Sunday, May 13, 2012

From the author

Jack Muir’s views and those of his contemporaries might be seen as anachronistic – in particular, as racist and sexist. Was it difficult to negotiate these potentially unpalatable qualities in a way that would keep the reader on side?

Not only was it difficult, it was heart rending and soul wrenching. Remembering a nastier time when so many attitudes were repugnant and violence commonplace and, in particular, the small part you played out in the middle of it all, was not assuaged by simply writing about it. During the writing process other measure had to be taken in order to maintain a balanced life. Whatever the consequences it was vital that the story be written in order to reveal what I call ‘universal truths’. Finding the right tone and balance, yet not disguising the raw reality, may well have been an impossible task. Some will think I have succeeded and others will be sure I have failed.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

From the author

Boy on a Wire has been described as a ‘dislocated memoir’. Is To the Highlands similarly a dislocated representation of your own experiences?

This second novel is much more than dislocated because during my one year on the unnamed island I was often drunk and disorderly, kind of manic and all too eager for adventures and new experiences and, as a consequence, exact memories are not easy to access. But I also remember it being a very troubled time in my life and the thoughts, feelings, ethical dilemmas, confusions and guilt complexes that ran rampant during my late teens seem to have remained clear.  A number of incidents are deeply etched, including my final “breakdown”, which hit me hard and with a deep and lasting vengeance after I arrived back in my home town.