A Quickie with Michael J Malone

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

House of Spines is a Gothic mystery/ psychological thriller about families, lies, lust and betrayal. A young poet, Ranald McGhie inherits a sprawling mansion from a side of the family he had no idea even existed. He moves in, and slowly but surely loses his grip on what is real and what is not.

You should all read it because it’s served up with lots of spooky shit – and a dash of poetry.

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

Wide-eyed and legless.


Dreamer, Nothing but a Dreamer.

Don’t know why I’ve gone all song title on you.

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

It wasn’t so much a question, more of a statement. I was signing books after the launch event for Beyond the Rage when an older lady commented on something the chair person had said during the event –something about their being lots of sex in the book. Then she motioned me closer to her, and in her best Les Dawson over the garden fence voice said, I don’t mind all that sex stuff, son. My husband died five years ago and it’s a nice wee reminder.

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

Mmmm – drums his fingers on the keyboard – I’m not sure I could actually write with anyone else. But having said that there’s a whole list of people I’d love to learn from – William McIlvanney, Bryce Courteney, Denise Mina. I could go on, but this is supposed to be a quickie, innit.

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

I was a Highland dancer as a wee boy and I did the Highland Fling and Sword Dance at events all over Ayrshire in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Yes, I’m that old.

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

Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech. I’ve read all of Louise’s books now and I just LOVE her writing. She manages to be both elegant and quotidian (I had to look it up) at the same time. And she always gives me a lump in my throat.

The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney. I appeared in an event recently with Lisa for the Edinburgh Book Festival and listening to Lisa talk made me want to read her books. She was funny, charming, thoughtful and intelligent – and all of that and more made it into her book. It WAS glorious.

The Hypnotist by Laurence Anholt. An Irishman in 1960’s American befriends a black boy in the Deep South. In the final third of the book I was so anxious about the characters I HAD to take a break from reading it. That’s when you know you are in the hands of a master.

Who is Michael J Malone?  Michael Malone was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country, just a stone’s throw from the great man’s cottage in Ayr. Well, a stone thrown by a catapult, maybe.

He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. His career as a poet has also included a (very) brief stint as the Poet-In-Residence for an adult gift shop. Don’t ask.

BLOOD TEARS, his debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize (judge:Alex Gray) from the Scottish Association of Writers and when it was published he added a “J” to his name to differentiate it from the work of his talented U.S. namesake.

He is a regular reviewer for the hugely popular crime fiction website www.crimesquad.com and his blog, May Contain Nuts can be found at http://mickmal1.blogspot.com/

He can be found on twitter – @michaelJmalone1




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