Today on Meet the Author we’re talking to Charlie Laidlaw about his trilogy (and how they might have changed!), going back in time to win the lottery and the fragility of life……
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I grew up in a small village in the west of Scotland, then went to uni in Edinburgh.
I started my career as a journalist and, as London is the epicentre of print journalism, I moved there for a dozen or so years. However, the allure of London eventually faded and I wanted to go home. I suppose that we all have a strong sense of home, whatever and wherever that is, and Edinburgh, to me, is the one place I will always keep returning to.
Apart from that, I am married with two children, live in the east of Scotland, provide writing services to a number of clients, and am starting to teach a Diploma course in Creative Writing.
What inspired you to start writing?
I don’t think I had any kind of inspiration. Rather, it was the sad realisation that I can write but am pretty useless at everything else. I do believe that everyone should pursue what they’re good at.
By the time I left uni, I had written four novels. I still have two of those, both of which will never see the light of day. But it was good practice, because novel writing is a skill that has to be learned.
How many books have you written and published?
I am the author of two contemporary novels. My first, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead, was published in 2017 (Accent Press). My second, The Space Between Time, was published in June.
My third, Love Potions and Other Calamities, is being published at the start of November.
Together they form a stand-alone trilogy of novels set in Edinburgh and East Lothian, although (and don’t tell Accent Press) I’m working on a 4th…which will really muck up their trilogy marketing strategy.
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
I think The Space Between Time for no good reason, except that it is an emotionally complex book with an unreliable narrator who doesn’t want to face up to the truth of her childhood. Getting that complexity across was a balancing act, which I think I’ve managed to do.
How do you choose the names of your characters?
Um…I have no idea. My books are character-driven so, really, I could call them anything. The name of a character, for me, is irrelevant.
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why?
I suppose Suzie from The Things We Learn When We’re Dead. She’s very beautiful. Need I say more?
Who is your favourite author and which of their books is your favourite, and why?
Perhaps Joanne Harris and her book Chocolat. I like the way that the main character, Vianne, has gifts that, perhaps, are not of this world. I like books that hint at things, rather than make everything explicit. I like books, in other words, where readers can reach different conclusions.
What is the first thing you can remember writing?
A short story in primary school. It involved a treasure island and treasure. Thankfully, that’s all I can remember about it.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
I spent several years in defence intelligence, but kept shooting the wrong people, and I don’t like vodka martini.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go? (Backwards or forwards!)
I would look at this week’s lottery results, then go back a week and buy a ticket with those numbers.
If you could have one conversation with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Maybe my grandfather, because I never really knew him. I am fascinated by how we come to be who we are. He might hold a few clues.
What are your favourite things to do?
All the usual things…very boring. Eat, sleep, etc. Mostly etc.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
Visiting a refugee camp in The Lebanon. Lots of lovely people and smiley faces. Two weeks later it was the scene of a massacre. A slaughter of the innocents, for no purpose. It brought home to me the fragility of life.
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
Get a proper job!
Name one book you think everyone should read?!
Jenny by Paul Gallico. Every child should read it. It is beautiful and tragic…it made me realise that not everything in life is nice.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
The Space Between Time….
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.
Where to buy: Amazon
Where to find Charlie online: Twitter
Thanks so much for taking part in Meet the Author Charlie. Loving your previous jobs……!
Any questions for Charlie, then give him a shout!
Have a wonderful day all!