I suffer from an extreme case of Emulation Syndrome. This means I have to mimic anything which grabs my attention. As an avid reader I was compelled to try my hand at writing. That one worked out quite well. However, not so much when I developed an interest in dairy farming and got arrested for cattle rustling.
2. What drew you to write a novel
I was writing a short story called ’Dreaming in the Snakepark’ and was buggered if I could think of a snappy ending, so I just kept going. A year later I was astounded to find I’d unintentionally written my first novel.
3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing?
I think every book you read influences what you write, although some have more of an impact than others. For me writers like Ray Bradbury, Iain Banks, John Irving, Alasdair Gray, Stephen King, Peter Straub, Phil Rickman and John Connolly are gifted with different styles of writing I use as a broad template to shape my own scribblings.
4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest?
Any new writer, unless they dress up as a giant cucumber with pink spots and a tutu, is always going to struggle to snag the attention of a publisher. A more effective method involves suitcases full of cash, cocaine and Russian prostitutes.
5. There are many interesting characters in your Novel, do you have a particular favourite one?
Heart Swarm features a dead tarantula called Steph. In this book she doesn’t do much apart from getting chucked out a window. However, I have big plans for Steph. I may use some pseudo-science to reanimate her, pump her full of spider steroids and then have her rampage through Glasgow biting the heads off innocent passers-by.
6. What kind of research have you have to undertake for your Novel?
I’m pretty lazy when it comes to research. I did have a few pints in Cathedral House hotel to nail down the drinking scenes, then staggered around the Necropolis for a bit before falling asleep and getting sunburn. Further efforts at painstaking research involved seeing how many shop dummies I could fit into my chest freezer (one and a half) and hanging around Barlinnie prison until a burly bloke in a warden’s uniform told me to sod off or he’d call the police.
7. Are the characters in your books based on any real life?
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. (laughs up sleeve until red in the face and collapses in a heap on the carpet)
8. How do you feel about being on being on the list for the not so booker prize
I am? Wow, I feel excited beyond belief. Whooooo! (pumps fist in air three times) Hang on, you meant this question for someone else, didn’t you? Now I feel deflated and acutely embarrassed.
9. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa?
You’re having a go about the drinking and the womanising aren’t you? No, don’t deny it. Just because Will Harlan enjoys a gin or two and schmoozes with loose women doesn’t mean it’s a reflection of my own lifestyle. As for the Granny porn? Don’t even go there. The only character trait we share is Harlan’s belief the world revolves around him and no one else.
10. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you might planned.
Right now, I’m putting the finishing touches to a book called ‘Wasp Latitudes’ which is the sequel to Heart Swarm. I’ve never written a follow on book before so it’s been an interesting experience, especially trying to gauge how much of the previous novel I need to refer back to. It sometimes annoys me in other books when characters undergo a life-changing and traumatic series of events and in the next book they carry on as if nothing happened. Life doesn’t work that way. Even fictional life.
11. If you had the opportunity to write a novel with any crime writer alive or dead, who would it be and why
I’d plump for JRR Tolkien whose first book was basically about burglary, so that technically makes him a crime writer. I loved Lord of the Rings, but I hated all those boring Elvish poems and sonnets. I’d have talked him into replacing those with contemporary lyrics of his time period – like ‘Hey Senorita’ by the Penguins or Doris Day’s ‘Secret Love’.
12. Do you have words of advice you can share with anyone who is intrested in writing a novel
Just go for it. There’s nothing wrong about having a God complex. But never let your mother read your finished work. It leads to highly awkward conversations about the misuse of loofahs.
It feels like history is repeating itself when out-of-favour detective Will Harlan gets summoned to a crime scene in the village of Brackenbrae after a young girl is found hanging in the woods.
Five years ago Harlan headed up the investigation of an identical murder in the same woods; a mishandled investigation that effectively destroyed his credibility as a detective. The new case immediately takes a bizarre twist when the body is identified as the same girl found hanging in the woods five years ago.
The following day a local man commits suicide and the police find more dead girls hidden in his basement. The case seems open and closed.
Until the killing spree begins.
Harlan finds himself drawn into a dark world where murder is a form of self-expression and human life treated as one more commodity to be used and discarded.
The only clue that links everything is a large oil painting of ‘Sagittarius A’ – a massive black hole at the centre of the galaxy orbited by thirteen stars daube
Dreaming in the Snakepark
The Garden of Remembrance
…And Other Stories
Mezzanine and Other Curiously Dark Tales
(As The Reverend Strachan McQuade) Invergallus
Amazon Author Page