Paul started writing at the tender age of seven, mostly ripping off Indiana Jones movies over two sides of A4 while sitting at his nan's table. Though other tables may have also been involved.
A hiatus of some years followed before he rediscovered his old passion, but still a fairly young fella, he realised he needed a little more seasoning in order to better grasp the kinds of things he'd like to write about. So he did a bunch of other stuff and waited for the years to teach him a few things. And the years have not disappointed.
He has worked as a gravedigger, a goatherd, a farm and construction labourer, a chauffeur, as a member demolition crew, among other things, and even once had a job in an office - which he did not take to. He currently works as a freelance writer and a teacher, alongside other projects, with the odd bit of manual labour occasionally thrown in to keep him honest. He's sometimes based around London, but more and more frequently finds himself in other climes. His stories tend to deal with the conflicts and dark edges of ordinary lives, and should you take the time to read one of them, he'd be much obliged to you.
Paul Lahert in 60 seconds
When did you start writing?Once upon a time while I was supposed to be doing something else.
What do you love about short stories?To steal from and paraphrase Raymond Carver, the fact that when done well they can lower (or indeed raise) the reader's body temperature a degree or two. No mean feat for eight pages or so.
Do you write in other forms?Salty haikus, bawdy limericks and illegible notes to self.
What distracts you from writing?Working for coin and mess. The kitchen is always very clean when I sit down to write. My teenage self would be appalled.
Outside of writing, what are your other passions?Fixing stuff. Wandering. Picking up phrases in languages I don't speak. Improving the ones I do. Crystal Palace FC. Boxing. Songs about "trouble". Schadenfreude and digging. The last two are only occasionally connected.
What is your favourite book?Cutter and Bone by Newton Thornberg is a book I force on friends and they tend to be very grateful for the imposition.
Who are your favourite writers?Graham Greene - Did you know he once entered an "Imitate Graham Greene" competition and came second?, Lucia Berlin - To be that good doing it in your spare time? Blimey... and T.C. Boyle - His short stories can be savage but are superb. And damn do they linger.
Where is your dream location?Despite numerous months spent there, Brazil remains an itch I keep wanting to scratch.
What one item would you put into Room 101?Yeah... I'm gonna need more room for this.
Do you have any advice for new writers?You can fix bad writing, but you can't fix no writing. A penny that, personally, took a long time to drop.
Work by Paul Lahert:
More Than Cold
Some things are better left unfound. After weeks working offshore and away from his wife, a man waits to be reunited with her in a hired cottage. However, she's running late and into the void of her absence comes a feeling that something is wrong, and a persistent chill that won't just leave him be.
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