A massive welcome to Tom Gillespie who is here to tell us about his writing life …
What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?
I would say my strange book bends genres- It is part psychological thriller, part Scottish Gothic mystery with a sprinkling of horror and magical realism.. So either a smorgasbord or a Bloomenthal bomb blast... you choose!
What made you choose that genre?
I’m allergic to rules
How long does it take you to write a book?
This is the second iteration of The Strange Book. I wasn’t happy with the first cut, and once I’d regained my fortitude and courage, I ventured back into Jacob’s weird world and completely reworked the novel, re-structuring , chopping and changing, and adding a completely new section. I thought if F. Scott. Fitzgerald can do it..then hey! So all in all, it’s taken around 9 years, from initial teeny wee flash story to this, the final director’s cut, as it were.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
My method has changed recently. I used to scribble in notebooks and scraps of paper.. on anything I could find when inspiration struck.. Then I would end up with shoeboxes full of weird illegible hieroglyphics. Now I’m much more systematic and organised. I set aside a few hrs each day (usually early morning), and let my brain loose on the computer keyboard. When I’m in stream of consciousness mode, I lock my little editor gremlin up in a cupboard so that he can’t interrupt my flow. Then when I’m in editor mode, I do the same with the crazed, bohemian writer, who to be honest, complains a lot less about being shunned under the stairs.
Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know.
A few years ago, I shared a couple of drinks with Edna O’ Brian on a train from Bristol to Manchester. She was heading to the Hay on Wye festival but missed her stop (or was on the wrong train) and seemed delighted about it! She was hilariously inappropriate, and she gave me some sound advice. She said in this business, trust no one, especially yourself, adding ... with bloody train timetables.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
When I was wee, I created a picture book based on ghost stories my friends had told me or they swore they had experienced. I was about 46 😊
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I play guitar and write songs…when my wife and daughter are out...and read, read, read.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Typos and spelling mistakes are sentient beings
How many books have you written?
This is my second novel. I have a collection of short stories coming out in October.
Do you Google yourself? What did you find that affected you most (good or bad)?
When I google myself I always land on a young champion Australian surfer.. and when anyone asks, I pretend to be him.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Lee Van Cleef.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have on your computer?
None... but I have a loft stuffed full of notebooks and shoeboxes!
Amazon link (universal)
Tom Gillespie is a novel and short fiction writer. His stories have been published worldwide in journals, e-zines and creative anthologies including East of the Web, Linden Literary Review, The Ogilvie. His work also features in The Federation of Writers, Scotland New Voices Anthology.
Glass Work Humans – A collaborative collection of Short Stories will be published in Autumn 2020.
The Strange Book of Jacob Boyce is the first of a trilogy of novels set in Tom’s hometown of Glasgow, published by Vine Leaves Press, and available to order now.
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