I’m gratified by the response so far to One for My Baby. It’s a radical departure for me in various ways - the first book of mine with no reference to childhood, and with no backstory at all, and certainly the most stripped-down book I’ve written. My ambition was to get as close to having a blank page as it’s possible to get while still having a story.
It’s the fourth book in what I call my Phoenix Noir sequence (the others are How Do You Like Your Blue-Eyed Boy?, The Wrong Thing and When It All Comes Down to Dust, and I think it’ll be the last book I set in Phoenix for a while, though I intend to write a sequel to When It All Comes Down to Dust at some point. I’ve written about Phoenix since shortly after arriving there in 1995, and I’ve now said as much as I have to say about life there for the time being.
My next book, which I’ve already started, is a cyberpunk story with no specific setting. I also want to write a book of stories set in Scotland, a place I stopped writing about after The Book of Man, and only started writing about again with a story I wrote in 2012, "Big Davey Joins the Majority." Writing that story unearthed something long-buried (and, I had thought, dead), and I realized that I have more stories to tell set in that small, cold country whose accent I still speak with.
And I want to write a Western. And a Zen police procedural series.
I woke in the afternoon of the first day of 1994, having slept off the debaucheries of a Scottish New Year celebration. I thought I was a few weeks away from finishing The Book of Man, which I had been working on for two and a half years. I took a walk around Leith in the cold, went home, thawed out, ate dinner, brewed a pot of tea and decided to to do a bit of work on the book. When I went to bed, the book was finished. I couldn’t have imagined the doors it would open for me, and I’m still grateful to the book, grateful to have written it.
It’s nice when one of my favorite authors likes my stuff too. Tony Black - who interviewed me for his book Hard Truths - named The Book of Man as one of his five favorites in the Scottish Daily Record. I’m in illustrious company; the other four are Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, Peter Carey’s The True History of the Kelly Gang, George Douglas Brown’s The House With the Green Shutters and Stevenson’s Treasure Island.
The Glasgow author explores the underside of the city like no other. Poignant and of the time, it’s a classic in waiting. I only discovered Graham recently, and he’s already become a favorite author of mine. A true talent, currently residing in the U.S.
|Photo by Keith Rawson|
Yesterday I watched Two in the Wave, a documentary released last year about the friendship, and later antagonism, between Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard. I enjoyed it, and agree with this review from The Village Voice.
Someone asked me, “What is your favorite of your books so far?”
A reader kindly let me me know that there’s an error with the pricing of the U.K. Kindle edition of The Book of Man. They’ve got it set at more than a hundred quid, when it should be 99 pence plus V.A.T. It should be fixed in a few hours.