Today, I bring you an interview with author Gerard Nugent. He is celebrating the release of his debut book titled ‘Let in The Light’. Gerard describes it as a feelgood story about love and music, and the power of a single song. The book is getting great reviews already. So, lets find out a bit more about the author, and the book.
Tell me about yourself
Where to start that’s not really obvious?! I grew up in Scotland, but now live in England? Too obvious! I often complain about there not being enough hours in the day. Even during lockdown! Sometimes I wish I had the creative ideas I have now, back in my 20s – when I had more time and energy! But I guess that just points to a busier family life now that I’m in my 40s. With a full-time job working for the local authority, I have to squeeze writing into the gaps!
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing songs since I was a teenager. So twenty plus years! Really bad songs to start with. Blatant rip-offs. The songs have become better and increasingly vague over time. Only started writing the novel in 2019 when I attended a creative writing evening class. The intention of doing the course was to try and generate some new ideas for songs. Not to write a book! (more of that later!)
Do you have a favourite book?
Not really to be honest. I don’t read as much as I should. I have memorable books – books that I remember reading because of where I read them, or what was happening in my life at the time. ''The Beach by Alex Garland probably falls into that category. I read it in the late 90s when I had just left uni, and the world was opening up. It was possibly where the idea to travel came from, that would ultimately see me spending time and enjoying amazing experiences in Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand.
Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your work?
My favourite author is Mike Gayle. He’s been writing quality books consistently for over twenty years. It was his first book, 'My Legendary Girlfriend', back in the late 90s, that made me want to write a book one day. I didn’t think it would take me over twenty years to get round to writing one. I love the simplicity of his stories and yet he writes often about complex emotional issues, from a male’s perspective. I think he’s helped break down a lot of barriers for men who find it important to talk about issues that may be troubling them. My novel is definitely influenced by his work.
Can you tell me about your writing process?
Once it became clear that I was writing a novel, probably after writing a few thousand words, I sat down and sketched out a rough chapter plan. The classic post-its plan where I would write brief chapter summaries and scenes on each post-it to represent a chapter. In terms of actually writing, I just grabbed any time when I could. Even if it was just 15 minutes. I’d often be thinking about the story especially while out running, so there was always stuff to write when I got to my notebook or computer. There was never really an organised process, and it’s probably not a process I’d recommend or repeat. It worked but at times it was really scrappy. Next time will be more organised. Let’s see if it works any better!
Tell me about your debut Novel titled ‘Let in the Light’. You describe it as a feel-good
story about love and music, and the power of a single song.
I’m just going to be really lazy and use the book’s blurb if that’s ok?!
Songwriter, Richie Carlisle never wanted to be famous.
After stumbling into the limelight five years ago, he soon found himself crashing back out of it. Now, he spends his days working in a small music shop in Edinburgh, attempting to live a quiet life as a part-time dad.
But his 15 minutes of fame have taken its toll. His inspiration for songwriting, music and life in general seems to have all but disappeared.
When Richie is given a flyer advertising the first meeting of the Hope Street Songwriters’ Circle, it’s a chance to step back into the world. But after years of hiding away, letting in the light won’t be easy.
It has a few darker moments but generally it’s a story of hope and I’d like to think it ultimately contains an uplifting message.
Tell me about the inspiration behind the book.
I had just pulled together a dozen songs for my latest album and I knew I needed a creative boost to help write the next batch of songs. Indeed, the description of the writing class I planned to attend was to help find inspiration for your next writing project. It just so happened the writing project I had in mind was another album.
One of the writing exercises the tutor set us was to write about a concert we had experienced. It was a 5 minute speed exercise to write whatever came to mind. It was probably when the seed for my novel was sown. As well as writing music, I found writing about music to be just as rewarding. And after years of writing songs, I felt I knew at least a bit about the subject.
And then something strange happened.
On a shopping trip one day, I popped into a music shop and, on impulse, bought some speakers. Not very interesting, you might say. However, there was something recognisable about the bloke who served me. But I just couldn’t place him. When I got home, I, excitedly, unpacked the speakers. Annoyingly, I discovered that whilst one speaker had a standard plug attached, the other had a European style pinned plug. I fetched the receipt I was given at the shop. Looking for the number to call the shop to ask what I should do, there was an extra bit of detail to say who had served me that day. And then, I realised who it was I thought I recognised earlier in the shop.
It was none other than the lead singer of a Britpop band that that I had loved in the 1990s. And so, after sorting out the speakers, I jumped online to remind myself of some of their best tracks – some of which I hadn’t heard in years.
It was to this soundtrack that an idea started to form. It made me wonder what happens to musicians when they drop out of the media limelight. And that’s when my imagination went into overdrive and a story quickly formed about a musician who was famous in a particular era, and now works in a music shop. And so, the character of Richie Carlisle was born.
Are you working on anything at the moment?
Apart from promoting my first book (which takes a lot of time!), I have made a tentative start to book 2 of the Hope Street series. Many of the same characters, just told from a different character’s point of view. I’m always tinkering away at song ideas too. And because my books are about music and songwriters, the books often generate song ideas or titles.
What advice would you give a new author?
Set yourself realistic and achievable targets. It may not be inspiring but as much as we all want to be successful writers, it’s such a crowded industry that its more likely we’ll have limited impact beyond our inner circles. Anything more is a bonus!
Prepare yourself for lots and lots of hard work. There are no quick wins, and no instant satisfaction. But the sense of achievement makes all the effort so worthwhile.
Also, lay the foundations for your social media campaigns long in advance. Unlike me! I shied away from social media for years and only started trying it out when I realised if I wanted anyone to actually hear about my book, I’d need to go online. I was just about 10 years behind everyone else!!
What other interests do you have outside of writing?
Songwriting. Although that’s similar to writing books. Just on a different scale! I also like running. Helps me stay positive and focused and it's good for working through writing ideas as I’m running the miles down.
Profits from the book will be going to Health in Mind - an Edinburgh based charity that creates awareness of mental health and wellbeing within communities. https://www.health-in-mind.org.uk/
eBook and paperback edition published through Stormlight Press available on Amazon from 22.1.21. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Let-Light-Gerard-Nugent-ebook/dp/B08SLFM6TR
Ebook Trailer https://youtu.be/1ZamYI_oh4g
Gerard’s website is www.gerardnugent.co.uk He can also be found across social media:
Facebook: @gerardnugentwriter / Twitter: @letinthelight20 / Instagram: @gerardnugentwriter