Author Confessions: Irvine Welsh
Leith's favourite son is back with a vengeance - and a new book, which promises to be just as hectic and searing as his previous novels. A Decent Ride sees the return of the infamous 'Juice’ Terry Lawson, but this time, he might just have met his match.
To celebrate the book's publication, Irvine's letting his fans into his literary world on a four-date tour of Scotland to discuss his latest foray into the seedy underworld of Lawson and co. The author will be holding events in Dundee, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh so you can get up close and personal with the man who gave us Scotland's second favourite book character. You can buy tickets for Dundee's exclusive pre-publication event.
We caught up with Irvine and niggled some Author Confessions out of him. And, as you might imagine, he had a lot to reveal...
What was the first thing you wrote?
As a small kid at school I wrote a story about a hamster that ran away from home.
What was the first thing you wrote that you were really proud of?
The story above. I had a hamster and was always running away, so write what you know.
I was working full-time when I wrote my first novel. You just have to steal time from your employer.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I finished my first book. I went straight onto my second. Then my third. I thought "how did I get by without all this?" Then I realised that I didn't, really.
Is there anyone who really inspired you along the way?
My mum and dad and extended family. They instilled in me that I could do anything I wanted to do.
Which authors inspired and inspire you?
All of them. The writing you love, you want to emulate, the stuff you don't, you get equally inspired by thinking: "well, I could do better than that."
Did you ever doubt yourself?
No. Not overall. Of course, on each project you have to have that fear that it's all worthless, pointless rubbish. That's the thing you fight through to make it good.
What’s the worst job you have done?
Bingo caller. I was a young guy and I got groped a lot by drunk, middle-aged women. This would be heavenly now, but back then it was hell.
Did you do any courses in creative writing before you were published?
How did your first publishing deal come about?
I finished the first book and sent it to the very first publisher in London and they published it. My editor then moved to another company and they had a bidding war for my next book. I've since learned that this is NOT typical. I've been lucky in this game - but not in any other, so it evens itself out.
Did you have an agent before you got your first publishing deal or did you get one after?
No. I don't have a literary agent and have never had one. I negotiate all my own deals with my publishers.
If I wasn't an author I'd be either dead, drunk, destitute, or worse, a teacher at a second rate college who did stand-up comedy in the evenings.
How did you feel when you found out you were going to get published?
I was on holiday in Spain when my editor left some messages on my voicemail, saying the novel was great and they wanted to publish it. I thought it was my mates down the pub, mucking around.
Can you tell us about some of your writing habits?
Get up, breakfast, put on some music and write. Stop when you feel tired. Print out. Go outside to coffee shop and review what you've done.
What would you be if you weren’t an author?
I'd be either dead, drunk, destitute, or worse, a teacher at a second rate college who did stand-up comedy in the evenings.
What’s the worst piece of writing advice you have ever received?
That you will get writers block at some point. It's a disease only non-writers suffer from.
Do you think it’s possible to hold down a full time job and to become a writer?
Yes. I was working full-time when I wrote my first novel. You just have to steal time from your employer.
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers what would it be?
Know yourself. So many people take up writing who don't actually like to spend time on their own. It drives them crazy. You need to be able to do that. If you can't, save yourself a lot of pain and find some other outlet for your creativity.
Competition: Win tickets to see Irvine Welsh live!
Thanks to Vintage Books we can offer one lucky person a pair of tickets to see Irvine Welsh live at the Gardyne Theatre, Dundee on Sunday 12 April. Come and spend an evening with the author of Trainspotting and Skagboys as he delves into his latest publication A Decent Ride. Fasten your seatbelts, because this is one ride that could certainly get a little bumpy.
All you have to do to enter is answer this simple question in the comments below or email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org marked 'Irvine Welsh Competition':
- Who played Renton in Danny Boyle’s film adaptation of Trainspotting?
Closing date: 17:00, Wednesday 8 April 2015. Open to UK entrants only. Full terms and conditions.
Find out if Irvine Welsh's A Decent Ride book tour is coming to your town.