Got asked a couple of times yesterday about my Scottish fiction, so here’s the gen.
A lot of my work, long and short form, has been set in Scotland, and much of it uses the history and folklore. There’s just something about the misty landscapes and old buildings that speaks straight to my soul. Bloody Celts… we get all sentimental at the least wee thing.
I grew up on the West Coast of Scotland in an environment where the supernatural was almost commonplace.
My grannie certainly had a touch of ‘the sight’, always knowing when someone in the family was in trouble. There are numerous stories told of family members meeting other, long dead, family in their dreams, and I myself have had more than a few encounters with dead family, plus meetings with what I can only class as residents of faerie. I have had several precognitive dreams, one of which saved me from a potentially fatal car crash.
So it’s no surprise the landscape and the folklore and the general high weirdness of my homeland come out in my writing. So far I’ve set novels and novellas over a broad swathe of the country
- Glasgow – THE AMULET, THE SIRENS, THE SKIN GAME, DEAL OR NO DEAL, THE JOB
- Edinburgh – THE EXILED, PENTACLE, THE CONCORDANCES OF THE RED SERPENT
- Skye – TORMENTOR, THE SIRENS
- Inner Hebrides / Oban area – RAMSKULL
- Fife / Falkland – THE CONCORDANCES OF THE RED SERPENT
- Outer Hebrides – ISLAND LIFE
- North Ayrshire – ELDREN
- Borders / Hadrian’s Wall – THE WATCHERS TRILOGY
- Highlands – THE HOUSE ON THE MOOR
- St. Andrews – THE ROAD HOLE BUNKER MYSTERY
…and historically as well as geographically, in many short stories, too numerous to mention, with pastiches from the likes of Stevenson, Doyle and Mrs Oliphant in the Ghost Club collection, along with stories for Carnacki, Sherlock Holmes, Professor Challenger, Derek Adams, Augustus Seton, Alexander Seton and many more.
As ever, details of all the books on my website. Over there ==> williammeikle.com
I have a deep love of old places, in particular menhirs and stone circles, and I’ve spent quite a lot of time travelling the UK and Europe just to visit archaeological remains. I also love what is widely known as ‘weird shit’. I’ve spent far too much time surfing and reading Fortean, paranormal and cryptozoological websites. The cryptozoological stuff especially fascinates me, and provides a direct stimulus for a lot of my fiction.
I’ve also been influenced by many Scottish writers. Stevenson in particular is a big influence. He is a master of plotting, and of putting innocents into situations far out of their usual comfort zones while still maintaining a grounding in their previous, calmer, reality. His way with a loveable rogue in Treasure Island and Kidnapped in particular is also a big influence. Other Scottish writers who have influenced me include John Buchan, Iain Banks and, more in my youth than now, Alistair MacLean and Nigel Tranter. From them I learned how to use the scope of both the Scottish landscape and its history while still keeping the characters alive.
But I think it’s the people that influence me most. Everybody in Scotland’s got stories to tell, and once you get them going, you can’t stop them. I love chatting to people, usually in pubs, and finding out the weird shit they’ve experienced. My Glasgow PI, Derek Adams is mainly based on a bloke I met years ago in a bar in Partick, and quite a few of the characters that turn up and talk too much in my books can be found in real life in bars in Glasgow, Edinburgh and St Andrews.
Although I now live in Newfoundland, Scotland is embedded in my heart and soul and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I write a lot of material set over here too now, but the Scottish stories will continue. Always.
The next in the pipeline is another Derek Adams novella, FARSIDE, coming soon in the Occult Detective Quarterly Presents anthology, and Derek is once again tramping the streets of Glasgow, in a case that brings together some threads from my recent writings, in the SIGILS AND TOTEMS myths, the Concordances of the Red Serpent, and the Seton family history.