Gregg Cunningham Interview: The Mind Behind Redux

Let us start by congratulating you on finding a home for your masterwork. We’ve heard rumors that this project has been in your back pocket (and on your mind) for many years. Now that the moment of sharing your vision with the world is finally upon us, we want to take a moment to dump the hard-hitting questions upon you. Ready?

*Hit me, it’s 5am here- so I guess now is the best time to catch me off guard. I will, however, read the answers over, delete any profanity and begin answering again later to perfect my off-the-cuff remarks at least one hundred times to sound spontaneous and clever. ~ Gregg

What was your inspiration for Redux?

Every N.C.O (non-commissioned officer to we non-service types) who trained me up as a kid, shaking their head and wishing they were somewhere else other than stood is the rain watching over me with a soggy cigarette poking from their mouth.

Redux is every Sergeant I provoked.

Redux is every drunken fight I lost.

Redux is every old boy who tried to tell me I was wrong.

Redux is listening to Pink Floyd albums in my hammock, swinging away the days with a cold stubby in my hand waiting reluctantly for the needle to hit the last song, knowing I would have to get up and turn the record over.

Redux is those moments.

How long have you been working on Redux, and how did the story change/evolve over time?

I reckon I’ve spent a fair amount of time returning to this idea over the years. I thought it would be fun to try while I was working away from home. Kept me busy thinking up plot holes and how to work around them. Then after a couple of years writing off and on, I got about halfway through and realized I was basically just rewriting Star Wars. So, I started again, then again…and again until finally, we had a character born from bad ideas.

2016-2021. Not bad, eh?

How did you decide upon a starting point to tell your tale? Was it difficult?

Originally yeah it was a bloody nightmare. All I wanted to do was have a laugh and tell a story, but the inner voice of Floyd kept trashing everything I wrote. His voice would come up with a really stupid argument and I would spend days trying to counter, deleting whole chapters just because Floyd said it was cliché. I had my start, my middle and my end, but no, Floyd said start with the middle of the tale then jump back to the beginning. So, I did. Then Floyd said, only joking, maybe try starting at the end, then work from the middle.

Fuck you Floyd!

Were there any parts that you especially enjoyed writing? On the opposite side of that coin what parts were difficult for you?

I really enjoy trying to trip myself up writing paradox ideas, taking myself to the extreme and asking the really dumb questions. The blank staring face of Floyd is actually the same staring face I make after I write some weird ass grandfather paradox and say fuck-it, lets see what happens if I do this bootstrap paradox theory add a little twist of lemon.

I can be stuck on one idea for weeks trying to outwit myself, have a head-full of dead-end pathways trying to work out an idea until the end.

Saying goodbye always leaves me with a lump in my throat, and for Redux it’s all too often.

Redux spends his whole life fighting and traveling from place to place—is that something you’ve experienced too? Were you able to draw from your own life experiences in creating the character/ story?

I’ve worked with some old boys in my time who gave good advice and told great life stories. Many of the guys I served with were finishing their careers and had to pass on their knowledge to the likes of me, a young cocky know it all who didn’t have a clue about living but thought he did. I’ve seen the tired look in their eyes as they recite their tales from fading memories, always counting down the days to when they can retire and sit back without having to watch the likes of me fuck up continuously. But I always watched them from the perspective of that young cocky kid, taking the piss at how slow they had become and how all they done was sit on their sandbags swinging their storytelling lamps.

They would shrug and say things like ‘you just wait for your bones to ache and your sight to fade sonny’ or ‘Never pass up on the chance to take a leak’

Now, thirty years on, when I look in the mirror all I see is the same tired eyes staring back, realizing all I have done all day is tell my own stories of when I was younger. That and look out for my next toilet break.

“When I was seventeen, it was a very good year…” Frank Sinatra.

Do you ever find yourself fighting the desire to kill off any of your beloved characters?

No, not these days. I need nostalgia more than ever to get me through each day. Things are changing so fast out there in entertainment land, opinions are running rampant. I want to keep my outdated male idols in my head as long as I can. John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Buck Rogers, Roland Deschain.

Would you like to tell us more about your creative process, and how significant a role that big whiteboard of yours plays in it?

Music is my window to storytelling. I love a good concept album where I can sit and make my own pictures up in my head as to the tale being told.

Sometimes a chorus will stick in my head for days as I try to work out the meaning of some old forgotten rift.

The board hah, the board tells me where I left my characters because I lose them all the time. Just like my keys. Also, I forget their rank and have to go back to make sure I haven’t promoted them too often.

I doodle my ideas, my time loops, my paradoxes until my board marker pens run dry.

I leave questions hoping that Floyd will answer.

I leave sweary words cussing my inner voice for going silent.

It’s my Ouija board to Floyd.

It also reminds me that time is not linear (cheers for that JD) and I mustn’t forget where I parked the Pig.

We know you like to interconnect stories, so will we see more of Redux and company in the future?

The future? In Redux’s world – Time is not linear. (Thanks for that explanation, JD) So, yeah …he’ll be back.

I have ideas, plenty world building between the Moon and Big Red, the thing is, do people want to hear them?

Which authors do you enjoy reading?

Recently, Pamela Jeffs’ new work. She will always leave me thinking after reading her sci-fi stuff. I’m enjoying the 224-Verse, looking forward to seeing where Jason Russell is going with that idea. Sam Philips, David Bowmore and a few others continue to pique my interest, but honestly, I haven’t read any new mainstream books in years. Can’t be bothered with what they tell me anymore. I’ll pick up a Stephen King novel now and then, but yeah, nah.

What are you reading at the moment?

Relics, Wrecks and Ruins by Aiki Flintheart. I need to get into a certain head-space for a current project I’m working on and that has the perfect ambiance.

Which is your favorite story among the ones you’ve written/published so far (excluding Redux, of course)?

Wardenclyffe is a blast. Another old boy fighting his campaign against evil, trying to compete with the young’uns. He’s off on another adventure in my head, I just have to catch up with the old duffer and tell his tale of daring do some time down the track.

Where can readers learn more about you/ your writing?

No idea, but if anybody reading this finds out, please let me know because I have no clue how or why I do what I do.

Can I just take this opportunity to thank all the editors out there who make all my storytelling possible? I never realized the pain I caused them until I recently started reading their markups.

I’m no writer, I tell stories and hope you guys understand them enough to tidy the words up and put them in the correct order to read.

For that, I am eternally grateful to all the editors I have broken.

My blog is here if you want to stop by and say hello.

Gregg’s debut novel Redux: The Lost Patrol is available now from Starry Eyed Press in paperback and will be live in ebook format on December 17th on Amazon.

5 thoughts on “Gregg Cunningham Interview: The Mind Behind Redux

  1. who is this storytelling genius?

    cheers starry eyed press. the publishing process with you guys has been a blast.
    Very proffessional and enlightening with a very fine end result.

    Liked by 1 person

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