Book Title: Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll and Nursing
How was your experience in writing the book “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll and Nursing”? Is the book based on real-life experiences?
Hi, thanks for having me on the blog. Having had my Skye Stories trilogy published in 2021, I wanted to tackle a novel. The story is a work of fiction. Calum, the main character, is very loosely based on my experience living on the Isle of Skye and moving to Edinburgh to study Nursing. I wanted to write a book that featured locations I love and to include a musical soundtrack reflecting Calum’s (and my own) love of music. Artists and songs are a running theme in the book. The positive power of music to help and to heal is very important to both of us. I was involved in the Edinburgh music scene for many years and wanted to include some of my experiences and this is why Calum becomes a road manager for Edinburgh band Low Down. He loves their music, and he wants to help them on the road to success.
Since your book says that nursing is a female-dominated profession, the male nurses are a minority. How do the male nurses experience life in this profession?
Unlike today, when I trained in the early 80s, there were very few guys. Most of my student life experience was very positive and I’ve always enjoyed working with women.
How was your journey to becoming a published author? What struggles did you undergo?
I was lucky in that my memoir collection, Skye Stories, was published in the UK by Redshank Books and working with Steve Lane (Editor) was a brilliant experience where I learned a great deal. When I began my novel, the main goal was to entertain. I also wanted it to be an authentic portrayal of a young man’s life. This meant being honest about his motivations, using the language of the day, and being very open about his sexual encounters. When the book was finished, I had a number of small publishers interested in publishing it but they wanted me to tone down the sex. I wasn’t willing to compromise on this. There is nothing weird or paraphilic in the book. It’s just normal relationship stuff. Calum’s problem was his inability to remain faithful. Ultimately, I made the decision to self-publish and I’m happy I took this route.
How did you deal with haters in the book industry after the publication of the book “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll and Nursing”?
I wouldn’t say I’ve met any haters (yet) but I realise that the subject of the book, the language used, the sex, is not for everyone. The main character is not particularly likeable in many ways, although he does have a few saving graces. I’ve had some negative reader feedback regarding the swearing, but overall, the feedback from both male and female readers has been incredibly positive.
What message would you like to give to your potential readers?
I would say the overall message of the book is actions have consequences. Karma will always catch you. As I said, I wanted it to be brutally honest and, in some ways, uncomfortable to read. Some of it was uncomfortable to write, but it had to be done to maintain the authenticity. Also, the effect music can have on your life is very important to me and the main character.