What type of writer are you?
My fiction and poetry revolve round topics rather than relationships. Favourite topics are politics, genealogy, time and evolution. With a hint of the paranormal. Fiction is character-led rather than plot-led. Characters (including their dialogue and their surroundings) must ring true and develop. I write in English, Glaswegian and Doric. With a nod towards Gaelic. My short stories are still mostly in English but moving towards Scots. My poems are already mostly in Scots. It’s important for me to have my poems sound musical (I use some rhyme) and Scots is more onomatopoeic.
What keeps you motivated in the process of writing a book?
I’m not a prolific writer. Unless I’m asked to write something I only start when inspired by an idea. Then the novel/story/poem writes itself. I don’t start at the beginning and write to the end; whenever I go up to my study I plunge into one of the characters or episodes and add more development. Novel writing is like method acting – I assume the role and react to the situation as the character would.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Political campaigning. I’m heavily involved in Pre-Scottish Independence groups. I’m also in
PEN. Otherwise: travelling – most recently to India and Nepal on holiday and to political demos in Germany and the Netherlands. My partner is German and my son lives in Amsterdam. I go ceilidh dancing and sing in a choir. I keep animals – tropical fish and cats.