Today on the blog I’m really pleased to welcome Owen Mullen. Like me, he’s a crime writer from Scotland who lives abroad and is published by Bloodhound Books. Owen’s books feature Glasgow PI Charlie Cameron, and the third, Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead, was published on March 21st.
Here’s Owen to tell us about writing Scottish Noir:
For many, Scotland is more than a country; it’s an idea, conjuring visions that are romantic and often dramatic. But for me, Scotland is the character every writer dreams of creating.
Crime fiction always has a hero, bad guys and the supporting players to round out the relationships. If the author has done his job, we care about them and feel their challenges. All the elements of the story have an important contribution to make. Locations add an atmospheric setting to the fantasy spun by the author. And this is where Scotland, already steeped in dark legend, comes into its own.
Scotland has more than its share of scenic wonders: castles and heather hills, bagpipes, kilted Highlanders; bravehearts and Bonnie Prince Charlie. Myth and reality, the moody and the magnificent mingle to create the perfect backdrop for bloody murder.
Cold depths, which sometimes give up their secrets, as PI Charlie Cameron discovers when his old friend Ian Selkirk is dragged from the waters of Loch Lomond. Or, over on the haunting Isle of Skye, where the peace and beauty help Charlie and his old girlfriend, Fiona, find temporary sanctuary from a horror they don’t understand. Long stretches of coastline like Ayr beach, the scene of a daring child abduction; the wonderful towns and villages of the Borders; Cramond shore with its ghosts of the past.
Not forgetting that spectacular castle clinging to a volcanic rock, rising majestically over the vibrant capital where Charlie comes face to face with the ruthless Rafferty family. Fabulous, all of it.
Yet, the Charlie Cameron series is based in Glasgow. There are reasons for this. The city has something of its own: an inner beauty which comes from the people. Strong and loyal; humorous and warm. Flip the coin and you will discover raw passion, rage, lust and pain, crystalised and delivered in a gruff accent. The stuff of great fiction walking the streets, where a look from a hard man is enough to silence conversation in a busy pub, and the guy cracking jokes at the bar, is really a hit-man.
When he was ten, Owen Mullen won a short story competition and didn’t write anything else for almost forty years. In between he graduated from Strathclyde University with a Masters in Tourism and a degree in Marketing, moved to London and worked as a rock musician, session singer and songwriter, and had a hit record in Japan with a band he refuses to name; on occasion he still performs. He returned to Scotland to run a management consultancy and a marketing agency. He is an Arsenal supporter and a serious foodie. A gregarious recluse, he and his wife, Christine, split their time between Glasgow – where the Charlie Cameron books are set – and their villa in the Greek Islands.