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Newly Published: A Guide to Scottish Literature

Issue 1 April 2014 Ringwood Edition


A Subtle Sadness

A rigorous exploration of Scottish

identity. An in depth look at the personal history of Scotsman Frank Hunter. A story of a 100-year-old fight for Scottish Home Rule. Covering a century’s worth of Scottish social, political and football highlights – A Subtle Sadness demands to be read by anyone seeking to understand the Scottish character. It embraces the Ibrox Disaster of 1971; the Gorbals Monster Hunt; the death of Jock Stein; the fated fight for Scotland’s industrial inheritance; as well as love, marriage and relationships in modern day Scotland. With an array of themes spanning politics, football, religion, sex and alcohol in Scotland, it is the perfect read for those looking to expand their knowledge on these issues or for those who wish to open a door into a brand new area that they have not discovered before. Sandy Jamieson, senior Social Work manager turned author, talks about his upcoming book – A Subtle Sadness. “A Subtle Sadness is the first book in The Hunter Trilogy,” Sandy explains. “The book explores the fiction of who Frank Hunter is and where he came from. In the novel, Frank Hunter is a uniquely talented man who is very much a key identity in Scotland’s history.” Sandy continues: “The book delves into Frank Hunter’s tragic life. He is a sad Scotsman with quite a selfdestructive streak. The interesting thing about him is that he is the product of a mixed marriage; he has a Protestant father and a Catholic mother, which of course in those days, was rare.”

Tying in themes of football and politics, the books sheds a light on the sad and haunting story of Frank Hunter, while additionally, reflecting on the sorrow, depression and mental health problems that hid in the shadows of his mind. While delving into the life of Frank Hunter, A Subtle Sadness also displays a fresh Scottish approach to the major issues that Scotland has faced in the past. Sandy depicts perfectly the trials and the triumphs of Scotland over the years. The book features a dazzling timeline of various events, people and their stories. He enthuses: “One of the stories in the book covers the bitter fight for Scottish Home Rule. It’s told by Mary Ewing and it explores the years 1890 to 1990, it’s really interesting.” With the book’s strong football themes, the timeline continues with the emotional story of Scotland’s quest for the World Cup and the political impact it had. “The book covers the five consecutive qualifications in the years 1973 to 1989. These years were crucial to Scotland,” Sandy continues. “Essentially, the book covers a century of Scotland’s highlights – politically and socially.” And a book worthy century it is. The book talks about Glasgow’s emergence as European City of Culture in 1990. It covers the Gorbals by-elections of 1908, 1948, 1969 and 1982; the Scottish Convention of 1948; the Devolution Referendum and the impact of Thatcherism on Scotland’s industrial base. On the football side it emotionally tells of the Ibrox Disaster of 1971 as well as the less fatal disasters of

Wembley in 1961 and Argentina in 1978. “I suppose the book is one massive history lesson,” Sandy laughs. Indeed, the author has quite a history himself. After living in Ayrshire, Fife and Spain, he has finally settled down in Glasgow where he was born. “I was a Senior Social Work manager with Strathclyde Regional Council, working as Assistant Director with children and families.” He left social work in 1991 to pursue his dream of becoming an author. He published Own Goal, The Great Escape and Graeme Souness: The Ibrox Revolution and the Legacy of the Iron Lady’s Man and worked on the first draft of A Subtle Sadness before returning to social work. “I became Chief Executive of ‘Includem’ which is an organisation dedicated to providing support to Scotland’s most troubled young people. I worked with ‘Includem’ for 25 years and received and OBE in 2008 for the work I did,” he says proudly. Retiring in 2007, he retreated to Spain where he worked on his books. “I came back from Spain in 2011 and that was when I sat down seriously to write A Subtle Sadness,” Sandy says. A Subtle Sadness will officially launch on March 27 at the Berkeley Suite, 237 North Street in Glasgow. Many new Scottish authors will be in attendance, there will be a question and answer session with Sandy himself, plus the opportunity to get a copy of A Subtle Sadness signed. -A Subtle Sadness is now available to buy on Amazon and the Ringwood website


... launched

Sandy Jamieson signs copies of A Subtle Sadness On March 27, many friends, family and colleagues of with he has worked with for many years. Forgoing the

Sandy Jamieson gathered in a crowded Berkeley Suite in Glasgow to finally see the official launch of A Subtle Sadness. Ringwood Publishing, who Sandy works with and who also published his book, gathered proudly to finally see the launch of a book that has been 17 years in the making. In a moving and witty speech, Sandy speaks about how long it took him to finish the book and the support he received from his wife and from Ringwood, whom

usual readings from the book, Sandy instead chose to speak in length about what the book stood for and what he hoped to achieve with it. The question and answer session that followed provoked a very lengthy debate about the relationship of the book to the current independence debate going on in Scotland. Ringwood were delighted at the attendance of William McIlvanney, a very famous Scottish author.


Calling Cards ”

the sole purpose of a book launch is to convince people that the book is worth buying

“Thank you all for coming to support me on this momentous occasion. Getting to this point was not an easy process, but after nearly eight years in the making, I am finally a published author.” Amidst many cheers and claps, Gordon Johnston begins his emotional speech at the official book launch of his superb psychological thriller. On February 13 in the crowded Berkeley Suite in Glasgow, friends, family and fellow authors gathered to help Gordon celebrate the release of his first published book; Calling Cards. The book itself has been described as a fresh and exciting addition to the ranks of Tartan Noir. Gordon says: “It is an exploration into the impact that stress has on human beings. It explores the path that people follow when they resort to addiction: then the road to recovery. It highlights how corruptive the need for success or revenge can be for a person.” Calling Cards links the small Scottish worlds of journalism and politics. In a favourable

comparison to State of Play, Calling Cards creates an intricate network of linked strands that eventually builds to a compelling climax. Published by Ringwood Publishing, a small publishing house in Glasgow, this debut title from Gordon Johnston is said to be a “psychological thriller worthy of a place in the top rank.” Executive and author at Ringwood Publishing, Sandy Jamieson says of the book: “It is a fascinating examination of people under stress. It is extremely well written in a fluid style, very easy to read. The story tells of an increasingly desperate hunt for a Glasgow serial killer, while highlighting how people cope under intense pressure. It marks the arrival of a new and very welcome addition to Ringwood publishing. We are pleased to have Gordon join our ranks and additionally to the ranks of distinguished Scottish crime writers.” Gordon’s launch is a busy and fun event with many authors, distinguished and new, in

attendance. He reads an extract from his book, makes his speech and answers questions from the audience. Then the real book launch begins. Gordon says: “Just because people have shown up to the launch, does not mean they are going to leave with a copy of the book. The book may be published but the hard part is just starting: getting people to buy the book.” After his individual question and answer session, Gordon joined the Ringwood Writers Panel to answer queries from the crowd. “The road to getting published is not an easy one. But with the right publisher and the right people around you, the right attitude and the determination, every aspiring author has an excellent chance of getting their work out there,” Gordon finishes proudly.

-Calling Cards is available to buy on Amazon and the Ringwood website


How do small publishing companies survive?

As well as celebrating the launch we feel like we are giving these any money at all, caught between

of a book, the sole purpose of a book launch is to convince people that the book is worth buying. Being a small publishing company, Ringwood has to work that bit harder to get readers in the door, generate interest and let them know about their upcoming titles. Attending Gordon’s book launch were also a selection of authors that Ringwood have already published or new authors that are being published in the upcoming months. “Book launches are essential to any publisher and any author. It is when you get to introduce your baby to the world!” Sandy gushes. “It is a very important way to kick start sales of the book. As a small publisher, it is vital that our book launches are successful and word of the books are spread by people who attend.” Small publishing companies like Ringwood face many difficulties compared to bigger publishers. They do not have as many resources, or the publicity that bigger publishing houses obtain. That being said, there is some pros. “From Ringwood’s point of view,

authors a chance. Most of the writers we take on have never been published. We publish around 10% of the submissions that we receive,

which is a great deal more than bigger publishing companies. With so little staff it sometimes is a struggle to get things done, but we always get there,” Sandy explains. Small publishers struggle to make

Amazon, who insist on a 60% discount to sell your books and bookshops who also insist on high discounts. Most booksellers struggle to make money on any but the most popular books and even then, supermarkets and other non-traditional booksellers tend to undercut them. It is very hard for new unknown authors to get published for the first time. There is a classic Catch 22 that prevents new authors getting published. Publishers will no longer accept manuscripts unless submitted by a Literary Agent, but Literary Agents won’t take on new clients unless they have a publisher interested. Sandy continues: “Big publishers will print 50-60 books per year, small publishers much less. This year Ringwood hopes to publish 8 books, a record for us, but nothing compared to a big publisher. The process is very slow. It can take months after submission before an author is told their book may be of interest and then many more months before the process of editing is started.”


This project will allow these young journalists to discuss these issues and will help to shape how the next generation reports on the news

As part of Glasgow’s Aye Right! Festival, the 2014 Cultural Programme will offer the next generation of aspiring writers the unique chance to join in with this year’s Commonwealth Games. The three-day event starts on April 14, 100 days before the Commonwealth Games kick off and it is a fantastic opportunity for young journalists to gain valuable experience before Scotland’s biggest cultural and sporting event. Up to 300 young people will be chosen from 14 Commonwealth nations,

including the United Kingdom. Promising writers have already been selected through the city’s Education Services department and many are already involved in producing stories for school publications. Candidate Caitlin Marshall says: “It is a massive privilege to be a part of such an exciting and dynamic opportunity. When you have your heart set on something, to be allowed even the smallest insight into the way it works is a great boost.”

The Mitchell Library, Glasgow

A chief Commonwealth component for Glasgow’s literary festival will include a visit from the 2013 Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries. The festival will also feature a tribute event to the late South African President, Nelson Mandela, a conference with 300 young journalists and master classes with some of the country’s leading writers and reporters.


School Daze

The dazzling tale that is School Daze will be loved by all young teachers, and by all those ever taught by a young teacher who wondered what passions might lie behind the prim face properly presented in the classroom.

In a hugely enjoyable frolic book launch. “I’d just like to thank mysterious stranger. The book

through the social, sexual and professional dilemmas of three newly qualified young teachers; School Daze is sure to be a hit with teachers and students alike. Being a high school teacher herself, author Elaine McGeachy drew very much inspiration from her own personal experiences in order to write School Daze. In a time where many stories concerning relationships between teachers and students have stormed the headlines, Elaine’s novel takes a refreshing twist on the issue with a pleasant absence of sensationalism. It is a down to earth, realistic take on high schools in Scotland and a welcome addition to the range of novels that Scottish teenagers can read and relate to. On the launch of her debut novel, Elaine is giddy with excitement, surrounded by proud friends and family and ready to present her book to the world. In the Koh-INoor restaurant in Glasgow, around 50 or so guests attend Elaine’s

you all for coming tonight, it means a lot to me and really humbles me that you could all attend. For those of you here that know me, you’ll know this has been a dream of mine since I was a wee girl. Writing a book has been number one on my bucket list for as long as I can remember,” Elaine says. Elaine goes on to speak about her career in teaching and how she drew on the experiences she has had with her high school students for the book. She stresses that all characters in the book are fictional but she has used small personality traits from those closest to her and situations that she or fellow teachers have been in. School Daze follows the lives of three young teachers, Caitlyn, Jamie and Jennifer, and how they cope with the ever-increasing stresses of the modern day world of education. The characters all run into temptation at some point involving an attractive male pupil, a highly charismatic head teacher and a

deals with how they juggle their professional responsibilities while maintaining their social lives. This is something that Elaine can personally relate to and admits, “It took me so long to finish the book because I was so busy during the school year that I could only work on it during the summer holidays.” After a hearty meal and some drinks, the guests settle down to hear some readings from the book. Elaine’s best friend reads animatedly the sections that Elaine thought were best to introduce the characters to the reader. After the readings came a lively question and answer session that seen Elaine laugh, “I won’t be writing another book anytime soon, I think my husband would divorce me!” after being asked if there will be a sequel to School Daze.

-School Daze is available on Amazon and the Ringwood website


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Issue 1 April 2014 Ringwood Edition

Newly Published: A Guide to Scottish Literature  

A supplement that features new Scottish authors and books.

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