Happy publication day to fellow Edinburgh resident Daniel Shand whose debut novel, Fallow, is published today by Sandstone Press. Sandstone have reduced the price of a Kindle copy to just 99p from today and you can order a copy online here: Fallow I’m really pleased to welcome Daniel to my blog answering a few questions about himself and his book.
Thanks for joining me Daniel. First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?
I live in Edinburgh, I’m 27, I work in an office and I do some teaching too. I’m just about to finish my PhD at Edinburgh Uni.
What inspired you to start writing?
I think it comes from wanting something that doesn’t exist, and I suspect that’s true for lots of us. You have these very definite ideas of what you think is good and worthwhile and interesting and you find–understandably—that no one else has combined those things in the exact fashion you want them combined. You have no choice but to make it yourself.
Tell me about your journey to publication
I started Fallow around five years ago and it wasn’t much good. I put it away for a while, wrote something else, then came back to it. At that point I could see why it didn’t work and I began again from scratch.
In a nutshell, what is your book about?
It’s about two brothers who are on the run in the Scottish countryside. As they move around, keeping themselves hidden, we begin to find out why they’re in the position they’re in. It’s quite surreal and, I hope, funny. There’s a lot of horror in there too. More broadly, it’s about anger and what happens when anger is unacknowledged.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
I always thought I would get asked to change the title actually, but everyone seems to like it so far. It references the fact that the two brothers are lying low, hiding out—they’ve removed themselves from the normal cycle of the world. It hints at rebirth, renewal.
The pair of them do a lot of digging in the book, so I wanted to evoke that in the title too.
How do you plan to celebrate publication day?
We’re having a launch in a bookshop and afterwards we’ll head to the pub to wet the baby’s head.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
I do. It’s a novel about a mother and daughter. I think it’s just about done.
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!
I read Graeme MacRae Burnet’s His Bloody Project in the summer—it’s a great novel and so good to see him get the nomination. The politics of it spoke to me as I’ve recently started learning properly about the clearances and so on. I saw The Cheviot, the Stag & the Black, Black Oil and I’m working my way through Andy Wightman’s book on land-ownership, so those ideas were in my mind as I read.
What are you reading just now?
As of now—October 2016—I’m re-reading The House with the Green Shutters. I recommend it to people who don’t think they like books from that period.
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
I would take Infinite Jest, which I never finished. I’d be forced to finally reach the end or maybe I would procrastinate so hard that I’d manage to distil fuel out of coconut milk. It’s a win either way.
Is there a book you’d like to see made into a film? Who would be in your dream cast?
I always wanted to watch a film of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. I don’t know who I would cast in it but there’s something about that central clique… I want to see what they look like.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Judge Holden from Blood Meridian. I’d take one look at the malign emptiness at the heart of the universe and lose my mind.