Monday, June 3, 2013

Andrew J. Keir, Author

Available in Paperback & Kindle


Originally from Glasgow, UK, Andrew J. Keir is a world-class, award-winning writer. Now living in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Andrew is the author of Bloody Flies, a fascinating novel that continues to draw controversy…


Welcome Andrew!



 


Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? 

As soon as the realization dawned, as a young child, that people had written these wonderful stories in the library, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Unfortunately, I didn’t “seize the day” to make my dream become reality until I was in my thirties. I’m happy to have rectified that now.

What was the first book you remember reading? 

A Noddy Picture-book by Enid Blyton. I also remember reading, and being read, a lot of comics, such as Toby and The Disney Comic, before graduating on to Batman and the like.

Why is 'Bloody Flies' controversial? 

Bloody Flies is controversial because it tackles the issue of slave camel jockeys. Young kids who were kidnapped from their homes in South Asia and forced to race camels in the Middle East. Because of this, the authorities (In the Gulf) have refused to process the forms that would allow me to sell the book there. The book also ruffled a few feathers because it was the first literary work in English to challenge the ethics of the expatriate lifestyle in the UAE. 

Are you writing a sequel? 

I’m not writing a sequel, for now, because being banned in your main market is not all that it’s cracked up to be. People frequently say to me that banning a book encourages more sales. From my perspective, I can assure you that this is not the case. 

What are you currently writing?

An historical adventure about Cinaed mac Alpin, the first King of Scotland. I’m about half way through and I’m hoping it will be ready next year. I’m pretty sure this one won’t get banned.

How do you maintain thoughts and ideas? 

My journal is very important to me. I don’t keep it like a diary but I do like to fill it with quotes, cuttings and ideas. Sometimes I write my stories longhand in there too, when I have days where I don’t feel like typing. 

At other times, I like to stew over an idea in my head and it can take weeks before I transfer it to paper. 

Where do you like to write? 

In my living room overlooking the hustle and bustle of Hamdan Street in Abu Dhabi. It’s the City Centre, so there is a lot going on outside. Sometimes, when I want a change of scene, I head to a Café next to the sea. But, when I do that, there’s always the risk I spend more time chatting than writing. 

Do you have a rigorous writing routine or muse?

There’s no muse in my life, certainly no fixed one, but I do have a routine of sorts. I need to procrastinate for hours before I put pen to paper. Luckily I have a procrastination schedule.

Usually, I drop my children off at school, before driving to my club for a swim. After forty laps I read the news, check my emails and social networks, and head for home, where I make coffee and pour myself some fizzy mineral water. Once the computer boots up I’m good for anywhere between one and a half to three hours; and then it’s time to pick the boys up from school again. Once they’re sorted out, I drive to the College where I lecture. 

I never write at night. 

Who is your favorite author?

I can’t give one favorite writer so I’ll give three instead.

The first is Hermann Hesse. His novels always have something unusual, important and difficult to say. But he handles the difficulty with ease and renders the issue, whatever it is, accessible.

Second is Kazuo Ishiguro who wrote Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go. Ishiguro has it all: style, substance, character and plot, all in a perfectly executed package. 

Third is Cormac McCarthy. McCarthy is stylistically wonderful. His writing is sparse, bleak and driven, and if I could choose to write like anyone, it would be him. 

Any advice for beginning writers? 

Develop a thick skin, strive continually to improve and stick with it for the long haul. People will try to knock you down. Don’t let them. There will be others who will help you. 

List 10 random facts about yourself… 

I married Naomi, in Sri Lanka, on the back of an elephant called Baby Nola.

I’m a Karate black belt.

In the summer, I escape the heat of Abu Dhabi by flying off to the beautiful seaside town of Largs in the West of Scotland. 

My MA in Creative Writing is from the University of Lancaster.

My favorite soccer team is St Mirren FC in the Scottish Premier League.

I’m the father of fantastic seven year old twins.

Killing Vikings is one of my favorite pastimes.

Sashimi is my favorite food.

Swearing is something I do regularly whilst negotiating Abu Dhabi’s crazy traffic.

I was once a stooge in the Ken Dodd laughter show. 


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