Welcome to first of an occasional series of Q&As, where we will get to find out a little bit more about the people who make up the Nethergate Writers.
First up is Roddie McKenzie.
1. How long have you been a writer?
I have written poetry for eighteen years, fiction for thirteen years and non-fiction (technology and biological science) professionally for thirty eight years.
2. Have you had anything published?
Eighty one peer-reviewed scientific papers, six book chapters and five book reviews in bioscience; also seventeen letters in the press; eight short stories in books, nine on line and one in a magazine; ten poems on line, two in books, and twelve in magazines; and finally, one song in a magazine.
3. Do you have a writing routine?
Every day I try to spend at least an hour on writing projects, even if it is just revision or editing of previous pieces or polishing grammar skills.
4. Who is your literary hero or heroine (real or fictional) and why?
Iain Banks, for bringing prominence to post-modern Scottish literature; Hunter S Thompson, for the irrepressible, irrational and selfish character Raol Duke, his alter ego; Alan Warner, for the brave and courageously beautiful survivor, Morven Caller; Irvine Welsh for bucking the trend that said vernacular in prose was death to a writer; Herman Hesse for spiritual despair and beauty in “The Steppenwolf” and “Narziss and Goldmund”; PG Woodhouse for mad satirical delights and Raymond Chandler for micro-characterisation, rapid action and noir atmosphere.
5. Do you prefer working in a particular genre?
Interlinked short stories, prose poetry, rhyming songs/poems and rap.
6. Do you have any writing ambitions?
To publish collections of poetry, short stories, children`s novels and novels.
7. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Take note of constructive criticism, but believe in your ideas; read voraciously-including what established writers say about the craft; establish a writing routine; try to get your work in front of an audience and see how it flies; and write principally, because you enjoy it. If that doesn’t ring your bell – save yourself the agro… and give it up!
8. What are you reading at the moment?
Denis Johnson`s “Jesus` Son” and Liz Lochhead’s poetry, “Fugitive Colours”.