What inspired you to write?
There was no blinding flash of light, no epiphany moment as such. I have always enjoyed writing, be that school projects, internal memos at work and as Scottish correspondent for a national music magazine, Artrocker. (I stopped that a few years ago.)
Probably what gave me confidence to tackle a light-hearted book, was the favorable comments I received for my Facebook posts.
Did the inspiration to write come to you suddenly, or had you been thinking about it some time?
As far as writing 'Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee' is concerned, it was something I had a notion for doing as soon as I started my own petcare (dog walking) business.That was about eight years before I started on 'DD&RW.'
However, I viewed it as practice-run for the book I'm currently working on. It's a comedy-fantasy, and I just really sought some form of reassurance that I could make people smile / laugh with my writing, before embarking upon it.
How did you tell your story? In other words, did you use an outline, or just write your story from start to finish?
Being basically memoir, it was pretty straightforward. No plots to worry about! Nobody could take issue with the characters in the book as they were all real! So, it was just a case of 'start at the beginning,' and highlight the more humorous and poignant moments under single word headings / chapters.
Did you receive any encouragement from family and friends, or did you work on your book alone?
Oh - my wife was very understanding, what with my locking myself away in the evenings to write. (She was probably more than happy to have the TV controls uncontested, and didn't have to watch football every night.)
I actually didn't tell many friends and relatives I was writing the book, but I did join an online writing group, and several people there were very supportive and helpful.
What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
The opening, without doubt. Same goes for my present project (now with a working title of 'Evhen & Uurth.) Getting it to a point where you are confident that it will retain a prospective reader's attention is not as easy as i thought it would be.
What was the most enjoyable aspect of writing your book?
Dreaming of what I was going to say on the TV chat shows I felt certain I'd be invited on. That, and deciding whether I should spend the first batch of royalties on a a flash car or exotic holiday.
Did you experience any personal transformation after the book was published?
Yeah, most definitely. I'm no longer a hopeless and hapless 'dreamer.'
What’s something that gets in the way of your creativity?
But there's loads of distractions - sport / training / reading and critiquing other authors' works / work itself.
What strategies do you use to deal with criticism?
I'm pretty thick skinned really. I think you learn to identify what is actually meant as constructive criticism, and what spiteful. I now have a band of writers whose opinion I value. So much so, I feel I can now do without the large online writing group that I subscribe to - you get so much conflicting advice, it can all get too confusing. Best to have a consistent pool of reviewers who are basically on your side, but not afraid to be blunt and to the point.
I make a definite point of asking them to be brutal in their feedback. Then, if any patterns of criticism appear, you know it's a legit point..
Far better to have criticism now, at the WIP stage, rather than having it panned on Amazon or wherever after its publication.
Bring it on, I say!
Have you received any awards for your book?
The short answer is 'no.' No awards. Nada. Nuthin. I guess it's just not found its way onto the shelves of the bookshops frequented by Messrs Pulitzer or Booker.
Are you working on a new book at the moment? What are you up to nowadays?
Yes ... I'm working on my light-hearted fantasy. Working title is 'Evhen & Uurth.' This was the idea I had before writing 'Damp Dogs & Rabbit Wee' as an exercise to see if i could actually write, and just as importantly, successfully market it.
Here's the brief synopsis: A rather incompetent junior god and his beautiful minder; a bad tempered, cantankerous crow, and a psychopomp with a troubled past – why would anyone put the fate of the planet in the hands of this motley crew? The Dux Shrevas may just be having second thoughts.
Progress is slow, unfortunately. Trying to find time between work, training, tennis, baseball (watching) and an elderly cat with separation issues, is proving difficult. I'd like to think I can get a proper run at it and have it ready for autumn / Christmas (that gives me a decent window!).
Do you have any author appearances coming up and/or are you doing any books giveaways or contests?
I have no more promotional appearances for DD&RW planned. I will probably do another 99 cents promo in US in next few weeks. I've used Fussy Librarian in past. But while working on the new book, and running own business, there's not a lot of time left for promo of the 'old' book. I DO know, however, that if I can get it out in front of the right audience, it WILL continue to sell. Only this week, this comment was placed on the FB page of Clean Indie Reads, by an established author:
Lia London-Gubelin: I still think that's one of the funniest books I've read in years. Too bad I'm not Oprah to promote it for you with a single shout out... (15th May 2017)
Tell us more about yourself... Where did you grow up and what is your favorite/worst childhood memory?
I grew up in suburban Glasgow. It was a happy childhood - lots of playing outdoors and football. LOTS and LOTS of football (soccer.)
I honestly can't think of any bad childhood memory. Nothing that's haunted me ever since. (There is one helluva embarrassing memory from Primary four at school - age about 9 or 10: after watching a schools geography TV programme, teacher asked the class,
"Now, children - where is Bali?"
I had been daydreaming, but recalling something sai by the little kids over the road from my house, who went to a fee-paying, private school and had been educated in classical arts by their parents, I stuck up my hand to answer the question. Miss Wotherspoon (I'll never forget that name) and proudly said,
"At the Theatre Royal in Glasgow, Miss," at which point the classroom was filled with howls of laughter, and a warm glow emanated from my face.
(Yeah - where my parents and grandparents would take me to the movies ('pictures,' as we call them) or to see Glasgow Rangers, those little brats over the road were taken to art galleries ('pictures,' as I call them) and to see The Royal Ballet.
Do you have a favorite quote?
'You can lead a horse to water, but if you can make it do the backstroke, then you've got something.' (Woody Allen)
What is your favorite show on TV?
Sports programmes and cartoons mainly. And old-school UK TV comedies.
Would probably have to say Fawlty Towers and the old Sixties Batman TV series are my big favourites.
Life of Brian and Blazing Saddles. (I'm not big on movies, really.)
Any by Terry Pratchett.
Who would you want to meet if you could? Dead or alive.
Have always said Neil Armstrong, Bob Marley and the wee sod who stole the milk and newspaper from my doorstep this morning.
Is there a talent you wish you had?
I'd love to be able to play an instrument. Preferably bass guitar or drums. Both my boys played in touring bands - I have no idea from where they inherited the ability.
What’s something about you that would surprise us?
I've had a gun pointed at my face during a bank raid.
Describe yourself in 3 words!
Short, funny, punk
Let's talk about your photos. How about we start with those where you're wearing a kilt...
The casino we went to was at that time, the largest in the world.
And so, the next morning, our hosts took us to see the Macau Tower, it was the third tallest building in the world at that time - 338 meters tall. They took us to almost the top, thinking it would be a thrill for us to walk across the glass floor. But when there, I saw it was possible to do a 'walk-around' on a platform even higher up!
I managed to persuade our Chinese hosts ( who declined to join us) to wait while we did this. There was a bit of a delay because of the wind strength, but when it dropped to 25mph, we were strapped (I say 'strapped' - there was just that canvas belt thing attached to our back) and taken out on to the (I'd say, four to five feet wide) platform and to walk around and sit with our legs over the side.
Again, at that time, it was also the highest bungee jump in the world. I was absolutely bricking it (I really am NOT good with heights) but thought that since I'd never have the opportunity again, that I'd do it! But (un)fortunately, the wind was too strong and I was unable to jump.
I can always now say that I WOULD have jumped. Damn that wind! ??