Saturday, 24 September 2011

Guest Article: Graham McNeill "A Wee Boy fae Glasgow"

Graham McNeill is one of my very fave authors. This is not just because of his writing, but because Graham is so damn humble in the face of his continuing success. Also, I have nagged him a fair few times over the last two years for blog bits and pieces and the man *always* delivers! Today, he brings us a guest article on the subject of being just a wee boy fae Glasgow...

It’s an ongoing thing with me that I never quite believe my good fortune in doing a job that I love and that I get paid for telling stories of wizards and goblins. Whenever I’m at a signing or convention, I’m always faintly embarrassed (in a good way) that folk want me to scrawl on their brand new book or want to talk to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a bad person to sit next to in the pub, I’ll happily talk your ear off and make you laugh over a pint, but the idea that a person who only knows me through my books wants to talk to me is still really strange. I love it, but still find it odd. Not odd that that these people are coming up to me, but odd in that I know me and I know that I’m just like the person speaking to me!

Because you know what…? I’m a fan of the genre too; I read novels about vampires, zombies, and the hunters of same. I read about starships, space marines, noir-cyber detectives and the like, and am in awe of the folk who write those books. I suppose part of that is the distinctive Scottish character that keeps the gaels of Caledonia from getting too big for their sporrans and makes most of us naturally reticent about shouting about how clever we are from the rooftops :-). I write books, and I’m proud of each and every one of them. I think they’re good stories, with engaging plots and memorable characters, but it’s funny how you always think everyone else is doing a better job than you…

It’s the same with everything else, be it schoolwork, sports, exams, your job, whatever… You always think the other person is doing a better job, and – within reason – that’s probably a good thing for an author, as it’s going to keep you hungry to improve. I see what authors I admire are doing and I want to do things I think are as good. It’s a fine line between the insecurity that drives you to do better and crippling paralysis that stops you from letting another soul see your words. So I think it’s a good thing that the people who come up and speak to me will soon realise I’m a fan like them, and that I enjoy chatting to them and going on long fanboy digressions about the height of a battle titan or how you can strangle an Avatar

Anyone who doesn’t enjoy that is in danger of coming across as arrogant, and it’s never good to believe your own hype. The moment I start behaving like that, I have a close-knit group of friends to drag me back to reality and remind me that I’m just Mrs McNeill’s wee boy fae Glasgow. Thank the Source!

Thank you Graham!

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