Moristoun, which is a black comedy that speculates about the afterlife for Scottish suicide victims. People are banished to Moristoun when they take their own lives and they stay there in perpetuity until they attain the wisdom and understanding to move to a higher realm. The main character, a lawyer named William Hughes, has been there for 200 years but finds out he might be able to escape if he volunteers to help modern-day Scots avoid suicide back in the real world.
He is charged with saving a hopeless loser called McSorely and decides to bring him back to Moristoun as his legal assistant in a bid to boost his self-esteem. In the book McSorely slowly learns about the warped reality of Moristoun and falls in love with the bar maid at the local pub, who is the only other mortal on the island as she was brought there by Buchan as a baby when her mum died by suicide. Their fates then become darkly linked together.
Read the author’s interview below.
How long have you been writing?
I have been working as sports journalist since I was 19 years old, which is now sadly 19 years ago. Since then I’ve written and edited for a range of newspapers and magazines in Scotland. In terms of fiction, I’ve been writing for about 10 years on and off. I started writing Moristoun, my debut novel, in 2012 and it was finally released earlier this year.
What is your most recent literary/artistic project?
I’ve just started writing a second novel, which is set in Thailand, where I lived for 18 months between 2002 and 2004. In addition to that, I continue to amuse myself by writing more stories for my website rhesuspark.com, which is perhaps the only spoof, online monkey park in the world (although with some of the wacky things you see on the internet, it is a claim I can’t make with much certainty).
What inspires you to write?
Mainly a desire to amuse myself. I like playing with language to create situations that are funny or ridiculous. Since the birth of my daughter Jennifer, who is now three years old, I’m also motivated by a desire to give her something to remember me by, even when I she is old and I have long since shuffled my mortal coil. Every year since she has been born, I have written about all the things we have done together in a private diary so she can get a glimpse of what she was like when she was younger. I can’t remember anything about my early years, bar a couple of hazy memories, and it would have been great to read about all the things I did as a toddler.
Who’s your favorite author and why?
Gunter Grass had the biggest influence on me as the Tin Drum opened my eyes to a completely different style of writing. Grass created a totally unique world and although he bent the rules of reality you still believed everything that happened to little Oskar. I need to thank my brother Danny for introducing me to his work. I read his biography a few years ago and it was fascinating to see how his own experiences shaped many of the scenes that ended up in the book. He lived through a remarkable period in history and managed to channel so many of the horrific things he saw during World War II into creating a masterpiece.
What advice can you give to other authors or writers?
Set aside a specific time every day to write. The only reason I managed to get Moristoun finished was because I got up at 7am every day and made sure I wrote something for at least an hour before starting the rest of my day. I’ve lapsed out of this habit since the birth of my daughter and that has slowed down my attempts at another book. I’d also recommend sticking to your own style and not trying to mimic any other authors. Try to be unique and to write about something that has never been tackled before. The last thing I want to read about is another grizzled detective who sometimes bends the rules but always gets results.
Where can readers go to find out more information about your work?
The Moristoun website, http://www.moristoun.com, has links for buying the book, reviews and more information about me and Moristoun.
There is also a Moristoun Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Moristoun/) while you can find me on Twitter @Moristoun and @kevmcallion.