I’ve always had an affinity for weirdoes and strange things. My favourite movie as a child was Halloween and my favourite TV shows were Doctor Who, Twin Peaks, and The Ricki Lake Show. Books, however, were my obsession and main mode of escape. I had a bumpy upbringing. Noisy, busy, stressful – but never boring. My brother was an armed robber who wasn’t very good at his job. My sisters were cool and encouraging, often having parties while my mum was out. If I needed to be alone, I headed up to the library. The library was always my calm place. I read obsessively. I still do. I knew soon enough that I wanted to be a writer. More than that, I wanted to be the sort of author whose books I’d want to read. Becoming the author that the young version of myself would love took a while, but I’m getting there. Writing isn’t an art, it’s a craft. You get better at it the more you write. I wanted to be like all my writing heroes which meant working hard, writing harder. I also try to embody everything that appealed to me. Zany, weird, silly, surreal, and ridiculous. My influences aren’t always clear, but the references are there, and people in the club ‘get it’ anyway.
At some point I found punk. Or maybe punk found me? I identify as punk. For me, punk represents being who you want to be, having a different perspective, going against the trends, moving in your own direction. Punk is freedom. It goes beyond music. It’s more than Nirvana, Siouxsie And The Banshees, Hole, Sex Pistols, The Slits, Bratmobile and all the other bands I love. It’s what you say and do when everything is offensively boring. Writing can be punk too. It can say something. It can be make you think and feel. It can change your life.
I trained in journalism and PR. Both came in useful. But I wanted to be a cult author. Eventually I got published via a small press, which suited my ideals perfectly. I fell into YA fiction simply because I thought it was a good way of communicating ideas and concepts with a receptive audience. Funnily, my YA books were read by adults until they finally got out to a larger readership. I write the books I want to read. Npw I’m writing for an adult audience.
My first novel for adults is Happiness Is Wasted On Me. It takes place in Scotland’s infamous ‘ugly’ town Cumbernauld. Set in the ’90s, it spans a decade in the life of asexual Walter Wedgeworth, who is trying to find his place in the world. But a dark discovery and his uniquely dysfunctional family won’t make things easy. With a backdrop of grunge, Britpop, New Labour, and The Spice Girls, this is a book very much of a time that no longer exists.
My first book for young people is Conjuring The Infinite. It is a dark tale of madness, magick, and murder. I said in a press release that each page was “soaked in blood and Irn-Bru” – which sounds good, if a little grotty. Think of this book as Tracy Beaker in league with evil spirits, or The Breakfast Club Vs The Devil.
My second YA novel is Endless Empress. Described by one reviewer as ‘sick and unreadable’, I was delighted with that review. Honestly, it made my life. A lot of people assumed I was on drugs when I wrote this book, but I’ve never done drugs in my life!
Strident Publishing took me on again for North of Porter. It’s about a teenage boy (with a Dolce & Gabbana handbag) who takes on a serial killer in a small town. It isn’t based on my actual life. The only bags I have are the ones under my eyes.
Glowglass is about a porridge massacre and a girl with a dream of being popular at her new school. But because she’s in one of my books, it all ends in violence and madness. For Starrsha Glowglass, the path to enlightenment is a one way trip to death and destruction.