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I write because I just love doing it. For me, it’s not like work, I’ve done that! Not that I don’t plant myself in front of my computer each day and try hard to produce something worthwhile. It is pleasurable, it is fun, and it is bloody hard and infuriating a lot of the time, but most of the time it is enriching and satisfying. I have written just about all of my life: text books, novels, short stories, plays, songs or poems. I write because I just love putting words together and creating stories people will want to read, and hopefully want to read again. I want to reach inside, stimulate their consciousness, make readers feel some emotion and interest through my words. I try to put my head, heart and soul into my books.

In my professional and personal life I must have been involved in just about every personal challenge, conflict or human frailty. I write from what I know well (the 4 Ps): people, pain, passions, and predilections. Working as a social worker in mental health care informs my writing and equips me well especially in understanding psychological conflicts and the power dynamics that occur between people. I explore damaged personalities which often lead to dramatic actions and catastrophic outcomes expressed in my characters. My novels go right to the root of what happens inside people when a desire becomes a compulsion, a need becomes a demand, and a threat becomes harm.

I was born and bred lived in Hamilton and escaped school at fifteen. I had my own shop in television retail there until the call of social work took me off to work in just about every large psychiatric hospital in west central Scotland. I then ran my own business in mental health law, after obtaining a masters degree at Glasgow University. I was a social worker in the area of mental health for thirty years, and for the over fourteen years worked as an independent worker, writing expert reports for solicitor agencies and Glasgow Sheriff Court, where I was engaged as a safeguarder. In February 2016, I moved to the West Highland village of Morar, close to the wonderful Camusdarach beach and opened GlenanCross Guesthouse, where I live and write.

​I lived in Glasgow for a good part of my life and return regularly. I love the grit of the city, the ‘gallusness’ of the people, but also their warmth and sense of humour. I am an inveterate watcher and soak up everyday Glasgow life. It is a dynamic and challenging city, with the kind of conflicts and challenges which provide a rich vein of material, which I utilise and exploit without shame or guilt.

​I also paint in oils, play guitar and sing (a bit!), and write songs and poems, some of which are mentioned here. I also play fiddle, bones, Cajun drum, and anything else that will make a noise. My free time is both full and fulfilling, as is my working life. If you are ever up my way pop in, say hello.


​Got a back molar, a wisdom tooth I think, out. A periodontal problem, so Mr Ali the dentist said. “Get it out, it is too toxic to remain in your head.” This was to be a metaphor for my writing: ‘Get it out, it is too toxic to remain in your head’. This was an eventful day in the life of this aspiring crime writer.

​It started eventless with a trip on the Glasgow underground from West Street to Partick. I had been in Glasgow for a few reasons; one, to get my tooth out; two, to buy Euros for my oncoming holiday in Gran Canaria; three, to get a haircut; and four, via Glasgow Airport, to get the .... out of Scotland for a break.

​I headed out of Partick Station and towards the Post Office where I entered to the sound of Postman Pat, Postman Pat, Postman Pat, who had a very fine hat, no more than that - poor staff. I got to the front of the queue and on mentioning ‘Euros” I was directed to the Money Exchange counter, an interesting concept for Partick. “If you have any left, bring them back,” the gentleman behind the glass said. “Aye, right!”

​Then it was to Davie, my barber, hairdresser to the great and the good, and the students, I would go. It was his day off but Marianne would do the job. “What would you like,” he said. “Tidy up, scissor cut,” I said. “No problem, sir.” Had I been a sir I would’ve asked for the eyebrows' clip. We talked about work and my having a B and B in the highlands and how I tell guests that I was a crime writer and how I was writing a book about a guest house proprietor who was a serial killer, but how Norman Bates beat me to that one, and how guest reviews never said that they slept well at night. She said she thought about writing a book about a killer barber, but Sweeney Todd had been written. I declined the offer of a razor cut on my neck.

I arrived at the dentist and had to fill in a two page form on my health circumstances. I gave my occupation - a crime writer, then proceeded to indicate my sedentary lifestyle and an over dependency on alcohol. I needn’t had bothered, saying I was a writer would have confirmed that. I left with a tissue plugging a hole in my right upper mouth soaking up a good proportion of blood which would have normally circulated around my brain making me think straight.

​I got to Waterstones, Byres Road and bought Graeme Macrae Burnet's His Bloody Project. Thinking if blood and gore is what they want I asked the manager (through a mouth gripping the tissue).

“Excuse me, what is the criteria for—?”

“Eh?”

​“Sorry, how do you get your book on the shelf in here?”

He looked quizzically at this aspiring author talking out of the side of his mouth. He obviously thought I had a mouth deformity and a speech impediment. “Have you written a book,” he asked. “Yes,” I said, like Quasimodo. “Published?” “Yes, McNidder and Grace.” He appeared slightly more interested. “Short listed for the CWA, debut dagger last year, spotlighted author at the Bloody Scotland festival last month.”

He looked slightly more interested. “Got a book with you?”

​“N, no,” I stuttered. “I could send you one.”

​He didn't answer but we shook hands, though he had no alternative but to shake mine, me being on my knees.

I got up and slurped my coffee from the right side of my mouth. A lady at a table to the left of me had a good look. This was Byres Road in the West End and people don’t slurp their coffee there. I left feeling relatively happy with a famous book in my shoulder bag and the prospect of my book joining it on the shelves. I headed down Byres Road, stopping into Barretts for my copy of Writing and stopped in a doorway to see if there was an article on writer protocol on how to deal with real life situations.

​So, it became an eventful day, having the Post Office remove me of my money, the barber of my hair, the dentist of my tooth, and the book store manager of my dignity. I was well assaulted, therefore, and well ready to write an eventful day in the life of an aspiring crime writ... (shit, is that blood?).



Updated: Dec 19, 2020

The Father Book Launch was such an amazing experience, a lovely audience, a perfect setting in Waterstones Argyle Street, Glasgow, and a great after-launch party in Sloans!​








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