The following content is extracted from an interview in July 2021 when Mulligan Driver spoke to Gibson Dickie, following the release of his second novel, THEN START AGAIN.
Q How long does it take you to write a page or a chapter or an entire novel?
A If you asked 273 writers this question, you would probably receive around 226 different responses. Many follow the guidance from a mentor or a favourite writer while others will make it up as they go along. Lots of authors set an agenda for a 'words per day' target while many more may encounter a blockage and every word becomes a minor victory. For me, I write when I have ideas and when I am in the mood to do so, as I don't have the discipline to achieve a number of words every day. Typically, if I have ideas and have the laptop open, I will take one to two hours to produce one A4 page of manuscript. COUNT TO TEN took five months to produce the first draft.
Q Would you have preferred to write in the days before word processing software?
A Absolutely not! I cannot imagine the despair of finding mistakes in a typewriter produced document. Mistakes are ever recurring and thankfully simple to correct in Word. I think it would have been really amazing to have a handwritten first draft of my first novel as a permanent memento.
Q Is your main character based on somebody known to you?
A Interestingly, Amy (Jessica) is the one character who is not based on anyone I know. Having never met with any deranged murderous women (with possibly one unproven exception) the main character exists purely in my mind. Many of the other characters are inspired by friends and acquaintances, and this provides me with inspiration to draw from their personality or physical traits. As the books are fiction, I can take a few liberties with their reality.
Q Do you write in silence or do you need sounds in the background?
A Neither is a deal breaker, although I do prefer to have music in the background. Some of my favourites include; Moody Blues, Within Temptation, Ray Wilson, Birds Of Tokyo and Marillion. Absolutely no rapping, hip hop or whatever they call it now. Speaking incoherently over someone else's tune is not creative genius and nobody will convince me otherwise. The roar from a vacuum cleaner noisily sucking muck from a floor will drive me to distraction but it remains infinitely preferable to rap music.
Q Was your second book easier to write than your first book?
A Yes and no! Subsequent books are easier because the process has been completed once and I know that I can do it, which really helps when I hit a rough patch or a lack of inspiration. However, the second book had to balance between being a stand-alone entity as well as a continuation of the narrative from the first book. I am still unsure if I found the balance, time will tell.
Q What do your family think about the sexual content you have written?
A I am scared to ask. Writing such content which you know will be read by family is quite stressful. An unexpected upside was receiving requests from readers for future content involving certain characters, some of which are beyond my ability to describe.
Q Which authors do you enjoy and why?
A Chris Hammer - his writing makes you feel like you are actually there within the story.
Ed McBain / Evan Hunter - he wrote so many novels to a wonderful standard while retaining the simplicity, making them a joy to read.
Jo Nesbo - these Norwegian stories translate brilliantly, and are complex and compelling.
Stuart MacBride - he found the balance between serious crime, humour and characters.
James Herbert - at his best he made me afraid to switch off the light at night.
I like to read but was guilty of only buying books from my favourite established writers. I hope more people will take a chance and try something from an unknown writer.
Q Finally, what's next for Gibson Dickie
A I hope the world opens up and travel becomes feasible again, so that I can go out and promote my books. The third story is well advanced and should be released in 2022, and I am excited to see the entire trilogy sitting on a bookshelf somewhere. I have also started a novel in a different genre, looking to create a crossover between crime fiction with horror and an element of supernatural. On my ambitious days, I imagine this novel written in multiple versions set in different locations such as remote Aberdeenshire, coastal Devon, southern Western Australia and below the surface glamour of Dubai. Same story, different locations. If you want to be a writer, you need to be able to dream.