Meet today’s #AuthorInTheSpotlight Stephen Scarcliffe | @stephenscarc

I’m joined today by Edinburgh crime writer Stephen Scarcliffe. Stephen’s latest book, The Wrong Son, is due out on Wednesday and he’s here to tell us a bit about the book and his writing. Welcome Stephen. First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?

I spent 10 years as a singer songwriter for my rock band The Number 9s that I formed with my brother, before turning my focus to crime writing. I love to travel, with Italy being my favourite place in the world, and I have spent most of my life in this amazing city called Edinburgh where my books are set. Once I have finished the Chemical Estate trilogy I would be interested in doing some music again, and I also wouldn’t mind trying my hand at a bit of Horror Fiction.

What inspired you to start writing?

The thing that inspired me to start writing seriously was a chance encounter with Irvine Welsh during which by sheer luck (or fate?) I had a copy of a short story I had written in my possession. After offering him the copy to take away and read, he emailed me telling me how much he enjoyed it. This spurred me on to turn it into a novel.

Tell me about your journey to publication

The journey to publication has taken me right through the pandemic and took at least a year longer than I would have liked. The reason for this is that having independently published Pure Angst and Raging I decided to have a go at the hybrid model by sending The Wrong Son manuscript out to a host of agents. The process of preparing for submission and sending the manuscript off to agents took the better part of a year, before I then opted to publish the book independently, rather than wasting any more time.

In a nutshell, what is your book about?

When PC Ronnie Slater’s son Scottie is paralysed after a tragic fall from the swing Ronnie built, he accepts work from a local gangster to help fund life changing surgery in the States before falling into a deadly web of violence and corruption that soon threatens everything he holds dear.

Stephen reading at Noir at the Bar Edinburgh

How did you come up with the title for your book?

The title “The Wrong Son” relates to an incident in the hospital after Scottie’s fall. In a heated moment of regret Ronnie snaps and tells his oldest Darren that The Wrong Son fell from the swing. It also relates to the situation that develops throughout the book where the more Ronnie’s attention falls on Scottie and his paralysis, the more Darren drifts into dark circles and habits. By the end of the book the reader is left questioning who actually is The Wrong Son, Scottie or Darren?

How do you plan to celebrate publication day?

I will be heading to Lake Garda with my partner for our main holiday a couple of weeks after the book launches, so there will be plenty of time for celebration then! I am sure a glass of wine or two will be had on the evening of my launch as well, time to rest and be thankful. 

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on

Do you have a work in progress just now?

Yes, the as yet untitled book 3 in my Chemical Estate series. Very close to finishing the first draft, I hope to get the 3rd and (I think) final book in the series out in 2023.

What are you reading just now?

The Sky Turned Black by John Steele.

If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?

The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder.

Is there a book you’d love to see made into a film?

The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder!

How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?

I have a website You will find links to all my most active socials on there, as well as links to my books as well.

And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?

This is a tough one. Probably Henry Chinaski in the Charles Bukowski book Women, to experience what it would be like to live the wild life of a cult figure and successful poet in 60s and 70s LA.

You can order a copy of the book here: The Wrong Son

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