tom o. keenan
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, 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 leads 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.