Thursday, 6 November 2014

Guest Blog: Douglas Skelton

By Douglas Skelton

They say there's a little bit of the writer in all their characters.
Then what part of me is in Davie McCall?
Davie's the hero – well, anti-hero – of my two crime thrillers 'Blood City' and 'Crow Bait' (both published by Luath Press).
He's a crook and a hard man. 
I can't even dodge my fare on the bus and I couldn't punch my way out of a wet paper bag. I'm a writer not a fighter, baby.
He's got clear blue eyes .
I've got brownish eyes and if I take my glasses off I stumble around like Mr Magoo.
He doesn't talk much.
I can go on like a broken record.
He's attractive to women.
So am I (I can't continue with that thought – laughing too much).
He's a hard guy to write. I like dialogue. I like dialogue a lot. And he says so little.
Everything about him is internal, which means that the reader knows more about him than the other characters. Which is the way it should be, of course.
I've tried to make him vulnerable without becoming a wimp. I'm enough of the latter for both of us. He's a hard man with feelings. Sure, step over a line and you'll end up using your teeth as castanets but he's not arbitrary with the punishment. Anyone he hurts has to deserve it. Well, mostly.
So what part of me is in him?
Okay, he likes dogs. He had one in the first book, gave it up in the second and – tiny spoiler alert – gets another one in the third.
We also share an aversion to crowded rooms (unless everyone is looking at me, as my spotlight-grabbing turns at author events will testify. I'm shy but can give it the old 'me, me, me' at the drop of a hat. I've been known to do a ten minute monologue when the wee light comes on in the fridge).
We both like music. 
He doesn't smoke, neither do I.
He doesn't drink or swear. Neither do I.
He doesn't lie.
Okay, I do – especially about the drinking and swearing.
And that's it, really. Not much, is it?
So if there really is a little bit of the writer in all their characters, I dread to think what part of me is in Jimmy Knight – the brutal, corrupt, misogynist of a cop who is one of the running villains of the Davie McCall quartet.
No – not going there. Some things are best left unexplored.

:: CROW BAIT is available from Amazon UK now.