A Fife teacher will release his debut novel in May after taking inspiration from many of the Kingdom’s best-selling authors.
The Mash House, set in ‘Cullrothes’ in the Scottish Highlands, the book tells the story of a small village and the people who live there with some grim secrets.
The book also looks set to relate to some of our experiences in lockdown and the reality of living in isolation.
Describing the book, Alan said: “The Mash House is about simple people antagonising each other to the limits of human endurance.
“There is Innis, a newcomer who hides a shameful secret and manages the pub; his girlfriend Kirsten, a gorgeous, cheating, lying primary school teacher.
“And, in the same village, Donald is the aggressive distillery owner, who floods the country with narcotics alongside his single malt; he is haunted by an anonymous American investor intent on purchasing the Cullrothes Distillery using any means necessary.”
Now a teacher in Glasgow, Alan grew up in Glenrothes. He said he had always been inspired by Fife’s “great literary figures”.
“Growing up in Fife, it was a great place for someone who wanted to be a writer,” he said.
“There was Iain Rankin and Val McDermid, absolute legends in the crime writing world, who were from just up the road.
“I supported Raith Rovers and still remember feeling a buzz whenever the team were mentioned in one of their books.
“I’m from Glenrothes and it’s a kind of strange place, I think it’s good for the imagination. We lived in a scheme where all the playparks were centred around these mad concrete sculptures – crocodiles, elephants, tulips.
“The town park had a herd of stone hippos swaggering through it. When we were kids we used to incorporate these big beasts into daft games and make-believe stories. I think that’s where a lot of my early creativity came from.”
Alan published his book through Unbound, a crowdfunding platform to help authors fund their books.
More than 300 people supported his project, and those who donated will be thanked in a special supporters section of the book.
Writing in lockdown
Speaking about the challenges of publishing a book in lockdown he said: “Writing and publishing a book was always going to be tough work, and the lockdown hasn’t helped. I’ve turned to online networks for support, and Twitter has been great.
“There’s a brilliant Scottish writing community on there. Loads of my preorders came from social media, and I’ve made some trusted connections to help with editing and marketing. I think all writers want to see their work in bookshops, so I’m delighted that those are opening back up soon.
“The day you see your debut novel in a bookshop must feel surreal, I can’t wait for it.”
The Mash House is available from May 6 priced at £9.99.