Path to Success and HellCorp by guest author Jonathan Whitelaw
I am glad to have the author of the successful new novel, Hell Corp, Jonathan Whitelaw, visit my blog today to discuss the influences on his writing throughout his life.
Reading and writing fiction has always been a daily part of my life. My mother tells a story every Christmas how she was encouraged by my very first school teacher to get me to read.
“It doesn’t matter what – even if it’s a comic book, just get him to read.”
Twenty-something years later and I have a lot to be grateful for to Mrs Arthur and her sage advice. I just thought it was cool that a teacher would encourage me to read comics!
But it was a lesson that I’ve carried with me throughout my entire life. If I wasn’t playing with my toys I was writing and illustrating stories for them. I remember fondly on summer holidays longing to be back home to reenact with my Star Wars figures or Lego or something else what I’d written into little stories and mini-comics. And that was even on trips to DisneyWorld!
I began seriously writing in my late teens. I’ve always read a lot. Many other authors always say that reading is the best thing next to writing. It’s inspiration and opens your horizons to all the other worlds, styles, characters and settings that scribes are putting together out there. Education is a big part of writing and you can never learn too much. You also can’t learn everything, which means there’s always something out there that’s new. In the digital age, with the world at our fingertips, that’s quite an achievement.
When I moved to university I kept up my writing. Studying at Glasgow University, I was thrown into the deep end when it came to creative writing. Suddenly I wasn’t just on my own but surrounded by so many other talented aspiring and established authors from all different backgrounds, countries and approaches. And it was fantastic just to soak all of that up and give it a go myself.
I graduated in 2008 with a psychology degree but returned for creative writing and scriptwriting courses. All the while I was toiling away, working out ideas, getting them down and keeping writing. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I started submitting work to agents and publishers with the hopes of getting published. My work had appeared in a number of almanacs and publications at university level but nothing in the wider publishing world.
As is often the case – life got in the way. Meeting my future wife, working full-time and being a productive member of society – instead of a lay-about student (I lay around couches an awful lot) my writing was pushed down and down the pecking order or priority. It didn’t help I’d recieved rejection letters for what I’d been sure were bestselling ideas. That said, I didn’t feel like a true writer, oddly enough, until I had my first rejection come back. In a strange sort of right of passage, it felt like I was actually doing something right!
A move from Glasgow to Edinburgh brought a lot of change in my life. And with it inspiration. The idea for Morbid Relations came to me and I immediately set about working it up. With two hours commuting on a train every day I found myself with lots of time to actually write and not do anything else. The first draft was done in six weeks and the final version in two months. Then it was back on the trail of trying to get it published.
I received an offer from Glasgow publishers Ringwood for the novel in November 2014 with a view to publishing in 2015. I was delighted an immensely proud of my debut work – a dark comedy about family life. And it was enough for me to keep going.
The experience of being part of the publishing industry taught me many things. And when I came across my publisher Urbane, I knew we had to work together. Their fresh approach, style and commitment to their products really stood out for me. And I was elated when they signed up HellCorp.
While I’ve been successful in journalism, my heart has always lay with being a professional full-time author. I love my work and I love both jobs. And I’m so lucky to be able to do what I love every single day.
“A writer to watch.”
– Gareth L. Powell, winner of the BSFA award for best novel
Sometimes even the Devil deserves a break!
Life is hard for The Devil and he desperately wants to take a holiday. Growing weary from playing the cosmic bad guy, he resolves to set up a company that will do his job for him so the sins of the world will tick over while he takes a vacation. God tells him he can have his vacation just as soon as he solves an ancient crime.
But nothing is ever easy and before long he is up to his pitchfork in solving murders, desperate to crack the case so he can finally take the holiday he so badly needs…
This is a perfectly-pitched darkly comic crime novel that is ideal for fans of Christopher Fowler and Ben Aaranovitch.
Jonathan Whitelaw is an author, journalist and broadcaster. After working on the frontline of Scottish politics, he moved into journalism. Subjects he has covered have varied from breaking news, the arts, culture and sport to fashion, music and even radioactive waste – with everything in between. He’s also a regular reviewer and talking head on shows for the BBC and STV. ‘HellCorp’ is his second novel following his debut, ‘Morbid Relations’.
Social Media links:
FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/JonathanWhitelawAuthor/
Publication Day: 5th July 2018
Publisher: Urbane Publications
Category: Fiction, Genre: Thriller | Supernatural | Humour