Friday, November 29, 2019

A Wee Blether

A 'wee blether'  is a quick chat with somebody that has no point at all. It has no agenda, there is no debate, no argument, no conclusion reached, just two mates having a chinwag. Blethers tend to be accidental; in the pub, in the queue at Asda/Walmart or over the garden fence.
You don't have a blether in a force nine gale or on a pay- by- the -minute mobile.

So Book Week Scotland made the Big Blether as the topic for the entire week. Authors have been out and about, far and wide, blethering non stop.

Here's how my event was billed.

Big Blether about Books with Caro Ramsay
for Book Week Scotland 

It was an event  for book groups so they sent me the questions in advance. ( Do you ever get the impression that the organisers of an event are a little nervous, as if a previous author has been a maybe a  bit difficult  or awkward and you wonder who that was???)

The organisation was superb, as were the cakes and the biscuits, coffee and tea and  the crowd was lovely.

Here are the questions. What would you answer?

Was it a schoolteacher who awoke your interest in reading, and from there to writing.. or ..?

      No. Some of my teachers did  awaken an interest in crime though as I did want to murder them. I was that  typical student protesting against everything - animal testing, anti apartheid, whaling,  nuclear weapons. ( nothing much has changed)


2    Why crime fiction?
      Why not? I do try to read books where nobody dies, and rarely get very far. I don't think I could write one.

Why did you decide on having a male and female detective team?

I don't think I did, I think my characters decided that for me! But  Colin Anderson has a lot of female characteristics, Costello holds some opinions that might be more expected from a guy. It makes it interesting, the way they make a book pan out.

4.    Can anyone become a writer?

      Yes, but I think they  would write a very different type of book. 'He' would write a book on how how great a spreadsheet can be. ( zzzzzzzz....). The main talent of writing a book  is bum to seat, fingers to keys... and then  be able to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite...

5.    Do you think you have to be passionate about something to write about it or can writers write about anything?
      Journalists can write about anything. I think authors need to feel some kind of passion or feeling for what they are writing, or it might all become rather tired. I love that feeling when my fingers will not move fast enough and the characters are saying 'come on, come on, there's a dead body over there...'


  What are the most common mistakes new writers make when they begin writing?  

       To stop writing when  everything goes out of focus. Re-writing the beginning many, many times so  they never need to think about getting to the end or the next 85 000 words or 115 000 words. They  feel they  cannot go  on until the start is really polished.  That and being a magpie, picking up shiny ideas here and there, and never finishing anything......


7.    How tough is it to get a book published?

     Very, I have been very lucky! But I do work hard and those two things often go together...


8.    What do you feel about self-publishing?

     No problem with it at all as long as it's done 'professionally' ( with a degree of respect for would be readers ). Edited by an other, copy edited etc. Not just punted out on Amazon the minute it is written, not even read through ( folk from my writer's group have done that!)

      Who are your favourite Scottish authors and why?
      I think I refused to answer that on the basis that  it would cost me too much in the pub buying drinks for the ones I missed out. so I said Simon Brett!

            What was your favourite book as a child? I think the blogosphere knows the answer to that  one - Black Beauty!

  Have you ever considered writing a non-fiction book, about osteopathy or acupuncture perhaps?

 I think I could do a light comedy type of book about the mishaps of patients  who end up  on my table..... the  woman who waterskiied into the back of the boat that was towing her. The man who was hit  on the head  by a land rover.... ( there was a land mine involved but if wrote that nobody would believe it ...)

Caro Ramsay  29th November 2019


  1. Great blether about writing, Caro. Write on!

  2. Caro, I love it when you make me laugh out loud. Which is usually several times a blog. Today was no exception.

  3. Caro, I found your distinction between journalists and authors particularly insightful, your observation on newbie writers obsessing over the opening right on the mark, and your selection of covers judiciously appropriate.

    And that's not meant as a wee blether--which, by the way, sounds a bit like a situation in need of a urologist. :)

  4. Thanks. Bum in seat. I’ve heard that somewhere before.
    Today I’m blethering about smacking an octopus against a stone.