Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Getting To Know... Ross Sayers

Today I welcome to Getting To Know... the wonderful Ross Sayers, debut author of Mary's The Name which was published on the 30th of January 2017.

Mary's The Name is a particularly emotional contemporary read, what was it that draws you to this genre?

I didn't really set out to write in any sort of genre, to be honest. I knew I wanted to tell a story about a wee girl and her granpa and see where it took me! When I first finished the book, I was telling early readers how much humour I'd put in and how they'd be chuckling away at what Mary has to say. I didn't expect so many to tell me they were in tears at the end! This reaction has been very touching though, as it shows how much readers have connected with Mary. It's a huge compliment when readers engage this much with your characters.

When you're writing do you have a set routine or schedule that you like to follow?

For 'Mary's the Name', I was fortunate enough to be able to focus all my time on it. A 9-5 type thing. I used it as my dissertation for my Masters, so I had all summer to write it. I doubt I'll have this luxury again, so now I just write where I can find time. I do like to have the radio on when I write though, Radio X being my station of choice.

Do you have a favourite character that you have written so far?

It may sound obvious, but Mary, definitely. She's such a kind character, and I loved seeing things through her eyes. I still do it! I see a news story and I think, Mary would have something funny to say about that.

Have you always known that you wanted to be an author?

It's always been a dream of mine. I even wrote it in my Primary school yearbook. I didn't pursue it through high school and most of Uni, but when I took creative writing modules, my passion for it came back. It still feels strange when someone refers to me as an author though.

When you're not writing what would we find you doing?

Well, as a writer, my top answer has to be reading of course! But I also like to go to the gym, play poker with friends, or watch my team Arsenal play (this isn't always enjoyable...). I'm a huge music fan too, and my musical hero is Brian Fallon, who I was lucky enough to see twice last year.

Your short story "Dancin" is used as part of the West College of Scotland's Higher English course, can you tell us how this came about and how you felt about that?

It's a funny story. A girl contacted me through Twitter and asked for the story. When I asked why, she said she needed it to finish her essay and it couldn't wait! Huge surprise for me. I contacted the teacher of the class and she told me she read it in the magazine Quotidian (great magazine, look it up!) and thought it would fit well with her class. Since then, it's continued to be used, and the teacher, Mrs Fiona Wallace, always lets me know when the new batch read (and hopefully enjoy) it!

Having written both short stories and a novel, do you have a preference over which you write?

Both have their advantages, but I really enjoyed getting immersed in the long narrative of 'Mary's the Name'. It's a lot of work, but when readers respond to the story and the characters, it makes all the months of writing worth it. I'm looking forward to getting back into this process.

As part of your promotion for Mary's The Name, you used Tinder (I had to google what this was!) You wrote a great post about it, but what can we now look forward to when you're promoting future works?

Thank you! I feel I may have set the bar too high with quirky promotion ideas now! I don't have anything crazy in mind right now, but as I've shown, I'm not embarrassed to try anything. Tinder's worked well for me so far, I'm sure I could fire it up again for the next novel...

Do you have a favourite author?

I don't think I could pick just one. In terms of Scottish authors, I admire James Kelman and Ali Smith. Outside of Scotland, Patrick deWitt is my new favourite!

I know Mary's The Name is only just being published, but what can we look forward to from you next?

I'm currently putting together the plot of novel number two. I don't want to say too much, but I'm hoping to set in my hometown of Stirling. A couple of schoolboys may feature, getting mixed up in something dodgy when they should be at school!

Thank you so much to Ross for joining me today and look forward to  a review of Mary's The Name coming up on Life Of A Nerdish Mum soon!

To Connect With Ross Sayer

Twitter - @Sayers33
Facebook - Ross Sayers

An eight-year-old girl and her granpa are on the run…

“When me and Granpa watched James Bond films, he told me not to be scared because people didn’t have guns like that in Scotland. That must’ve been why the robbers used hammers.”

Orphaned Mary lives with her granpa, but after he is mixed up in a robbery at the bookies where he works, they flee to the Isle of Skye. Gradually, Mary realises that her granpa is involved. And the robbers are coming after him–and their money.

Mary’s quirky outlook on life, loss, and her love of all things Elvis, will capture your heart. Full of witty Scots banter, Mary’s the Name will have you reaching for the hankies, first with laughter, then with tears.

Heart-warming and heart-breaking, this darkly comic debut is from a fresh voice set to become Scotland’s answer to Roddy Doyle.

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