Q&A: Stevenage author Aidan Caine

PUBLISHED: 08:33 28 October 2010 | UPDATED: 18:05 20 February 2013

Aidan Caine with Famouse

Aidan Caine with Famouse

Author, artist and actor Aidan Caine from Stevenage takes time out to tell Louise McEvoy about plans in the pipeline, why he changed his name, and how a near-death experience changed his outlook on life

You were the victim of a street attack in 2005. Do you remember what happened?
No, not a thing. I have been told that my loss of memory is the brains way of protecting itself. I nearly died, save for the excellent medical attention received at The Royal Free in London and Lister Hospital in Stevenage.

Has surviving the attack changed your outlook on life?
Yes, completely. Nearly dying has made me realise that we never know how much time we have, and so I work at a fast pace, just in case. Im more confident now and I am certainly more intuitive.

Born Kevin Walsh, why did you change your name to Aidan Caine?
I didnt like hearing my name called at auditions as it unsettled me and, as acting is all pretend, I found it easier to be someone else. Also, after my injury it felt right to start again with a new name. Caine because Sir Michael is a great inspiration and Aidan because I still wanted an Irish-sounding name as I am second generation Irish.

How did you come up with the idea for the series of illustrated books about Famouse The Mouse that Dreams of Fame?
I think that I was getting a bit frustrated in hospital, and certainly I wasnt able to be creative for some time due to my coma. Perhaps I just pushed and pushed at my creativity until something happened. He certainly pulled me through my recovery. I just didnt stop believing. Failure is not falling down, failure is staying down. Just keep going.

Why do you think Famouse has been so successful, and will there be another book in the series?
I think it has been successful simply because I believed him to be real. I guess nowadays almost everybody wants to be famous, and Famouse is based on that. There may well be another Famouse book. I am aware of how his adventure ends, but I am so busy with other things we will just have to wait and see what happens. I have started it though.

What other plans do you have in the pipeline?
Acting has taken a side step at present. Memory and balance problems mean stage work in particular would be difficult. I have at least four books out this year three childrens stories called Bling, Polar Bear on my Stair, and The Ballad of Horace Fart. A book called Its Only Rock n Roll will also feature 100 of my pen and ink caricatures of famous stars of popular music, each accompanied by a quote.

As an artist, where do you get your ideas from?
The ideas just come to me thick and fast. Sometimes, when I am walking my dog, an idea will come to me. I try to forget it, but you cant turn creativity off and you must attend to it when it calls. Its Only Rock n Roll took me one week to illustrate 100 pen and ink caricatures in one week, I must be mad!

How long have you lived in Stevenage and what do you most
like about the town?

I was born here 46 years ago and I like the towns vitality and warmth.

How would you advise a visitor to Hertfordshire spend their day?
Visit The Queen Mother Theatre and The Market Theatre in Hitchin. Fairlands Valley Lakes in Stevenage is also a joy. Ive been going there since I was a boy and I still enjoy walking my dog there. Its great and its free!

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