Friday, 6 December 2013

Don't Feel Sorry For Loverboy ...

I feel I should begin by apologising for the Scritti Politti reference in the title but it seems to fit, so stay with me on that ...

THE RINGER has hit the eBook shelves this week and if there's one thing I don't want readers to do, it's sympathise with my protagonist.

But you bloody-well must - that's the received wisdom - that's what has been drilled into me by publishers over the course of my nine books. Well, bollocks to it.

I wanted to create a totally unsympathetic character ... and THE RINGER's main man, Stauner, is just the dude for the gig.

He's a sexist, misogynist, deluded little bigot and if he rings true in any of those regards it's because he's not alone. There are idiots like him all over the place. I've met a few myself.

Without dropping into a writing lesson, characters must be principally one thing only: real. They must be real in the context of the world they inhabit and they must be real, or true, to the story they feature in. Think Irvine Welsh's diabolical Robbo in Filth: a prime example, you wouldn't want Hamish MacBeth telling that messed-up tale but the bad-ass Robbo is perfect.

If you've read my Dury series, you'll know he can have his unsympathetic moments - he goes a bit Paul Calf with students for example - but he is essentially a good guy. And my Blasted Heath title,  R.I.P Robbie Silva, features an ex-con who really doesn't give a shit about much, except his dead sister - is that enough to make him sympathetic? Stauner, however, is the literary equivalent of Rat Boy from Viz; I don't think he possesses a good point. And that, you might say, is the point.

So, what's THE RINGER about?

For small time Glasgow drug dealer, Stauner, life is sweet when he meets Monique. With free board and an unpaid servant at his beck and call, the daily trip to the bookies is his toughest chore. It could all be too good to be true, but the misogynist Stauner stupidly believes it's his due. When the wide boy's deluded state persuades him that Monique should steal from night-club boss Davie Geddes, however, Stauner's arrogance gets the better of him. Soon his cloak of small-minded bigotry is stripped from him and he's forced to pay for the grievous misdeeds of his past.

THE RINGER is a cautionary tale of revenge, enacted upon the most unsavoury of characters. Told in the raw Scots tongue, and equally unflinching language, the lowlifes of Scotland's second city have never looked so low.

:: THE RINGER is available now at Amazon UK and at Amazon USA.