The Scots author will be discussing the inspiration behind his Tartan Noir thrillers at Bloody Scotland
A Wee Blether With…
What’s the first thing you ever wrote?
The first thing I remember sitting down to write properly was a short story about somebody shrinking, way back in Primary 5.
What’s your favourite book to read?
The book that really got me into reading was Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. I always read ferociously when I was a kid, but that was the book that really took me on to another level.
When do you write?
When the world gets quiet, I find it much easier to write, so I do most of my work at night. My wife is a writer too (Alexandra Sokoloff) – she starts writing at eight in the morning and is all done by the time I’m just beginning!
Do you have a writing soundtrack?
I usually write in silence. If I do listen to music while I write, I find myself typing along in time to the music!
How do you celebrate finishing a book?
I have a bottle of champagne and a black pudding supper!
What has been your favourite novel to write –sofar?
It’s always the next one! I did really enjoy writing The Last Refuge, though. It’s the first book that’s taken me out of Glasgow. It’s set in the Faroe Islands, so I had to do a lot of research including going there!
What’s been the highlight of your career?
It has to be winning the Crime Writers Poker Tournament at Harrogate last year! But also just getting to meet and spend time with other crime writers whose work I enjoy has been real a highlight. I never thought I’d be hanging around with people like Mark Billingham, Chris Brookmyre, Ian Rankin and Val Mcdermid. I’d love to score in the Scotland vs England Crime Writers’ match at Bloody Scotland. I’m desperate to score against Luca Veste. If I could do that, I’d die a happy man.
If you could solve any crime mystery, what would it be?
The Elizabeth Short murder (in Los Angeles in 1947). One of my favourite crime novels, The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy, centres around it. I’d love to know what really happened.
How do you relax when you’re not writing?
I love to travel. My wife’s American so we’re often flying over there or exploring someplace new. I also really enjoy cooking. It gives me time to think about what I’m going to write about next.
If you could invite five people to a dinner party, living or dead, who would they be?
Jack the Ripper, whoever he or she may be, Lee Harvey Oswald, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rosa Parks and Mary Queen of Scots. I’m not sure if they’d all survive it, but it definitely wouldn’t be dull!
There’s more about Bloody Scotland on page 62, where your book expert Dawn Geddes chooses her top events from this year’s festival.