I am a journalist and fiction author, based in Glasgow. My first novel, The Long, Long Afternoon, was published with Manilla Press in February 2021. My second novel, This Wild, Wild Country, will be published in August 2022.
To learn more about my books, go to the Books menu. For writing tips and general updates, please check out my Blog below. And if you would like me to speak at your event, book group or feature on your podcast, please get in touch. You can also follow me on Twitter @wekesperos.
Yay, I’ve been interviewed by Suffolk Libraries for their amazing Meet the Author series. Have a read here.
I really like this kind of interview, where it’s more about the details of the book, the plot and the characters, and not so much the generic questions.
You want to know a secret? I hate the question: What inspired you to write the book?
I don’t know why. I just never know what to answer. All my books have been inspired by so many different things. Newspaper articles, conversations… sometimes even a single image. I saw a picture once in an old mail order catalogue of a woman looking out at the rain:
It’s the tiniest image, supposed to illustrate the convenience of not having to leave the house when doing your catalogue shopping. But somehow, it caught my eye. To me, it looks like this woman is yearning for something outside the home. She’s not relieved, she’s anxious. Mabe she is waiting for someone, or longing to go somewhere.
So, inspiration can strike anywhere, at any time and be based on anything. That’s my only answer.
It’s heeeere! Book baby number two is finally, officially born into this world. From today, This Wild, Wild Countryis for sale in all good book stores and online, and will slowly make it’s way into libraries.
But there isn’t just the physical book. The e-book is out as well, as is the Audiobook, read by the fabulous Nan McNamara.
Now it’s fingers crossed that it’ll all go well. But I am not worried. The fact that my little book is out there, for all the world to see, read and enjoy, already means more to me than I could ever describe. And I am a writer, so describing is kinda my job 🙂
It’s been a very long journey. I remember first pitching the book to my phantastic editor Sophie Orme in Summer 2020, and sending the first draft to her that Christmas. The book went through several drafts as the plot thickened, the characters grew and the pace of the story settled. The beautiful cover was revealed to me as a late Christmas present, and the physical copies arrived just a few days after I returned from the Harrogate literature festival – perhaps my first big event as a ‘proper’, published author.
I cannot express my gratitude to everyone who has helped me on this journey – my editor Sophie, my agent Giles, the amazing team at Bonnier/Manilla Press. And of course my loyal readers.
With all the excitement over the proof copies, I didn’t even have time to write about my trip to Harrogate for the Theakston’s Old Peculier crime writing festival.
At first I was a bit suspicious. As a baby author, I wasn’t on any of the panels. I also didn’t know a lot of authors – my first book, The Long, Long Afternoon, was launched in lockdown, so I never had much opportunity to schmooze with other authors. And there’s a financial aspect too, the tickets, the travel, the accommodation…
But I am so glad I went. Harrogate is one of the mainstays of the crime writing calendar and an absolute icon on the festival circuit. For good reason. This is one of the few festivals where authors, bloggers, editors, agents and readers get to mix freely. It is an incredibly friendly event where everyone is happy to chat.
My highlight was a talk with Lucy Foley and CL Taylor, two absolute legends of the crime writing world. I learned so much from their approach to writing and creativity, and I was delighted that CL Taylor switches in between pantsing and planning her books just like I do. Both authors were so open and chatty that you got a real insight into their creative process, rather than just standard phrases about inspiration and perseverance.
I also got to meet a bunch of stars in publishing. Book bloggers Dan from the Cribbs Causeway Waterstones in Bristol and Jules Swain, the tweeting paramedic, were so incredibly kind and supportive during my lockdown launch that I couldn’t wait to say Hi and a big Thank You. And I got my book signed by Denise Mina, an absolute faint-moment for this fangirl 😀
More impressions below, with Mick Herron, Stu Cummins, Charlotte Vas, Denise Mina, Jules Swain and TM Logan.
Copies have arrived. Finally, there is confirmation that This Wild, Wild Country isn’t just a fever dream – it’s real!
The colours of this cover are just stunning. The whole book looks absolutely striking, the pictures don’t really do it justice. I love how the oranges and blues complement each other… and then there’s that big, bold title!
This Wild, Wild Country is launching on 4 August and is already available for pre-order. So, if hippies, murder and historic mysteries are your thing, putting an order in would help me hugely. Just go to the Books page on this website or get in touch with your local book dealer.
Meanwhile, I raise a glass of bubbly to this beauty. This being Glasgow, the only bubbly I had in the house was Irn Bru (24 cans no less). So here goes: to my latest book baby. May it be a success!!!
Isn’t that just so enticing? You just want to know more!
Proof copies are an incredibly exciting part of the writing process. This is when the hard work is done. You have a book in your hand. An actual book, with a cover and an acknowledgements section and a dedication…
Of course, this is not the final product. The reason why it’s called a proof copy is that it’s, well, for proofing. So I am going to have to read This Wild, Wild Country again (I’ve only read it about 367 times before) and highlight any remaining typos, mistakes or odd layout issues.
The proof copies play another important role. They will be sent to buyers and reviewers, who will then hopefully put in lots of preorders and line up reviews in time for the book launch on 4 August.
Is this the right moment to say it? This Wild, Wild Country is now available for preorder in your favourite book shop. Do it. You know you want to…
PS: This is not the final cover. Cover reveal coming soon… watch this space!
Voilà, The Long, Long Afternoon is out in French, as Un long, si long après-midi. I could not be prouder. Just look at it, right there on the table.
Launching in a different country is so exciting because it all feels a bit wild. My French is not that great, so I have to translate the reviews and guess at some of their meanings. I cannot follow the social media in the same way. Doing readings and signing books in France is adventurous. Will I understand? Can I get my points across? And how amazing is it that people care about my book, when there is so much incredible writing in France?
I wanted to give a few, quick book recommendations from French authors. There’s Leila Slimani’s Le pays des autres (The country of others), a haunting story of a French woman who moves to 1940s Morocco. For cozy mystery fans, there’s fellow L’Edition Martiniere author Frédéric Lenormand’s lovely series about Marie Antoinette’s hairdresser, Au Service Secret de Marie Antoinette (In Marie Antoinette’s secret service). And we need something for the true crime fans too. I highly recommend Sarah Maza’s Violette Noziere: A Story of Murder in 1930s Paris.
Maza, strictly speaking, is not French. But I, strictly speaking, am also writing in and about a place I wasn’t born and… je ne regrette rien!
This Wild, Wild Country is now with the typesetter, which means I will soon be holding the first printed proof in my hand. This will be a really special moment. What’s been words on a computer screen for 18 months and counting will finally be a physical thing to hold and flick through and put on a book shelf.
But the edits will not be done. First of all, the printed proof is just that – a proof copy. I will need to read it and re-read it to really make sure there are no mistakes remaining. There is other stuff to look out for: do the chapter titles look right? Is the spacing ok? Does the title fit the cover image, or is anything important being obscured?
Then there is what I call the book framework. I still have to write acknowledgements, an Author’s Note, some questions for reading groups and, most importantly, a dedication.
Meanwhile, the book will go through many hands at Bonnier, and through a sensitivity read. So there may be further edits coming at me down the line.
Like a painting, a book is never truly finished. But at some point, the editing has to stop. Still, I know I will howl with pain if This Wild, Wild Country goes to print and I open it in a book shop and find a typo.
Ah, well., we can always fix things for the paperback.
I just wanted to share a bit of interesting research for This Wild, Wild Country. Whenever I do historical research for a book, I save some images that struck a certain note within me. They can be about characters or historic detail, but sometimes it’s more vague things, like tone or mood, that draw me to them.
Here are two women from the 1960s:
Isn’t it incredible that both of these women lived in the same country, the same state, the same year? They couldn’t be any different.
And yet, they have things in common, too. Both wear their best. They use jewellery and hairstyles to express their personality. There’s a sense of pride and confidence in both images. Sure, you could say that our neatly made-up cat-eye glass lady is performing to social expectations. But I think her smile is genuine, her pride sincere.
Now, get both of them around the kitchen table for a chat about the state of the world. What will they agree on? What will they fight over? What are their immovable convictions, and what compromises are they willing to make?