First Writes: Catriona Child, author of Trackman

The novel's lead character's life is changed by a homeless man’s MP3 player

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First Writes: Catriona Child, author of Trackman

Give us five words to describe Trackman?
Music, Edinburgh, memories, love, loss.

Name one author who should be more famous than they are now?
Brian McCabe. When I first started to take my writing seriously, I went to his writer’s workshop. He was really supportive, very encouraging and went out of his way to help me. He’s a great writer and can do it all: novels, short stories, poetry.

What was the first book you read?
The first book I remember reading was Five on a Treasure Island. My dad took me to the library when I first learnt to read and I remember being overwhelmed by all the books and not knowing what to choose. He suggested the Famous Five so I started at book number one in the series. I ended up reading them all; the librarian said I was her best customer.

Which book makes you cry?
Lots of books make me cry. Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon is one that springs to mind. The ending is a killer but it also has a melancholy ache running all the way through it.

Which book makes you laugh?
I’ll say I, Partridge as I’ve just finished it and spent a lot of time laughing while reading. It’s very funny and especially good if you know the TV shows well. Alan’s version of certain events in the book are not quite the same as they appeared on TV. Steve Coogan’s a smart guy.

Which dead author do you wish was still alive today?
I’ll go with Jane Austen. I recently went to visit my sister in Bath and we visited the Jane Austen Centre. While there we were told that nobody really knows what she looked like, and that the famous picture we always see of her was actually drawn by one of her sisters. It made us laugh as we were horrified at the thought of forever being immortalised by a sibling’s drawing. Fine if you’re related to a talented artist, but not so good otherwise.

What would you change about the publishing world?
Trackman is my first novel, so the world of publishing is all new to me. I feel incredibly lucky to have got this far though, as it’s very difficult for new writers just starting out. Anything that makes it easier for new, innovative voices to be heard would be good, although I think those changes are already happening with Blasted Heath, Cargo etc.

What plans do you have for book number two?
Hopefully to finish writing it!

Trackman is out now published by Luath.

Luath Off the Page Live

An evening of performance poetry, prose and music organised by Luath press. Writers appearing include Catriona Child, author of Trackman, and Alistair Findlay, Bard of Bathgate and author of The Love Songs of John Knox, Dancing With Big Eunice: Missives from the Frontline of a Fractured Society, Sex, Death & Football…

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