With pleasure, let’s get to know Charlie, I am reading his work at the moment so far, very different from what I expected but I am enjoying it! It’s rather nice to connect with a fellow British author….. he’s from Scotland, but you know what I mean he’s from my neck of the woods.
Thank you to R and R Book Tours for my review copy and the chance to interview Charlie.
Hello nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?
Hi, Kim, and nice to meet you too. I’m from the west of Scotland, although I now live in the east of Scotland. In between, I worked as a journalist in London. Away from writing, I teach creative writing.
Kim: Oh cool, London my home town that’s interesting. Scotland though? It’s a bit chilly for me up north.
How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?
I don’t think there was any inspiration behind it. It was just something I realised I could do. If I realised I could work with wood, I would have become a carpenter.
Who is your favourite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?
Too many to mention, living and dead. Paul Gallico probably inspired me as a child, the likes of Hemingway and Fay Weldon came later. Since then, many, many writers. The important thing is to keep reading and discovering new voices.
What genre do you enjoy reading?
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
It didn’t really. I think you have to learn to be true to what you’re writing, and that shouldn’t change whether you’ve written one or a hundred books.
So you’ve published a series, what is the series about?
No, no series. I’ve written three stand-alone books that all just happen to be set in my part of Scotland.
What was it like creating back to back stories that link?
I thought about linking them in subtle ways, but decided against. Anne Tyler is a good example, with her books set in the same part of the USA, but completely unrelated to one another.
Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could what genre would you like to dabble in?
I’m writing a children’s book and a friend of mine is doing the illustrations. So, who knows where that might lead?
Kim: Wonderful, that’s a totally different talent all together capturing a very young reader. All the best.
What has been your most proud moment as an author?
I think just being published. It was an ambition for a long time, so it was an ambition fulfilled.
Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration?
Every day – still. But I’ve just bought an Apple Mac so it would be a very expensive bout of frustration.
Kim:*giggles* yeah, I’d think twice about that one.
Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?
Plotter. I can let the story unfold in strange ways, but I have plot and storylines mapped.
Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing?
I love creative writing, and the unusual ways that an author can express themself. But I hate bad grammar.
Every writer has a word(s) that they always slip up on when they write, then slap their forehead when they notice their typo. For me it’s further and farther exit or exists- but hey I’m over it now. Do you have a word (s) that make you go blah! Go away not another damn typo.
I hate my new Apple Mac keyboard with a vengeance – every second word has a typo in. Can’t get the hang of it at all. So, basically, virtually every word.
What three tips would you give any aspiring writer?
Learn your trade. It’s like becoming a lawyer or a plumber. You have to understand things like plot and character, the nuances of time and place, the use of adjectives and adverbs. Then, take advice, show your stuff to people whose opinions matter to you. Don’t try to do the journey on your own.
What are you working on now? What will you release next?
A third book set in rural Scotland, entitled Love Potions and Other Calamities. Out on November 6th.
So… where can we get your books?
That depends where you are, but always on Amazon.
What are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?
I must confess I don’t know the answer to that!
Kim: Me neither, my confession is that’s why I always ask!
What does “success” look like to you? When would you say “damn, I’ve made it baby!”
Good question, and I don’t know! I suppose I would like to be able to write full time on the back of what I can make financially. But, what’s nice is to have my books critically well received – so that’s a realistic notion of success.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
Probably hurts them, because big egos get in the way of humility which, I believe, all good writers have. Good writers don’t have false ideas of their own talent. Bad writers with big egos have unreasonable ideas of their worth.
Kim: Awww it’s a fine line we tread Charlie. You’ve got to have confidence though.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I probably do spend a lot of time on research, but that’s just a reflection of the books I’ve written up to now. Other projects I’m working on are taking very little research.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I don’t mind bad reviews because not everyone will like my books. But what I don’t like are reviews, good or bad, where the reviewer has obviously skimmed through my book, and didn’t “get” the main themes.
The only advice I would give to book bloggers is not to get bogged down with huge reading challenges. Simply take the time to enjoy a book, and to enjoy reading at a reasonable pace.
What was your hardest scene to write?
I don’t write anything graphic or violent, and I would have trouble writing that kind of thing.
Do you Google yourself?
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’m friends with a number of authors, and we are all supportive of one another. I’m not sure that we help each other become better writers, because we’re all writing in different genres. But it’s nice having writery semi-colleagues.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
From one to five years.
What would you like readers to know?
About me? I’m a very nice person who likes paella, Greece, whisky (obviously), and white wine.
Kim: Haha haha…. okay, noted.
What’s your favourite movie?
I have no idea…but I watched Splash for the first time in years recently, and really enjoyed it.
What’s your favourite book and why?
I can’t really answer that but the book that probably had the greatest influence was Paul Gallico’s Jenny. It’s a children’s book that doesn’t shy away from death…I found it wonderful and sad, and was my portal from children’s books to more adult books.
What music do you like?
Where would you like to travel to and why?
I took a year off some time ago and travelled round the world, visiting countries such as Syria and the Lebanon – the latter of which was still in the throes of civil war. I’ve therefore seen places in pain and in poverty.
My favourite overseas country is Greece and, maybe, I’d like to visit every Greek island and then, like Lawrence Durrell, write about them.
Tell us about how you develop your characters?
They really develop themselves. I talk to them, listen to them, flesh them out bit by bit. I hope my characters come across as real because, first, they must be absolutely real to me.
Which one of your characters is your favourite and why?
Whoever I’m writing about!
Do you need a lot of sexual experience to be a good erotica author?
Probably a good imagination is more important!
Kim: *giggles* ya know, just last week I was talking to my co-author, we were talking about ‘girly’ stuff nothing major but in response to something I said about a guy I know, she said to me ‘Kim, OMG you’ve got a dirty mind!! S*ht.’ What I said was nothing ( in my mind) bad. I cracked up, my response was ‘ yeah, I’m a romance writer don’t forget’…. maybe a ‘dirty mind’ helps too 🙂
If you could do it all again would you change anything?
I would have taken my own advice and learned my trade sooner. A lot of blind alleys could have been avoided!
Pick one a one time “Bestselling author” or an author with longevity what would you rather?
Thank you Charlie! It was wonderful to connect with you. I will keep making my way through your book and review as soon as I can…. I don’t want to ‘skim’ I want to enjoy!
Welcome to the month-long mega tour for Charlie Laidlaw’s newest book, The Space Between Time, due for release on June 20th! There will be fantastic bloggers participating, who will be posting interviews, excerpts, reviews, and other exclusive content!
Additionally, there are loads of goodies being given away, so be sure to enter at the bottom!
The Space Between Time
Expected Publication Date: June 20th, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Dark Comedy
There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth…
Emma Maria Rossini appears to be the luckiest girl in the world. She’s the daughter of a beautiful and loving mother, and her father is one of the most famous film actors of his generation. She’s also the granddaughter of a rather eccentric and obscure Italian astrophysicist.
But as her seemingly charmed life begins to unravel, and Emma experiences love and tragedy, she ultimately finds solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theorem on the universe.
The Space Between Time is humorous and poignant and offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost.
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Timescale for a Closed Universe
It wasn’t an afternoon that I like to remember, and not just because of my shrieking tantrum. Once I’d calmed down, Mum told me I’d been very silly, because it was all make-believe on a cinema screen. I reminded her that she’d cried when Bambi’s mum died, and that was a film and a cartoon. Mum said that it wasn’t the same thing at all. But I wasn’t being silly because I wasn’t old enough to know the difference between pretence and reality.
Dad had looked pretty dead on the screen. The blood on his chest had looked pretty real. If it had been a different dead person, I would have been OK. Children don’t really know where make-believe ends and the real world begins and, partly because of who I am, it’s remained pretty hazy ever since. I also don’t like to remember that film because it was the moment when I realised that our lives were about to change, and I didn’t know if that would be a good thing.
Sounds strange, yes? Here’s something stranger: I am a child of the sea, I sometimes think, and have done ever since we first moved to live beside it. I feel subject to its vagaries and tempers, with its foaming margins framed against a towering sky. I am familiar with its unchanging mood swings. That’s how I like things; I find the familiar comforting. I find change threatening.
I am the daughter of someone who, not long after that ghastly cinema outing, became one of the most famous actors of his generation and, importantly for me, the granddaughter of a rather brilliant but obscure physics professor. But despite their overachievements, I have inherited no aptitude for mathematics and my father positively hated the idea of his only offspring following in his thespian footsteps. He knew how cruel and badly paid the profession could be. But I still look up to my grandfather, and think of his ludicrous moustache with affection.
Gramps once told me that there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on Earth. Just think of all those sandpits, beaches and deserts! That’s an awful lot of stars. He then told me, his only grandchild, that I was his shining star, which was a nice thing to say and why I remember him talking about sand and stars. On clear nights, with stars twinkling, I often think about him.
I still believe in my grandfather, and admire his stoic acceptance in the face of professional disdain, because I believe in the unique power of ideas, right or wrong, and that it’s our thoughts that shape our existence. We are who we believe ourselves to be.
I gave up believing in my father long ago, because speaking other people’s words and ideas seemed like a lame excuse for a job, even if he was paid millions, and met the Queen on several occasions. She must have liked him because she awarded him an OBE for services to film, theatre and charity. Charity! Who the hell told the Queen that?
I stopped believing in him one Christmas Day, a long time ago, when he simply didn’t turn up. It wasn’t his presents that I missed, or even his presence, but the warm, fuzzy feeling of being important to him. During that day of absence and loss I concluded that his wife and daughter couldn’t much matter to him, otherwise he’d have made a bigger effort to get home. That Christmas Day, my father was simply somewhere else, probably in a bar, immaculately dressed, his hair slicked back, the object of male envy and the centre of every woman’s attention for miles around.
In that respect, Dad was more tomcat than father, except that by then his territory, his fame, stretched around the globe. I know this: by then he had a Golden Globe to prove it. He gushed pheromones from every pore, squirting attraction in every direction, and even women with a poor sense of smell could sniff him out.
I feel mostly Scottish, but am a little bit Italian. It explains my name, Emma Maria Rossini; my dark complexion, black hair, the slightly long nose, and thin and lanky body. Obese I am not, and will never be, however much pasta I eat, and I eat lots. It also explains my temper, according to some people, although I don’t agree with them, and my brown cow’s eyes, as an almost-boyfriend once described them, thinking he was paying me a compliment, before realising that he had just become an ex-almost-boyfriend.
But mostly I am a child of the sea. That’s what happens if you live for long enough by its margins: it becomes a part of you; its mood echoing your mood, until you know what it’s thinking, and it knows everything about you. That’s what it feels like when I contemplate its tensile strength and infinite capacity for change. On calm flat days in North Berwick, with small dinghies marooned on the glassy water, and loud children squealing in its shallows, it can make me anxious and cranky.
The sea, on those days, seems soulless and tired, bereft of spirit. But on wilder days, the beach deserted, or with only a hardy dog-walker venturing across the sand, with large waves thundering in, broaching and breaking, then greedily sucking back pebbles into the foam, I feel energised: this is what the sea enjoys, a roaring irresponsibility, and I share in its pleasure. We are all children of the sea, I sometimes think, or we should be – even those who have never seen an ocean or tasted its saltiness; I can stand for hours and contemplate its far horizons, lost within myself, sharing its passion. In the Firth of Forth is the ebb and flow of my past and my existence, wrapped tight against the west wind. It is what I am, placid and calm, or loud and brash.
About the Author
I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault. That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father. That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.
I was brought up in the west of Scotland and graduated from the University of Edinburgh. I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.
I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist. I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics. I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.
I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries. Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa. What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember
Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then. However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.
Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.
I am married with two grown-up children and live in central Scotland. And that’s about it.
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I have 2 signed copies of The Space Between Time to giveaway, 3 fun coffee mugs featuring all 3 of Charlie Laidlaw’s books, and 3 digital copies of the book in the winner’s format of choice! Amazing right? Click the link below to enter!
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