Roy Gill and Barry Hutchison specialise in creating fantastical worlds for teenagers, filled with demons, werewolves and monsters. And poo jokes.
Gill treats the eager young crowd to an urgently creepy passage from his latest novel The Werewolf Parallel, whilst Hutchison succumbs to an audience vote and plumps for comedy, with his passage from The 13th Horsemen going for the funny bone rather than the jugular, with its … evocative … description of flatulent horses.
Both authors go on to speak about their inspiration and their writing process, with Gill stressing the determination (or, as he puts it, the “bloody-minded stupidity”) necessary to succeed. Hutchison describes the “constant chatter” of stories in his head, writing them down being “something I just have to do”.
Both were inspired to write from an early age, Hutchison often writing stories for movie trailers he saw, which he knew would never make it to the cinema in the small town where he grew up (“For years, I thought E.T. had ninjas in it”). Gill has always been inspired by books about what lies “just around the corner”, shadowy places where “two worlds coexist at the same time”.
Neither author is an extensive researcher, Hutchison claiming he is too lazy, whilst Gill gets most of what he needs from walking around Edinburgh (and drinking lots of tea).
When asked about how to develop as a writer, Gill encourages those present to read lots and write lots and to “write for the pleasure of writing.” Hutchison has a piece of simple advice for any aspiring young authors out there. “Do things,” he says. “Experience life.”