Tell us about yourself, Kevin. What do you like to do when you’re not a writer?
I’m a journalist from Dundee, Scotland, who now lives and works in Glasgow. I’ve been working as a sports journalist since the age of 19, which is now sadly 20 years ago. When I’m not working or writing, I’m usually listening to music, watching or playing football, or updating my website rhesuspark.com, which is perhaps the world’s only spoof monkey park.
What inspires you to write?
I mostly write to amuse myself, creating situations and characters that make me laugh. I also want to leave a piece of me that future generations of my family can see. One of my writing projects is a diary of things my daughter has done for every year since her birth. She will have no memory of these precious moments so I want to make sure they are recorded so she can look back at pictures and read the story behind them as well. I’ve kept it going for the first four years and hope to have a record right up until she turns 18.
What a lovely idea for your daughter! Tell me about your journey as a writer. When did you start and how do you keep the creative juices flowing?
I’ve been writing most my life but that has mainly been journalism. It all began with a school newspaper day that got me gripped when I was about 12 or 13. That led to me studying journalism at university then I started working for newspapers while I was still studying. It began with writing lower league match reports for the Sunday Mail and that led to a staff job as a sports reporter with the same paper. I then evolved into a sub-editor and production journalist, which is my current role. In terms of creative writing, I dabbled in poetry for a while before starting my first novel Moristoun in 2012. It was finally published two years later.
Give us the elevator pitch for your book.
Moristoun is an island Scottish people are sent to in the afterlife when they have died by suicide. Buchan, a lawyer who has been trapped there for over 200 years, finds out he can move to a higher realm if he helps to stop modern-day Scots from killing themselves. He is tasked with saving McSorely and brings him back to Moristoun to work as his assistant in a bid to boost his self-esteem. McSorely slowly starts to discover the reality of Moristoun and things take a dark turn when he falls for Gail, the daughter of the landlord at the Tortured Soul pub. Gail is the only other mortal in Moristoun, having been brought there by Buchan as a baby when her mum died, and her fate becomes linked to McSorely.
Do you have a favourite character in your story? Who is most like you?
My favourite character is Buchan. He is the most intelligent and suave of all the people on Moristoun, having read every book at the library. He was great fun to write as he is always coming up with insightful quotes and wins any battle of wits. I’d like to say I’m the most like him, but I’d be lying. I resemble McSorely more and share a lot of his character flaws. If my life had been as tough as his, I’d probably be in the same bind.
Who would you like to see play your characters in a movie?
Peter Capaldi would make a great Buchan while I’d like to see Ewan McGregor as McSorely. Gail is a lot harder to cast as I don’t know many Scottish actresses who are 17-18. Give it to an unknown actress and pray she doesn’t make an arse of it like Sophia Coppola in the Godfather III
Do you have a favourite time of day and place to write? Do you have a routine?
When I was writing Moristoun, I woke up at 7am every morning and spent the first hour or two writing. This was the only way I could find the discipline to write the book and keep the ideas flowing. If I write at night I find too many things to distract me and due to work commitments I can’t do it every day. Since the birth of my daughter, I’ve had to stop the 7am writing shifts and that’s had a big impact on my output. I need to get back into the habit of writing every day.
Children are good at rearranging schedules! What do you do to market your book?
It’s mostly done on Twitter and Facebook, although I have held a couple of signings in book shops. One was a disaster and the other went quite well. Just after Moristoun was released, I contacted a lot of book bloggers to see if they would be interested in writing a review and this proved quite successful. I recently made a trailer for the book, having been annoyed by the poor quality of the one made by my publisher. This has been another good way to market the book as people now prefer videos to reading. In addition to that, I’ve joined a few groups on Facebook. The group Books Go Social has been a great way of meeting fellow writers and sourcing more reviews. I attempted to get book groups interested in looking at Moristoun and giving me feedback and was thrilled when a group from a university in Glasgow agreed to take part. But it didn’t end well. After giving them 22 free copies, I waited for months and months for them to get back in contact with me. I emailed the student who had organised everything and sent messages on social media but got no reply. Even when I got in touch with the university they just fobbed me off, saying there was nothing they could do as it wasn’t an official group. An expensive mistake.
Who are you three top author crushes? Who would you most like to meet?
My three favourites are Victor Serge, Gunter Grass and Roddy Doyle, although I’d like to stress there is no sexual attraction as the word ‘crush’ can be interpreted a couple of ways. I’d most like to meet Gabriel Garcia Marquez, as I read his autobiography and it was fascinating, but I’d need a time machine now as he’s passed to the other side.
What are your future plans for writing?
Just to get back into the habit as I’ve written nothing of note for the last five years. I’ve started three or four books since Moristoun but given up after a few chapters. The most interesting revolved around a man turning up at a small town in Scotland and proclaiming himself the Second Coming. When I first came up with the idea, it opened up a world of possibilities so I’d like to get properly into the writing of that book.
What words of wisdom would you share with aspiring authors?
Try to write something truly original. Don’t just copy someone else’s style as you won’t be able to do it as well. Find your own voice and passion. Also make sure you spend as much time editing the book as you do writing it. Be harsh on yourself and cut out anything that doesn’t need to be there.
Thanks dear readers, please check out these links for Moristoun