The tickle of curiosity. The gasp of discovery. Fingers running across the keyboard.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Scotch on the Rocks in Abu Dhabi - Interview with Thriller Writer Seumas Gallacher


Fiona - Hi Seumas! Here in D.C. I am just sitting down to my
            lunch. Dark figs and chocolate... but I think you're
            probably having cocktail hour. How did a Scotsman
            like you end up in Abu Dhabi?

Seumas - Via London, the Far East, and now Abu Dhabi... 
             I've been a banker/corporate troubleshooter for the
             last 25 years, and it's taken me into some scary
             places, boardrooms included... there's some loopy
             creatures in some of these...

Fiona - Before I go any further, let me tell everyone that your
            name is pronounced Shay-maahss. This is very unlike
            the "See- high-pitched whistling sound- muh-sss" that
            I was tutored to say by a mutual friend (who is now in
            the dog-house for having me on).

Seumas - ... leave young Dolan out of this ... Interpol'll take
               care of him.

Fiona -  No doubt. (Look for trickster/author John Dolan in
             an upcoming interview.) "Having me on," by the
             way, is NOT something most Americans would say. It sounds mildly lewd. Are there Scottish
             phrases that have gotten you in trouble?

Seumas - When I was in my late teens and early twenties MOST of the things I said got me into some kinda
               trouble... too smart and quick on the lip, thankfully that'as toned down considerably...

Fiona -    Hard to believe.

Seumas - ... I lead a quiet sedentary existence, waiting for the next big thing to come along...

Fiona - Okay, while I have this opportunity I want to clear up
            a question I (and many of my American
            friends) have ... When I was in Scotland, I asked a
            man, "What is worn under your kilt?" (There I was
            being young and letting anything pop right out of my
            mouth) And his response? "Why nothing, lass,
            everything is in perfect working condition." Blushing,
            I went away - no better informed than before. So can
            you please tell?

Seumas - Another blush-producing answer is 'lipstick', but we
            won't go there ... if there was anything worn under the kilt,
            then it would be a skirt, not a kilt...

                                                       Fiona - Okay then!

Seumas in His Kilt - Stop it, ladies. He's married.

Fiona - You just came out with a blog book - can you tell us what it's about?

Seumas - It's the second collection of my blog posts... I do a post
               almost daily now... It's intended to be my 'brand' as
               distinct from the author 'voice' in the novels... I do it with a
               tongue-in-cheek poking of fun mostly at myself as the old
               Jurassic coming up against the absurdities of the
               SOSYAL NETWURKIN universe.
               (It's on )... many recognized
               authors follow me now, and tell me they've been having
               the same experiences all their writing lives... it gets my
               name 'out there' on the whole building the platform thing...

Fiona - Yes, your blog is pretty darned funny. I enjoy reading your
            posts. But it's a little bipolar as a writing style. I read
            Vengeance Wears Black - and there's not much funny there
           - it's cloak and dagger-y stuff.

Seumas - Quite so.. it's a great offset for me in my writing, that
             I can loosen up from the novel writing... I find
             the blogs so easy to write... just think of a topic, relate
             it to writing if ye can, and off it goes... the
             novels are intended to have a wee bit of an edge...

Fiona - So here at ThrillWriting, we aim to help writers write it
            right - and that often means pointing out what authors
            might be getting wrong. Can you tell me, from a
            readers point of view, what annoys you?

Seumas - I seldom get 'upset' about other people's writing, but
             I think an area that may lend itself to 'not doing stuff 
             like that, please' is where an author leaves the end of
             the book REALLY cliff hanging...expecting the reader
             to go out and buy the follow on... for example not so
             long ago, even Lee Child did it with one of his Jack
             Reacher stories, where Jack was hanging on by his
             elbows at the top of a 200ft tunnel drop after an
             explosion... that's TOO much... it's ok if some ends
             are left untied, but the reader knows that something else will obviously follow, but , they can wait
             until the next book appears... also where an author has not done even basic homework or research
             on things like the geography the book moves around in... even if it's fiction, places like London,
             New York etc, have some unmovable features...

Fiona - Since this is a peeve, what research do you do for your books
            to make them accurate?

Seumas - Great question!... with the access to Google and the Web
               and all its wonderful aspects, it's easier to find and verify
               things.. for example... the Gurkha kukri knife on the cover of
               VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK (LINK) is precisely as it
               looks in reality... in 
              THE VIOLIN MAN'S LEGACY (LINK), I researched the
              Atacama desert region and the geography into Bolivia..all
              from the Web... one South American reader from Chile
              asked me when was the last time I visited his country as I had
              pitched it perfectly... I've NEVER been there except on old
              Uncle Internet... so yes, research is VITAL, one detail out of
              kilter can ruin the book for a reader who knows otherwise...

Fiona - I'm working on a book that takes place half the time in London - and I was able to "Walk" around the streets using Google Maps - it's quite fun! (and a little nauseating - when it goes too fast).

Seumas - Excellent ...

Fiona - So Seumas, let's get personal, tell me about your favorite scar.

Seumas - ...boringly, I bear scars on my legs from some pretty savage football (soccer) boot stud tackles in
               my youth... I played semi-professionally for a while. It was a tough guy's game back then... now
               it's populated with ballet dancers.

             ...and the mental scar at having been passed over to double for Brad Pitt in his movies will haunt me

Fiona - Poor thing.

Seumas - ... indeed.

Fiona - Hahaha! - so tell me more about your newest novel.

Seumas - Same set of characters... different circumstances to handle... no spoilers allowed... but it's a grittier
             read than the first two... developing the characters a lot more as the books progress, which I like to
             see... still learning the trade, y'see...

Fiona -  Book three is called, SAVAGE PAYBACK. When does it come out?

Seumas - I try not to impose needless timetables on myself, and it has been a bit of a moving feast... I'm
              back into it now, and hope to get it on to Kindle probably before the end of September, maybe
              October, or maybe next July, or maybe...

Fiona - You've had almost 68,000 people reading you - that's darned impressive. Do your fans influence the
            story line? Do your readers ever ask for something to take place? Or want to know more about a
            certain character?

Seumas - Not so much... I DO try to write the kind of stuff that I would like to read myself... if I try to please
             all of the people all of the time... well, we know where that leads ... there are times when I re-read
             the books, and it's like reading someone else's novels., not mine.... I LUV that ...

Fiona - What was the last novel you read that you thought - WOW! That was awesome.

Seumas - SHADOW OF THE WIND by Carlos Ruiz Zafon...fabulous translation from the original Spanish...

Fiona - Most excellent. Seumas, since I've asked what's under your kilt, and about your scars, I'm
            wondering how I can get any more personal. Perhaps you could tell me what surprises you the most
            about life in Abu Dhabi? And does it feed your writing?

Seumas - Abu Dhabi is a lot more liberal than foreigners imagine.. but it IS an Islamic society... the Arabic
             people with whom I've had the privilege of dealing when I ran part of a bank here, were almost
             'noble' in their behavior... but globally, regardless of so-called cultural differences, people are people
             are people ...there's good and not so pleasant everywhere,,, nothing much surprises me nowadays...
             my writing is a confluence of EVERYTHING I've observed in a life rich with experiences and
             characters galore.

Fiona - On that note, Seumas, I'm going to thank you for hanging out with me. I hope you have an excellent
             rest of your evening!

Seumas - You too, m'Lady.. it's been a real pleasure ... have a good one. Ciao!

Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.


  1. Great interview, folks. By the way I think the correct pronunciation is "Shame Us". That works on so many levels

  2. You likely saw my comments on 'Shame Us' re-blog, but repetition can't hurt: MARVELOUS interview! Amusing, entertaining, informative...

    Incidentally I tried to follow your blog but kept getting some 'cannot at the moment' box. Because of this careless use of my time, you must follow my blog twice! That would be:

  3. Dear Mr. Chitwood,

    My sincere apologies for you inconvenience. At your request, I shall head over now and like you twice (though I like you twice anyway since you're so kind). Thanks for bringing the glitch to my attention. I removed the whole thing from the blog. I followed you on Google+ as well. Thanks for visiting, Billy Ray. Hello to your wife.

    Cheers, Fiona