Q & A

Q. So, this first novel of yours, More Deaths Than One; what's it about?

A. It's described as a literary thriller and it's set mainly in the Middle East. It says on the back cover. 'Injustice is a bitter pill - potentially a fatal one in a country where your landing card is headlined in red italics: 'Death For Drugs Dealers'. Without giving too much away that's the scenario. How the main character deals with the many problems which inevitably follow is what makes More Deaths Than One a thriller.

Q. I see it's published by YouWriteOn. Tell me something about that.

A. YouWriteOn.com is a website backed by the Arts Council of England. It's designed to encourage the emergence of new, unpublished writers. You send in some of your own work. This is fed out at random to a series of aspiring writers (anywhere in the world) who then critique and rate it against certain standards. At the same time you will be randomly allocated other writers' works to critique and rate. All the writings are anonymous, therefore the criticism and rating is impartial and should be of real value to the author - and to prospective readers.

Q. I see on the front cover that this is a YouWriteOn Bestseller?

A. Yes. The very highest rated submissions receive that commendation.

Q. Forgive me, Bryan, but aren't you a bit long in the tooth for a debut novelist,?

A. Well, I've lived all the three score years and ten - plus four. Which helps.

Q. Being 74 helps? How?

A. Each year we live we all learn something new. All this 'new' adds to the grist from which the novelist's mill makes his 'food for the soul'. And with each passing year he should also have learned how better to serve it up - to write it.

Q. That sounds logical enough. The book looks good too. I believe the cover designs are yours as well as the writing?
You can buy this 314 page, 15.2cm x 22.9cm paperback book, More Deaths Than One, ISBN 978_1894230056 @ RRP £8.99 direct from YouWriteOn.com or from the ordering services of major booksellers world-wide. pico555@btopenworld.com


A. Yes. Creative design is my other thing, including the Highlands landscapes I paint in pastels. We use them to publish a range of prints, cards, calendars - and my booklet; An Incomers Views on Wester-Ross in 24 Pictures, Poems and Narratives.

Q. Poetry? How does this poetry link up with your fiction?

A. My kind of fiction is a strong story conveyed in clear prose with an element of poetry; it's just a rhythmic distillation of what the writer has to convey.

Q. I see. Going back to More Deaths Than One and its setting in the Middle East - aren't you treading on some thin ice as regards sensitivity to Islamic issues etc?

A. I don't think so. My novel is in no way anti-Islam. It's true that not all my Arab characters in the book come across as upright, law abiding citizens but that is the case with some of the characters in all novels, wherever they're set.

Q. You write fiction and compose poetry and paint pictures. Were you educated in any of this? University degree, post school education?

A. Afraid not. I last sat in a classroom in 1948, aged 14 years and 9 months. Post education? 60 years of it thus far!

Q. Probably a silly question but you're happy with this first novel of yours?

A. Yes. And with the second one also. Going with Gabe is planned for publication July 2009. You'll need to wait and see about that - but I can say that most folk will find its main theme quite off-beat - even extremely controversial.

Q. Sounds intriguing. Still fiction though? Another literary thriller?

A. Literary, yes, and with a dash of fantasy. I suppose all novels are by definition 'fantastic' in the sense that they are not 'real'. But all novelists try to create stories that, in the words of Hemingway, seem to be 'truer than the truth'. They're the ones that tend to stay with you - perhaps as will More Deaths Than One.

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