Tell us about your latest creation:
The title of my latest novel Blood Whispers was inspired by a quote from Hermann Hesse: “I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question the stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teachings my blood whispers to me.” Keira lynch is a criminal lawyer working in Glasgow, Scotland. She has taken on a case involving a young prostitute who has escaped the clutches of a Serbian drug gang. When the CIA get involved Keira realises that things aren’t quite as straight forward as she’d first imagined. What no one realises though is that Keira has a secret of her own and she’s never more dangerous than when she’s under threat. The question is: will she trust her instinct and listen to the message her blood is whispering to her?
I was born in Glasgow, although I have lived in London for the past 34years. My wife is Scottish too and we still have a lot of family there so we travel back and forward a lot. We’re never away from Scotland long enough to miss it. I still refer to it as home.
When you were a kid, what did you want to become? An author?:
When I was a kid I had no real idea what I wanted to do in life. I still think it’s impossible to make up your mind without having experience of whatever your chosen profession might be. The only ambition I really had was to be in a Woody Allen movie…either that or become Batman. I’m still tempted by the latter.
What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:
Blood Whispers is only my second novel, but I enjoyed the writing process much more than the first (Seventy times Seven). I think the positive reaction to the first gave me more confidence, so If I had to choose i’d probably go for Blood Whispers. Although having said that, I have a nagging feeling that the best is yet to come.
Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:
I write in a hut at the bottom of my garden called the Roald Dahl social club. I have a flame-effect fire on the wall, a sofa bed and a beer fridge. If it had running water and a Nespresso machine i’d move in permanently. I try to keep it fairly tidy, because I find mess to distracting, but I write ideas on anything that comes to hand so my desk is littered with torn bits of envelopes, scraps of paper and even the odd sheet of loo role.
When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:
I read a lot of non-fiction. That’s where most of the best ideas are hidden; Noam Chomsky, Richard Dawkins, Anne Cadwallader. For fiction, Elmore Leonard, Dickens, Iain Banks, Patrick Suskind, Cormac Macarthy, Albert Camus and Vladimir Nabakov are pretty high up the list of favourites. Any one of them could take the top spot.
What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:
I read a lot of Enyd Blyton when I was young but the books that made the biggest impact were the Lord of The Rings trilogy. I still remember the thrill of discussing the story in the playground and to this day am slightly envious of people who belong to reading groups and book clubs. It was the first time i became aware of words being able to paint pictures in your head.
If you were a literary character, who would you be?:
Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye. I’m roughly the same height and share his utter disdain for Hypocracy and “the phonies”.
Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:
I have two young children so spare time has been missing off the options list for quite a few years now. I used to ride a motorbike and race jet-ski’s. (I cmae 2nd in the first championships in held in Scotland) When the kids are a bit older I’ll get my helmet back on and get out there.
What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:
If it ever came to the point I was asked what my last supper would be i’d opt for Crispy Aromatic Duck and a cold beer, preferably a St Mungo (it’s brewed in Glasgow and is only one of a few beers in Britain granted the German standard for purity).
Who is your hero? Why?:
My Dad. I remember going into the pub with him when i was in my early twenties and everyone telling me what a great guy he was. “Do anything for you, a real gentleman and one of the good guys,” were the typical sort of comments. I want to be more like him.
Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:
The convenience of ebooks has made them very popular, but their sales are starting to plateau. I have one myself, but I still prefer a book. No matter what form your reading takes your always going to need content and with the cost of a novel running at about half that of a cinema ticket, i’d much rather have ‘words’ creating images in my head than someone visualising it for me on a big screen. I think the future’s a bright one.