Q: What short story ideas are you working on for future Harveys, and which basket excites you the most?

A: I’m not sure which basket, if any, it would fall into, but I’ve just finished a draft of a story where the ‘real’ Harvey Duckman pursues and confronts the authors that have ‘stolen his identity’.

Q: What advice would you give anyone starting out on their writing and publishing adventure?

A: Shut up and get on with it. And remember; everything is writing material. EVERYTHING. Oh, and always maintain a piece of your work; never sign away full rights to it. Or you could simply ignore all advice; after all, nobody knows anything.

Check out Will's books on Amazon.

Will Nett: books, biography, latest update
Follow Will Nett and explore their bibliography from Amazon.com’s Will Nett Author Page.

by Will Nett
First published in Harvey Duckman Volume 13, June 2023

“I’ve got the list, here. No arguing. Alright?”

“Robbie… Paddington.”

The group burst into laughter.

“Pipe down,” I ordered. “Shut up, all of you.”

“Marmalade sandwiches for bait, that day,” Mac joked, rocking back in his chair.

“Mac,” I said, louder this time, “Yogi Bear.”

The laughter ramped up further.

“Ey, Mac,” Robbie said, “don’t forget your collar and tie.”

“Leon. Winnie-the-Pooh.”

The men fell about once again, screeching, this time.

“Fine by me,” Leon said, “I like walking around with no trousers on.”

“What about you, Guv?” Robbie asked, regaining his composure.

“Yellow scarf and matching trousers for me,” I said, “Rupert the fucking Bear.”

“Makes sense,” Mac replied, “ponsing about like a golf club wanker, swinging a cravat around.”

“I need to be a bit more accessible than you lot if I’m gonna be upfront running the show,” I said, “and, there’ll be hundreds of Ruperts, Winnies, Yogis and Padddingtons for maximum confusion.”

“Yeah, how will we know which ones are us?” Leon asked.

“I’ll explain tomorrow,” I said. “All back here at 6am.”

“6am?” Leon, opined.

“I want everyone here before any road closures, emergency services and the like are on site. If you can’t get here for 6am, you better look for another job.”

“Righto, Boss,” Mac agreed.

“Remember. Boiler suits, Hi-viz and hard hats when you’re coming in, no matter how you’re getting here. All of you on foot. All the kit’s here. Got it?”

The men nodded in unison...

Read the full story of The Teddy Bears' Quick Nick by Will Nett in this week's Harvey Is Alive! newsletter.