Author of ‘Where the Bridge Lies’
Describe your book in three words
Pacy. Layered. Compelling.
What made you write this novel?
I’ve been lucky to live a long life that began with a Clydeside childhood, then moved through several career changes. Along the way, I rubbed up against a fascinating range of people and experiences. However, I should stress that the book isn’t some sort of disguised autobiography. It’s a made-up story, inhabited by characters who, with one exception, are creations of my imagination. The odd man out, and that’s a good description of him, is Charles Fourier, an eccentric 18thcentury French Utopian philosopher whose more bizarre ideas influence important twists and turns of the tale.
But why write this particular novel?
I think clues lie in long abandoned provisional titles – Connected Threads and Twisted Threads – with their hints that human life is really about connections at many levels: biological, personal, familial, cultural… the list goes on. Is it connections, not divisions, that enrich life, maybe even give it purpose?
Favourite character and why?
Nessa Glover is hard to pass by. Life deals her a very cruel hand but she not only survives, she transforms herself into a woman she could never have imagined at the beginning of the book. Funny thing about Nessa. She was a much less important character in my early notes, and in the first draft. But she kept tugging at my collar and whispering in my ear: ‘You’re not done with me yet.’
Now I’m starting to feel disloyal, so I can’t just stick with one favourite. Keir Connor was the hardest to get to grips with. He started life as an undercover Scottish journalist with a different name. I’m proud of the way he turned out. And I also have a very soft spot for Cyril.
How would you like your readers to react?
I want them to be attracted by the book cover, to pay at the till, then to start at the beginning and not be able to stop until the end. And to be captivated by the potent mix of emotions and events that propel the characters through the pages of Where the Bridge Lies.