Glasgow Writers: Kevin Scott
Kevin Scott is a Glasgow-based author and journalist. His debut novel ‘Dead Cat Bounce’ was published in May, 2017. It tells the story of two estranged brothers forced into reconciliation when the coffin containing their 11 year-old half-brother is stolen the day before his funeral, ‘Dead Cat Bounce’ has been well-received and was shortlisted for The Sceptre Prize. A graduate of the University of Glasgow’s Creative Writing MLitt, he is also business correspondent at The Herald.
I met Kev on the M.Litt Creative Writing Course at Glasgow Uni. We weren’t in any of the same classes but ran into each other through his work in organising student showcases with the University’s Creative Writing Magazine, ‘From Glasgow to Saturn’, where he was one of the editors. He was invited to read one of his stories at The Lit Period, an event I helped organize at the West End Festival back in 2012. He is a very assured reader and the piece he read was engrossing and experimental – not often you have a cow as the narrator. I was delighted when Kev agreed to ‘The Long March Home’ being published on my website.
I heard him perform again at Aye Write in 2013, when Kev was shortlisted for the prestigious Sceptre Prize. The piece he read was to develop into his first novel ‘Dead Cat Bounce’ published by ThunderPoint and launched to a full capacity audience in Waterstones, Glasgow in May, 2017.
Dead Cat Bounce
This is of a story of sibling rivalries, full of humour and with its satirical comment on the failures of modern society. It deals wth a tragic event, when the youngest of three brothers, 11 year old Nicky is killed in a car crash and the difficulties that arise when his body and coffin go missing.
“Well, either way, you’ll have to speak to him today because… unless I get my
money by tomorrow morning there’s not going to be a funeral.”
When your 11 year old brother has been tragically killed in a car
accident, you might think that organising his funeral would take
priority. But when Nicky’s coffin, complete with Nicky’s body, goes
missing, deadbeat loser Matt has only 26 hours in which to find the
£20,000 he owes a Glasgow gangster or explain to his grief stricken
mother that there can be no funeral.
Pete, the middle brother, a successful hedge fund manager with a high maintenance family and lavish lifestyle enters the scene but he has his own problems and Matt doesn’t want his help anyway.
Seething with old resentments, the betrayals of the past and the
double-dealings of the present, the two brothers must find a way to
work together to retrieve Nicky’s body and discover that they are
not so different after all.
‘Dead Cat Bounce is described by Neil Forsyth as:
“Pacy and assured, with an authentic voice, Dead Cat Bounce is an
impressive debut novel”
And by Elizabeth Reeder as:
“…a fast-paced novel driven by a brotherly rivalry that’s full of
You’ll be able to hear more about ‘Dead Cat Bounce’ when Kevin takes part in an event at Waterstones Byres Road in the run up to Byres Road Book Festival 2017. Thunderpoints are go – where he will perform alongside Andrew Ferguson and Margot McCuaig. (21 Septembr, 2017).
I caught up with Kev for a coffee and chat in Citizen M in Glasgow the other day. I’m full of admiration for him as even with two infants in the house and being thoroughly engrossed with his family and demanding job as a journalist, he may not be finding time to write much but he’s certainly mulling over those ideas for his next book and has made a start. Kev’s next book promises to be quite a read with a female serial killer, a touch of magical realism and a vision of creating something ‘darkly comic.’
I was interested to learn about his approach to writing and how he got started; it seems as though he’s been ‘scribbling away about anything’ in a favourite Moleskin notebook forever. This led onto an open university course in Creative Writing and then onto the M.Litt at Glasgow University. He’s also honed his skills as a writer through peer support, in particular, as a member of the G2 Writers Group. His short stories have been published in various literary magazines and anthologies.
Kev likes to have the plot more or less worked out so he knows where he is going with his story, whilst aware that the editing process is vital. Initially he wrote short stories but with ‘Dead Cat Bounce’, he thought ‘this might be the novel scratching away at the back of my mind’. He’s done a great job in bringing it to fruition with the book selling out at its launch at Waterstones.
Opening Section – ‘Dead Cat Bounce’
‘I wonder if coffins are as comfortable as beds. Lying on my back, following the faint spirals of the Artex ceiling, this is what I think about. With morning beginning to leak through the curtains, the pattern becomes clearer, along with the contents of the bedroom where I spent my childhood. Almost all the furniture is in the same place I left it twelve years ago. Even the shitty wee digital clock that I loved so much is still there. Its bright red digits, which once told me it was time for school, now tell me that there are just over twenty-six hours until Nicky’s funeral.
As the headache I’ve been anticipating arrives with the punctuality of last orders, I come to the conclusion that if a coffin is comfier than a bed, then mankind has failed somehow. In the end it’s just a box. Six bits of wood, nailed together. I wonder how many boxes like the one Nicky’s currently lying in have been constructed in the history of mankind. We’re talking nine figures, maybe even ten. It’s a solid business model, that. One that’s not going to dry up in a recession. Man, I need water.
My fingertips massage my head while outside a dog barks and cars start. Seconds become minutes without pausing in respect. The wee man would already be out in the garden kicking a ball off the wall and noising up Mum. What she’d give to sweep up pebbledash now.
Somewhere on the floor the muffled sound of the guitar intro to Oasis’ Rock & Roll Star starts up. Answering my phone means getting up. It means turning on the light, finding my jeans, choosing a pocket. If it’s important they’ll phone back.
They do, seconds later, looping the riff around my neck like a noose and forcing me out of bed. I open the curtains enough to let a beam of light reveal the whereabouts of my jeans, giving me time to answer just as Liam’s snarling vocal kicks in.
‘What do you mean he’s missing?’ I say, after exchanging good mornings with the undertaker and discovering the reason for his call.
He talks slowly, quietly, deliberating over how to phrase his admission.
‘I see what you’re saying Mr. McAllister, but I’m not asking how my brother vanished, but more what you’re doing about it. I mean, how do you lose a fucking coffin?’
Naked and too shocked to find clean boxers, I perch myself on the corner of the bed and cover my balls with my free hand. ‘No, I won’t apologise for my language, I think it’s the least you can fucking expect. I’m phoning back in ten minutes. I’d be very grateful if you could locate my brother in that time. He’s only eleven; he’s not very street savvy.’
I throw my phone onto the duvet as if the call never happened. Maybe it didn’t. Or maybe the universe is seeing just how far up the arse it can fuck me.
I lie back down and allow the information to settle. Coffins don’t vanish. They’ve just made a mistake, and it’s one that needs resolved without Mum finding out so the quicker I get down there, the quicker it’s fixed. Mum will think I’m still sleeping. No drama.
I pull on my jeans and almost catch my cock in the flies when the phone starts ringing again. Unknown number. Bit early for that carry on. I leave it. It rings off then begins again almost immediately. I concede with a hissed ‘Hello’.’
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