A Quickie with David F Ross

Tell me about your latest book and why we should read it?

My latest book is ‘The Man Who Loved Islands’. It was published in May this year by Orenda Books. It is the conclusion to a short series of books which have become known as the ‘Disco Days Trilogy’. The book is about love, loss and regret and the recapturing of a friendship from that time in our lives when anything seemed possible; when the world was at our feet. It’s very funny, heartbreakingly poignant and authentically true (…in my opinion).

If someone was to write your life story what would the title be?

‘Man Bites Dog: Now That’s Entertainment!’

What’s the strangest fan question or request you’ve received?

On tour in Germany last year with ‘Schottendisco’, (the German translation of The Last Days of Disco) I was asked to sign a book using every Scottish swear word or profanity I could think of. I think I got to 28.

If you could co-write with anyone in the world (alive or dead) who would it be?

I’d love to write a fictional book about the break-up of the Union with Jonathan Coe. But I also have a dream to write an autobiography of the singer, Kevin Rowland. His collaboration would be necessary because of the structure I have in mind for it.

Tell me something nobody else knows about you (yet!).

I was arrested and spent the night in a police cell for defacing a painted portrait of Margaret Thatcher. Perhaps not my finest moment at the time, but one that I’m now perversely proud of.

Finally please recommend 3 books that you have recently read and tell me why you’ve chosen these.

01: ‘The Sellout’ by Paul Beatty.
It’s an absolutely incredible piece of writing. The first hundred pages are the best I’ve ever read. Its pace, humour and absurdity make it reminiscent of ‘Catch-22’ but I think it’s so much more than that. It shines a brutal spotlight on modern-day America; its civil hypocrisies and its sometimes laughable injustices. It’s a masterpiece of modern literature.

02: ‘The Reflection’ by Hugo Wilcken.
It’s a unsettling and atmospheric book about a psychiatrist in 50s New York who suffers a trauma. It’s a book about the nature of memory and identity and about what constitutes a person’s sense of reality. It’s very cleverly and beautifully written.

03: ‘No Good Deed’ by John Niven.
John Niven is just a great story-teller. His books are full of characters that I can totally identify with and there’s a brilliant believability about everything he writes. His latest book is one of his best: a story of school friends whose lives have taken dramatically different directions. Despite the compassion in seeing old friends in difficult times, the book ponders whether all acts of altruism are entirely selfless.

Who is David F Ross?

David F. Ross was born in Glasgow in 1964, and he lived in various part of the city until the late ‘70s. He subsequently moved to Kilmarnock, where he has lived since. He was educated at James Hamilton Academy until being politely asked to leave. (Expulsion is such a harsh word, isn’t it?) Following a frankly ludicrous early foray into sporadic employment (Undertakers, Ice Cream Parlour, Tennis Groundsman, DJ … he’ll save these stories until he knows you better), David found himself at Glasgow School of Art, studying architecture. In 1992, he graduated from the Mackintosh School of Architecture. He is now the Design Director of one of Scotland’s largest, oldest and most successful practices, Keppie Design. (Funny old world, eh?)
David has worked all over the world and he led his practice strategy for projects in countries as diverse as China, Egypt, Malaysia, India and Libya. He is a designated business leader for East Ayrshire Council, a Board Mentor for Entrepreneurial Spark and he was design advisor to Strathclyde Passenger Transport for their modernisation programme of the Glasgow Subway in advance of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.   He is married to Elaine and has two children, Nathan and Nadia, who have both signed legally binding agreements to house him in the best Old Folks Home his money can buy. He is a Chelsea fan – from long before the cash-rich days – and occasionally writes stream-of-consciousness rubbish for @ByTheMinChelsea and other @ByTheMinSport feeds on Twitter.
David’s most prized possession is a signed Joe Strummer LP.
Since the publication of his debut novel The Last Days of Disco, he’s become something of a media celebrity in Scotland, with a signed copy of his book going for £500 at auction, and the German edition has not left the bestseller list since it was published.


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