Ewan Lawrie is the author of Gibbous House, (January 2017) and No Good Deed, featuring the charming villain Alasdair Moffat, published by Unbound in January 2021. His Cerasus Poetry-published collection “Last Night I Met John Adcock” was shortlisted for the Poetry Book Prize 2020. He is an one of a small team of editors for the writers’ web-site, ABCTales.com.
Tell me what inspired you to write your (debut) novel?
I boarded at an old grammar school in Northumberland, in Alnwick, actually. I’ve loved the county ever since. I wrote a short scene set in Alnwick for an OU CW prompt, It wasn’t even an assignment.
What came first the characters or the world?
A tiny piece of the world. Then I decided to start a novel to get a character I only had in my head to Northumberland. All I had was the first line that the character, Alasdair Moffat, a distinctly villainous protagonist, opened with in Gibbous House.
How hard was it to get your first (debut) book published?
I was lucky. After about two years of unanswered e-mails and letters. Unbound took a punt on Gibbous House in late 2014.
How long did it take to write?
Do you have a writing playlist? If so do you want to share it?
Not as such. But I did do an experiment whilst writing Moffat III (as yet unpublished). I worked out my top five artists for word count per minute of music and put the results on
How many publishers turned you down?
Only two ever answered, so I always say just one.
What kind of reactions have you had to your book?
Mostly favourable. No book will please everyone, of course.
What’s the favourite reaction you’ve had to your book?
Pete Langman’s review of Gibbous House, which contains the immortal phrase/praise:
“It is a yarn that rattles along like a hansom cab drawn along a cobbled road by a horse that can smell the glue factory.”
What can you tell us about your next book?
My next book is Moffat III, At the Back of the North wind or The Last of Moffat. It resolves some of the mystery of Moffat.
Do you take notice of online reviews?
All writers answer “no”, but writing is making things up, after all.
Would you ever consider writing outside your current genre?
I have. You can find 3 collections of short stories and a noir fantasy mashup novella at Smashwords.com.
What did you do before (or still do) you became a writer?
I spent 23 years in the Royal Air Force, 10 in the then West Berlin during The Cold War and then 13 years flying over the rather warmer conflicts that followed. Then I lived for 14 years in Spain occasionally teaching English to Hispanophones of various nationalities. The writing started then.
Which author(s) inspire you?
Dickens, Karen Maitland, Elmore Leonard. Jane Austen. Bulgakov.
Which genres do you read yourself?
I read absolutely everything.
What is your biggest motivator?
This will sound trite, but it is true: seeing how the story turns out.
What will always distract you?
Research. Especially if I’m using a reference book rather than the internet.
How much (if any) say do you have in your book covers?
Unbound were brilliant. The two books they produced were things of beauty.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Boarding school will do that. But I was able to read before starting primary school.
What were your favourite childhood books?
Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and Pudd’nhead Wilson. Hmm… there’s a pattern here.
Do you have a favourite bookshop? If so, which?
Barter Books in Alnwick
What books can you not resist buying?
Usually something featured on the podcast Backlisted, if I don’t have it already.
Do you have any rituals when writing?
Two mugs of espresso.
How many books are in your own physical TBR pile?
What is your current or latest read?
Oddly enough, I’m reading “A Game of Thrones”, book 1 of G.R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire – and it’s much better than I thought it would be.
Any books that you’re looking forward to in the next 12 months?
I’m looking forward to reading Suzie Wilde’s third part of her Bera Trilogy, “Landfall”.
Any plans or projects in the near future you can tell us about?
Placing Moffat III, if Unbound decide it’s not for them.
and finally, what inspired you to write the genre you do?
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. It was the last novel I read before moving to Spain. A year later, I finished my OU degree in Language Studies and decided to spend the rest of the money awarded by the Air Force for further education on retirement on a Diploma in Creative Writing.
You can always email me on email@example.com with any suggestions.