Today I am doing a happy disco dance to welcome David F.Ross to the blog to answer a few questions about his new book ‘The Last Days of Disco’.
1. I am a big fan of authors using our recent past in novels, especially the 1980s. What inspired you to set a book in 1982?
The early 80s were a great time. There were so many things going on…musically, culturally and politically. I felt really alive during that time; like the possibilities in my life were endless even though I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I’d end up doing. Emotions just seemed so much more tangible then. It just felt logical to me to go back to that period for my first book because I could tap into those feelings so easily.
2. I was amazed at how you captured the vibe and 1982s feeling with the music and the television references, as well as the politics. How did you do that? Was it difficult?
I’m glad that that came across. I was very politically aware in 1982. I was a member of CND, I joined the Labour Party, I was angry about the way Margaret Thatcher’s policies were affecting Scotland. Most of the bands I liked (The Jam, The Clash, Elvis Costello & The Attractions etc) were very politically motivated. Until the Referendum in Scotland last year, there had been a real political apathy for around a decade. Finally, my kids expressed an interest and it was great to watch how maturely Scotland’s young people expressed themselves. It reminded me of the early 80s.
Although I was obviously no fan of Margaret Thatcher, I will concede she had conviction. I wanted to try and find a way to capture that specifically charged political context which would ultimately peak with the Miners Strike in 1985.
3. I loved the way you used colloquial Scottish in your writing. I felt like I was fluent in Scottish, after reading your book. Was that fun to write?
Since I was originally writing purely for myself, it never occurred to me not to write in such a way. I like books or stories where the context is a character in its own right, but it would have felt like a betrayal to the rhythm, spirit and authenticity of the place to have written in more Standard English. I really hope that people enjoy it more as a result. Karen (Sullivan, my publisher from Orenda Books) was very supportive although she did make telling interventions and suggestions when I used a phrase or a word which was just too impenetrable. She does concede though that she has learned some new ways to insult people, should she ever find the need.
4. What are your favourite reads?
I don’t read as much as I should, I have to admit that. I suppose everyone just lives incredibly busy lives nowadays. But my favourite writers are those that deal with speech, emotions and context in a really authentic way. Writers such as Irvine Welsh, Roddy Doyle and Jonathan Coe do this effortlessly. My favourite book is Billy Liar…that probably tells you a lot more about me than anything else.
5. Do you have any plans to write any other books?
I’ve submitted a draft of a book called The Glasgow Trilogy to Karen. Its three interconnected stories set in the east end of Glasgow spanning four decades. I’ve described it as ‘Weegie Bampot Comedy Crime Noir’…it’s a new genre, hopefully. There’s a central character in all three stories who is heavily based on my dad, who died a few years ago. The book is my wee tribute to him.
Beyond that, I’ve started a sequel to Last Days, called ‘The Man Who Loved Islands.’ It takes the central family characters up to the present day.
About the Author
David F. Ross was born in Glasgow in 1964 and has lived in Kilmarnock for over 30 years. He is a graduate of the Mackintosh School of Architecture at Glasgow School of Art, an architect by day, and a hilarious social media commentator, author and enabler by night. His most prized possession is a signed Joe Strummer LP.
About the book
Follow David F. Ross on twitter https://twitter.com/dfr10