Tuesday dawns grey and dark, the sky threatening some new snow in my part of north-east Scotland but...no matter!
My first guest of February will cheer us up. Today I'm welcoming Seumas Gallacher - thriller/crime author - who needs to get his thick coat out of storage for his visit here, an item he probably rarely uses in his current part of the world. Get yourself a nice cup of whatever you fancy and settle in - there's a real treat coming...
Seumas might not want to be labelled one of the 'young Crooked Cat kittens' (then again he might be *grinning* at that title) but there are now so many new ones that it makes me feel like an ancient old cattie! (no comments please) However, I first 'met' Seumas in 2013 when he became my Scots Gaelic Guru and helped me with a few Gaelic phrases for Book 2 of my Celtic Fervour Series.
'atween you an' me an the cat' Seumas has the gift of the gab so let's get to know him a bittie better...
Welcome, Seumas. It's lovely to have you visit me. I 've read that you're a born and bred Glaswegian like I am - sometimes also termed a 'Weegie' now. If I were still living in Glasgow, I might take offence at being called a Weegie but since I've not lived there for 40 years it's not a problem. I've read that you've also lived elsewhere for a long time, but where in the world are you based now?
I’m in the Middle East, currently shuttling between Abu Dhabi and Bahrain in the Arabian Gulf.
Okay. Moving on. Your author bio, below, has some information but please tell us something exclusive (!!) that wouldn't appear there.
Former front singer/harmonica player in a beat group in my early teens. Winner of several medals in Gaelic Mod singing competitions in my later teens. Played football in the then top Scottish Division with Third Lanark.
Wow! That was well done and quite diverse in Glasgow being a 'footie' player and a Gaelic Mod singer. I remember when the football scouts came to my secondary school to sign up a couple of boys for their 'boys training programme' - it was mega news for them and for the school. ('fraid my sport was hockey and not the girls' football team which we actually did have back in 1966)
But I digress... You've given me a fantastic review for Bk 1 of my Celtic Fervour series, which is seriously appreciated since reviews are so hard to come by, but I'm wondering if you have any favourite reading genre, or are you fairly eclectic in your choices of reading material?
Extremely eclectic. I admire authors who demonstrate a command of the ‘business’ of telling their narratives.
Has any particular author been an influence on your writing style, or influenced your choice of genre to write in?
Not sure if they influenced my own ‘Author’s Voice’, but I devoured almost everything written by Dickens, Steinbeck, Ruark and O’Hara in my twenties.
I often re-read Dickens. Only remember reading O'Hara in one set text during my course at Jordanhill College - if you're referring to the poet? Do you mostly read on a kindle/ e-reader now or still veer towards a paperback/hardback?
I’m now comfortable with a kindle, once I overcame the ‘oh, I must have a book in my hand’ thing… but I also enjoy a paperback/hardback copy.
Before your retirement, had you ever done any fiction writing?
What retirement? I’ve tried to retire three times already, and currently in non-retirement again. I enjoy being actively ‘engaged’ in commercial stuff as well as in my writing. I never did any paid writing before completing The Violin Man’s Legacy, just over five years ago.
Retirement is overrated- I agree! Keep the brain cells active is wot I say... with a *grin*.
What was the pivotal moment that set you on a writerly path and made you begin your first draft of a novel?
It just hit me that it ‘was time’ to write ‘that novel’ we all supposedly have in us, and I haven’t stopped since.
Brilliant...epiphany! What was your first piece of writing called?
Years and years and years ago, I wrote some poetry, a couple of which I still like, called The Night Rain and Time Was.
Has living out of the UK for many years had any impact on the choices of locations in your Jack Calder thriller series?
Without a doubt. Not just the locations, but interaction with people in their own countries and with their own cultural quirks has been priceless experience.
I'm totally delighted that Crooked Cat are about to re-launch two of my contemporary romance mysteries, since I included fabulous places like Barcelona, and Paris, and Tallinn. These re-launches have been an interesting process, going through edits again for my reworked versions.
Crooked Cat is also re-launching your Jack Calder Series which you formerly self- published, so what's it been like for you?
Having decided from the outset five years ago, that I must approach all of this as the ‘business of writing’, it has become apparent to me that I’ve reached the next phase of that ‘business’, which is to engage in a partnership with a reputable publishing firm who ‘get’ the modern hybrid way of bringing authors to their various readership markets, eBooks and print. So far, the experience has been painless. I’ve been allocated an excellent editor to work with, and the interaction with the principals at the publisher, Crooked Cat Publishing, has been trouble-free. The launch party online was a first, and I had great fun with it.
I've found my Facebook launch parties exhausting but fun as well. You’ve plenty of social media experience already but do you see yourself employing any new techniques during these new launches with Crooked Cat?
I’m always open to trying to discover/invent new techniques to utilise the social networks, but for the present, I’m happy to continue to take a significant participation in the marketing and promotional end of the ‘business’. Crooked Cat Publishing will introduce my name and my work to a broader range of markets (plural), and if opportunities arise to be innovative in these, I’ll embrace that also.
How many books will you have published by the summer of 2015? (Already published, re-launches and new work).
Four novels in the Jack Calder crime thrillers series, three collections of blog posts, which sadly Amazon deemed to be in contravention of their rules by having ‘previously appeared on the public web arena’, so I had to withdraw them, notwithstanding the ‘public web arena’ was on my own blog!). I also published a guide to how this old author uses the social networks to enhance sales of my books.
Yep! I definitely remember reading that last one and I've got Savage Payback in my kindle queue. *insert smiley face here* Have you any writing goals set for the second half of 2015?
At my time of life, I am not prepared to set myself unnecessary pressure targets. My writing will flow as it should, or else… or else it won’t! However, the ideas for plot lines for the continuation of the crime thrillers series continue to jump around in my head.
Great answer! You’re no stranger to after dinner speaking - perhaps ‘Toastmaster’ style? Can you tell us a little bit about that? How do you fit public speaking in with your writing schedules?
Having been involved at senior executive levels in the corporate and financial worlds, presentation skills are part and parcel of business life. I’m comfortable in speaking in front of an audience, especially if it’s interactive. I delight in being passionate about what I do speak on, and the issue of the social networks in business and in writing is something this old Jurassic has been successful in delivering to others.
Those skills definitely have to come in useful as an author. And finally... for fun- one word answers, please:
Favourite Scottish food
Cod and chips.
Favourite Abu Dhabi food
Butter chicken (Indian, I know, but there’s tons of Indian personnel employed in the Middle East).
Do you like Wadi bashing? (I loved it, and other dune driving, and camel riding to the oases- though I hate camels spitting me in the face- yuck.)
Definitely not. I’ve never even owned a Driving Licence, so that’ll give you some idea.
Favourite location to visit
So many, but in Europe it’s Vienna, in the Far East it’s still Hong Kong, in the States, San Francisco.
What tartan is your kilt? (You wear one on your blog)
Anderson, by dint of relationship to my first wife.
I included Vienna in my novel Topaz Eyes! And...my first kilt was an Anderson one. That was for no other reason than my aunt being a kilt maker (her work not far from where you were brought up, Seumas) and she got her hands on some Anderson tartan at a lovely cheap price. A little later on she made me a Dress Mackenzie kilt since I had a maternal great-grandmother who was a Mackenzie.
You've brightened my day, Seumas - thanks for giving us great answers.
SEUMAS GALLACHER escaped from the world of finance five years ago, after a career spanning three continents and five decades.
As the self-professed 'oldest computer Jurassic on the planet' his headlong immersion into the dizzy world of eBook publishing opened his eyes, mind, and pleasure to the joys of self-publishing. As a former businessman, he rapidly understood the concept of a writer's need to 'build the platform', and from a standing start began to develop a social networking outreach, which now tops 18,000 direct contacts.
His first two crime-thrillers, THE VIOLIN MAN'S LEGACY and VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK blew his mind with more than 75,000 e-link downloads to date. The third in what has become the 'Jack Calder' series, SAVAGE PAYBACK, was launched late 2013.
He started a humorous, informative, self-publishers blog less than two years ago, never having heard of a 'blog' prior to that, was voted 'Blogger of the Year 2013' and now has a loyal blog following on his networks. He says the novels contain his 'Author's Voice', while the blog carries his 'Author's Brand'. And he's LUVVIN IT!
Contact Seumas via...
Blog : seumasgallacher.com
Twitter : @seumasgallacher
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/seumasgallacher
Email : email@example.com
A series of coordinated lethal bomb attacks on a dozen jewelry stores in London’s West End drag former SAS officer, Jack Calder and his specialist security firm, International Security Partners, into a deadly mesh of murder and international drug running.
A black ops explosives expert, an ex-colleague turned renegade mercenary with a twisted lust for revenge, emerges from the past to join forces with a powerful and dangerous drug baron from Eastern Europe.
A major cocaine trafficker from South America compounds the threats as competitive turf issues straddle international territories.
Attacks close to home heighten the urgency for Calder and his team to find and deal with each of the three sinister adversaries in a final savage payback.
Thanks for visiting today, Seumas. My very best wishes for great sales of your Jack Calder Series.