Southsiders has just been released by Blasted Heath and I’ve just returned from a school trip with my younger daughter’s class to John Muir’s birthplace (the man’s an inspiration).
PDB: How did you research this book?
Research and I don’t tend to get on. For Southsiders, I did look into the Titanic Museum in Belfast and took the virtual tour. It looks great.
PDB: Which of your publications are you most proud of?
I think I’d pick Southsiders. To my mind, the central premise is great and I believe I managed to write a story that does it justice. It flowed so easily at the first draft stage that it was a joy to write. It also benefits from a serious edit from Allan Guthrie, which means the process felt less solitary and wayward. To my mind it has the variety of shade and tone that I like to find in a story.
PDB: What’s your favourite film/ book/ song/ television programme?
Favourite film: Diner by Barry Levinson.
Favourite book…s that I’ve read this year? I’d be selecting from Drama City by George Pelecanos, Dare Me by Megan Abbott, Gravesend by William Boyle and The Motel Life by Willy Vlautin.
Song? Because he’s such an integral part of Southsiders, it has to be something from Presley and Sun Records – Baby, Let’s Play House.
TV? University Challenge and The Apprentice.
PDB: Is location important to your writing?
It’s important to help me get a fix on a story and to help me find the voice. After that I just make it all up.
PDB: How often do you check your Amazon rankings?
Too frequently. I’m working on cutting it down to the beginning and end of the day.
PDB: What’s next?
Blasted Heath have the follow up to Southsiders in their hands and I’m expecting another hard edit to come back at me pretty soon. In between times, I’m writing a romantic comedy set in nearby Portobello (if I have to do any research, at least I can do it in a cafe overlooking the sea).
Bio: Nigel Bird is the author of several novels, novellas and short story collections, including Southsiders, In Loco Parentis, Smoke, Mr Suit and Dirty Old Town.
He lives on the East Coast of Scotland in Dunbar (Sunny Dunny) with his wife and three children.
As well as writing fiction, he has been a teacher for twenty-five years and has worked in a number of mainstream and special schools.