What’s your writing background? When did you begin writing and what inspired you?
I’ve always believed that children (and adults) try to emulate anything which becomes a powerful passion in their lives. While most kids I hung around with wanted to be footballers, train drivers, drug dealers etc, I was swept away by the power of the written word, and wanted to be Enid Blyton – became a bit of a laughing stock at school when I turned up in a cardigan/tweed skirt ensemble. My parents, and the headmaster, were relieved when I progressed to reading Denis Wheatley and bought a smoking jacket.
By the way, what kind of booth is this? I’ve been sitting here for four minutes and still not had my picture taken.
How often do you write? And how do you manage to fit in writing among other commitments?
At the moment, I’m writing in every spare moment. It’s all a question of focus and discipline. You have to be strong-willed and let other pastimes (sleeping, going to the toilet) fall by the wayside. Because of this strict regime, I’ve still not had a chance to dance along to Davina McCall’s Body Buff fitness DVD that someone bought me for Christmas.
Erm…. Is the door of this booth meant to locked? Just wondering.
In which genre do you most enjoy writing?
I suppose the genre I’ve been most drawn to over the years is the field of dark fiction. Horror, ghosts, paranormal, and crime I find all naturally cross over and by using different combinations, you can shape them into whatever amorphous blob of gore-stained narrative you require to carry the tale. In saying that, I love doing comedy too. I spent five years writing comedy sketches for the BBC, which in hindsight was a huge mistake as I got entrenched in assembly-line script writing, constantly working to some over-demanding producer’s deadlines and I was always too drained to write anything else when I did finally get a few spare minutes.
Still no flashing bulbs in here, Ruth. Are you sure this booth actually works?
What draws you to write in that genre?
Who knows why anyone writes in any particular genre without spending a considerable amount of time on a psychiatrist’s couch. We all travel along different tracks without being consulted by the grinning (hooded is optional) stationmaster who pulls the levers on the switching gear, sending us off on our own personal journey. I only know that as a child, I always more interested in watching Scooby Doo and Boris Karloff than tuning in to Blue Peter and learning the best uses for sticky-back plastic and wire coat hangers.
Don’t want to alarm you, but there wisps of smoke coming from the speaker grill.
Can you tell me about your current project(s)?
Right now, I’m finishing off a short story for an Australian anthology of Fortean themed horror stories. I’m also busy with an alternative interview-style blog called Dead Man Talking, fronted by my alter-ego The Reverend Strachan McQuade, a dead but rather lively Church of Scotland minister. McQuade specialises in asking my favourite writers pointless questions and causing them physical discomfort. It’s entertaining drivel. It got a bit uncomfortable last summer with the sock-puppet scandal but Strachan ain’t no sock-puppet. He’s even written his own Kindle book, ‘Invergallus’ which the Scottish Tourist Board have threatened to remove from Amazon due to a financially-crippling drop in the annual tourism statistics, which they blame on his book.
It really is hot in here and the smoke is getting worse. I’ve just dialled 999. Thought I should let you know.
What are your writing plans for the future?
It’s been a few years since I’ve written a full-length novel, so that’s what I’m committed to doing this year. I did think of jumping ship and writing a romantic bodice-ripper full of wriggling, whalebone corsets and thrusting codpieces but I guess it’ll probably end up being something dark and involve lots of dead people. Old habits die hard.
My legs are burning. Get me out of here! Help! Help!
Where can people find out more about you?