An old friend has been staying with me these past couple of weeks, after nine years in the wilderness. The last time I saw him he was an unsure 16-year old, a bit lost, with a lot of confusion and anger in his life. I’ve since discovered nothing has changed.
His name is Jackie McCann and he was the protagonist in my first ever published work, a serialisation of my novel HUNTING JACK in 2004. I’m ten chapters into the re-write and things are going well.
Jackie’s helping me form the story it into a more in-depth thriller novel that can be published later in the year. It’s in better shape than I remembered but with the benefit of a few years of experience under my belt, I know I can make it into a much sleeker and marketable title. It also needs to be channelled in a new direction, particularly the second half, and some of the characters rounded into real personalities.
In short: it’s going to be a MUCH better read.
I decided against the cover art I’d seen in the recent fire sale for HUNTING JACK. I showed it to a couple of people and while it was good, it wasn’t quite there. Sort of like an oval being squeezed into a round slot. So I left it and will get a custom one designed later with my usual cover artist who always does a bang up job.
Tomorrow (Saturday) I’ll be attending my second event of this year’s Aye Write! Festival events. Aye Write! Is Glasgow’s very own book festival, and while it’s not on the same scale as the Edinburgh version, it has a freshness and boldness about it that Charlotte Square misses.
It’s kind of like the little brother syndrome: nothing to prove and a dash more bold, so it’s getting away with a little bit more because of it.
The event in question is to see one of my heroes, William McIlvanney. He’s appearing at the Mitchell Library in the city and I’m going with my mum. We went to see Sandi Toksvig last week on the first day of the festival, and she didn’t let down. We went purely out of curiosity over the person herself and she came across as delightful and friendly as I hoped.
But McIlvanney is what it’s all about for me. The guy is a legend and a hero, both in his writing and the way he conducts himself; a true gentleman.
If you placed all the writers that have inspired me into a pyramid, he would be at the top.
I’m expecting it to be a brilliantly entertaining evening.