Sunday, 29 August 2010

Watch that language!

After a flurry of activity with my novel – editing, proof-reading, cover design details – things have now gone quiet and I just wait for publication. Well, no, actually. I switch to gearing up for everything to do with publicity.

I recall when Counting the Days to Armageddon was published and got a fairly prominent review in one of the church newspapers. I was pleased and elated – of course I was. But I also felt very exposed. I'm beginning to feel the same again, but for rather different reasons this time. After all, Bunderlin is utterly different and if I published under another name I don't suppose anyone would guess that I'm the same guy.

It's the prospect of loyalty sales. Which ought to be a good thing, of course, and so it is. But I doubt whether folk who have known me for the past few years as a Methodist minister will be prepared for the swearing. It's not as prolific as in Pam Stephenson's biography of Billy Connolly, but there is a lot more than you are likely to hear in the vestry before morning service. Yes, lots, lots more.

I had wondered whether I should tone it down a bit. But my characters are, I think, true to life and I wanted it to stay that way. The worst offenders are Scobie Sharples, a petty criminal, and Maureen Tong, a one-time prostitute. And that's the way I hear them speaking. So that's the way it stayed.

I hope that folk will not be too upset at the thought of a former minister portraying such characters. It isn't meant to shock, only to tell the story. And I would hope that these two characters, or their counterparts in real life, would be treated with the same dignity and friendliness that they receive from Martin in my novel.

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