Short, Sharp Interview: Nigel Bird

southsiders 1-3

PDB: What’s going on?

In terms of the business of writing, I feel very busy.

I’ve just released the latest Southsiders novel, By The Time I Get To Phoenix. I was really sad to see publisher Blasted Heath come to an end. They did a fine job of editing and putting covers to the Southsiders books, but only managed to put out the first two. They generously handed the covers over to me, leaving me the relatively easy job of putting them out. I’m holding back on book four, the final one in the series, after this latest one has bedded in.

I’ve also just finished a novel that I’m rather proud of. I’ll say more about it when the time is right. I worked hard on the edits and feel it’s in tip top condition at this point.

In case I didn’t have enough on my plate, I’m also involved in a new role as Editorial Consultant for the massively impressive All Due Respect. It’s a grand title for what I do – reading submitted manuscripts, making notes and comments and suggestions and passing them on – but I’ll take it. The role may adapt over time and I’ll be happy to take on the changes if and when they arise. When Chris Rhatigan asked me to do this I didn’t have to give it a second thought. Life may be busy enough, but if you’re going to be overwhelmed, it might as well be while doing the things you love. I was proud to be asked and delighted to accept. Chris and I worked together on the Pulp Ink books and he took on a short story of mine for the ADR anthology a while back. We also put a story together that was published in Needle Magazine. I met him in the summer when he came to Edinburgh and it was great to get to know him better. He’s a star in so many ways and as a writer he excels (check out his books when you can, they’re terrific).

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

If it’s there. I don’t make an effort to play anything particular and would most likely have the wonderful Radio 6 on as much as anything else. I’m also partial to a musician going by the name Long Hat Pins and I do play his tracks to get me into the groove by distracting me from anything else.

PDB: What makes you laugh?

I’ve been recording episodes of Fraser daily for a month or so now. There are so many of them that my memory is almost used up. I see it as filling up a bank with happiness for days when I feel a bit low.

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?

I’ve not had one of those since I last had a drink just over twelve years ago. From memory, the best cure is another drink with a couple of Gregg’s cheese and onion pasties.

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Rather than pick a spot, I think I’d change world geography. Mostly I like it where I am on the Scottish coast. The attraction is the beauty of the area and the low density of humanity. I guess I’d really like to live by the sea in an area of outstanding beauty where the weather is warm and dry much of the time, there aren‘t many people around and there’s easy access to a wonderful city (I can tick most of those boxes here in Dunbar what with Newcastle and Edinburgh within range, but the weather one definitely contains a cross).

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?

I get confused by this concept. To me a bucket list sounds like the place you put all the things you really don’t want in your life. That’s probably just showing my age.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

More reading for All Due Respect.

I’m also letting my mind marinade an idea for a prequel for the novel I’ve just finished.

nigelbirdPDB: Anything else?

If this gets out in time, the three Southsiders books will be free over the weekend of the 23rd and 24th September. If not, I think I’ve said enough.

Bio: Nigel is the author of a number of acclaimed novels, novellas and short story collections including The Shallows, the Southsiders series, Mr Suit, Smoke and Dirty Old Town. He is currently an editorial consultant for the publisher All Due Respect books.  As well as writing, he is a Support for Learning teacher in a number of schools in East Lothian.