Colin Cotterill is the author of The Coroner’s Lunch, Thirty-Three Teeth, Disco for the Departed, and Anarchy and Old Dogs, featuring seventy-three year old Dr. Siri Paiboun, national coroner of Laos. He and his wife live in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he teaches at the university.
From his Q & A with PBS:
You’ve traveled and lived all over the world. Where did your wanderlust come from? And why do you think travel is important?Visit Colin Cotterill's website and his Crimespace page.
I think being born English has something to do with it. England seemed limited to me. I always wanted to know what everybody else was doing and something told me they were doing it better elsewhere.
I made one or two trips to Europe with my school and my blood was tainted for life. For 26 years, the longest I spent in any one place was eighteen months. I was forever looking for new experiences. Most of my school friends had settled into “the comfort of the known.” Few of them took chances. In my mind that was like only using ten percent of your personality. I reveled in the unexpected, the revelation of making new friends and learning new jobs, the honeymoon with a new place and a different culture.
Cartooning was your first artistic pursuit. Where do you get your ideas? Do you think it plays into your writing now at all?
I was born with two traits that have really helped me through life. I have a vast imagination, and I’m weird. I love the quirky side of life. I get a thrill out of the ridiculous and it means I’m always looking for it. For a while I was drawing weekly cartoons for a publication and I was afraid I might run out of ideas. But when your imagination lets you down there’s always “real life.” And making it up is never as funny as the actual foolishness of man.
This cartoonist eye undoubtedly helped when I started to write. You have to see things, not as they are, but as you can lampoon them. You need to give your readers lots of, “Yeah, that’s how it is,” moments. You “see” on their behalf. Our planet is inhabited by a large number of nondescript people. But a book can’t be...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: Anarchy and Old Dogs.
My Book, The Movie: Curse of the Pogo Stick.