The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire)

“Gusreallyg­etsintomyh­eadinawayt­hatotherch­aracters...don’tseemto”

- By Tony Black

Wrecked

Philippa Gerrard spoke to Scottish crime novelist Tony Black to find out more about the return of the notorious Gus Dury

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Tony Black. The award-winning Scottish journalist and crime writer certainly left readers hanging after a nearly 10-year hiatus between novels in his much-loved Gus Dury series.

But after a stint in Australia and some time spent in Ireland, Tony was eventually drawn back to his home in Edinburgh just over a year ago.

Spending the best part of a decade away from the city meant that upon his return, Tony began to see Scotland’s capital in a new light.

He noticed quirks and changes that had previously passed him by, and soon enough he felt as though a shadow was following him throughout the city.

It was his old friend Gus Dury, ready to be resurrecte­d for another gritty crime novel.

Tony happily obliged. Here, he told Philippa Gerrard more about his latest novel, Wrecked.

• Your last Gus Dury novel was released back in 2010. Did you feel like you needed a break?

I’d been writing for the Scotsman in Edinburgh and they were getting rid of some staff at the time so I decided to take voluntary redundancy. I’d had enough of living in Edinburgh and writing about Edinburgh constantly. I felt like I was dragging around a ranting and raving alcoholic in my mind in the form of Gus Dury. I decided to move to Melbourne in Australia for a bit and it was just the break I needed to forget about him. When I came back I went to Ireland then to Ayr and later spent a few years on the Isle of Arran. By the time I came back to Edinburgh I had a fresh perspectiv­e on the place. I’d become immune to it before, but now I could see it all over again with new eyes.

• Can you tell us a little more about the plot of Wrecked?

Gus has cleaned up his act a bit. He’s gone back to journalism but it’s not really what he thought it would be anymore. Because he’s bored with his job he ends up getting persuaded into investigat­ing a missing persons case. On the surface it seems simple enough – an easy paycheck for him. But somehow it never is and he finds himself in over his head and involved with Edinburgh gangsters and all sorts.

• The Gus Dury books are all focused around Edinburgh. Do you stay faithful to real names and places throughout? It’s more or less all real places. There are a couple of fictional spots but it’s mostly all real-life Edinburgh with a touch of East Lothian. Writing about real places is a hard line to tread. Readers sometimes get in touch with the most ridiculous observatio­ns, like “why was he going that way to get there?” or “you know, he should have taken the number 26 bus not the number such-and-such because it’s more direct…” So I try to strike a fine balance.

• Did you always want to be a writer? Yeah, I decided from a young age that I wanted to be a novelist. But I ended up going into journalism because it seemed like the only thing I could do that I could actually make a living at. It wasn’t until I was a young journalist and interviewe­d the very successful Australian author Bruce Courtenay that I went back to the idea of being a writer. During the interview I told him I’d written a few books myself but that they were gathering dust under my bed. He asked how many I’d written and I said five. He told me to write one more as the average author gets published on their sixth attempt. So I did, and he was right. My sixth book was picked up by one of the biggest publishers in the world, Random House.

• It took 10 years to write this latest instalment in the Gus Dury series. Do you see another one in the pipeline?

I don’t know if there will be another one. Gus really gets into my head in a way that other characters I’ve written about just don’t seem to. And sometimes, when you write a series of novels, you can get a bit tired of the characters. But I surprised myself actually with this book, I enjoyed writing it. Usually I’ve got two or three books on the go at any one time, so I’m kind of working on a few different things right now. I’m also not as set in the crime fiction genre as I was in the past. I’ve found that if you follow what your interests are and where your imaginatio­n leads you then it translates to the page pretty well.

Wrecked by Tony Black is out now and available from Waterstone­s, Amazon and other online retailers. Pick up a copy of next week’s your life to read the first in a series of extracts from the novel.

To win one of three copies of Wrecked by Tony Black, simply send your name and address to yourlife@ajl.co.uk using the word Wrecked in the subject line

 ??  ?? Tony Black’s new novel Wrecked is the first to feature his character Gus Dury in a decade
Tony Black’s new novel Wrecked is the first to feature his character Gus Dury in a decade
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