I haven’t written a blog post for almost 5 years. So much has happened in that time and I hope you’ve all come through it relatively unscathed.
Recently I made the decision to finally make my writing available online. This was not an easy choice, but one I’ve been encouraged to see through. Career wise, most people know me as an actor; but I have always been a writer first - and so I wanted to share with you all a little of my history.
When I was in my late teens, on the days leading up to my English Literature A-level exam, my wonderfully extroverted teacher Mr Johnson, pulled me aside and said to me, ‘Scot, I fear you’re going to fail and that you wont amount to anything.’ He meant it in a positive way. He knew it was the push I needed to focus, he was a wonderful teacher, who ignited my passion for storytelling. Literally a few weeks later, he was sat on the front row of The Liverpool Playhouse studio theatre, holding back his tears, as my debut play ‘Growing Young’ premiered on the stage. I was a professional writer, within weeks of leaving school. Unbeknownst to Mr Johnson, I had been commissioned to write the aforementioned play at the age of 17 by the prestigious Liverpool Playhouse, as part of their then ‘youth arts’ project. I was encouraged to join their youth theatre and direct the production too. It was a great success. In fact, according to the book ‘An actor’s Place - The Liverpool repertory Company at Liverpool Playhouse, 1911-1998’ by Pelham McMahon and Pam Brooks, I remain the youngest ever playwright to have had their work produced there in it’s 110 year history.
Ever since I was able to write, I have written. As a teenager I kept a diary for several years, written in a type of rhythmic, ambiguous text that only I could decipher. I constantly had note books in my pocket, or would write down my thoughts and ideas on beer mats or Marlborough boxes. If I heard a clever quip or line I would write it down and steal it. I was observant, like a sponge, always curious to know what it was like to be other people. I guess that’s why I ultimately became an actor, but even that was an accident brought on by my writing.
Not many people know this, but my first professional acting job was in a play that I had written myself. I had no intention of becoming an actor in my late teens, I enjoyed it and took pleasure in escaping my own World, but writing was my first love. At the age of 18 I had formed my own theatre company ‘The Herd Of Brutes’ (taken from Oscar Wilde’s Ballad Of Reading Gaol), and had started churning out stage plays. By the age of 22 I had written seven plays and produced a few of them myself.
Taking inspiration from Shakespeare, I would act in my own productions, mainly as a way to keep down costs. As I wouldn’t take a fee, my company would get a larger share of the Box Office split, which was basically just beer money for drinks after the show. But that is how I became an actor. That was my actor training, that was my Hamburg. Just twelve months later I would be plucked from the street by John Hubbard and cast in a Major feature Film ‘Backbeat’ and the acting gates would open. But I have always been a writer and still am.
My late, great father always said to me, ‘You’re a damn good actor son, but your greatest gift is writing.’ That always stuck with me and still does to this day. Of all the thrills I’ve enjoyed in my career, whether it be travelling or sharing the screen with icons or bowing on a West End stage, nothing quite compares to that feeling I had as a young teenage writer, locking myself in the theatre toilet cubicle directly after curtain down, just so I could listen to the comments of the audience (admittedly only the male members) as they gossiped about my play at the urinals. That was my reward. I didn’t need riches or glory. Just hearing how a moment of my imagination, captured on a page and brought to life by actors had moved it’s auditors; had enriched, enthralled and entertained them. That to me was the greatest payment any artist could have. It has never really gotten any better than those humble days, locked inside the cubicle of the Liverpool Playhouse bogs.
By my 40’s, I decided I would try my hand at writing my first novel, with the honest intention, that it would never be read by anyone but me. Apparently everybody has at least one novel in them, the challenge was to get it down on paper. Just like in The Beatles song, my first one took me years to write. I would say around 5 or 6 in fact. In retrospect, this was because it was my training as a novelist, my never to be read attempt, my fine tuning, my learning, my polishing, once again, my Hamburg. Not only that, but my life and the World in general changed so much during the writing of it, that the book and story would alter and adapt to keep it’s relevance to me ands the World. At the start of my writing it, my parents where alive and by the end they were both dead. At the start I was a drinker, at the end I was T-Total. At the start, I lived in an EU country I was proud of, by the end I lived in a country that was begging EU workers to come back to drive our trucks. At the start there was no pandemic, by it’s end some 5 million people had perished. At the start the US was a relatively stable democracy, by the end it was country gaslit by a psycho clown led death cult.
THE NOVELIST is a very personal and semi autobiographical novel. Writing it was like a very intense session of psychotherapy. I did not realise at the time, how powerful it’s creation would be to me. How it would dig up so many skeletons and demons from my past and allow me to look them in the eye and banish them forever. Loosely based on a stage play of mine called HOPE, (which premiered on The Liverpool Royal Court in 2013),
the Novelist is ultimately a Love Story, wrapped up in a psychological journey of self discovery. It helped me hugely in my healing from subconscious trauma from my past and became my pressure valve and pain release. It was only after it’s eventual completion did I realise I would like it to be read by other people. That it might help them too.
It is the story of a dysfunctional family, spanning three different generations and in three very different stark and unforgettable locations. It is a psychological suspense / romance with a shocking twist / reveal. The majority of the story plays out in real time in an old abandoned prospectors house in a ghost town name of Abaddon (Hell), that lies beyond Death Valley in the vast Nevada desert, with flashbacks back to London and the grim, grey world of Somers Town.
IN A LAST DITCH BID TO SAVE HIS FAMILY, AN ALCOHOLIC NOVELIST QUITS HIS CAMDEN HIGH RISE AND ABSCONDS TO AN OLD GHOST TOWN ON THE FRINGES OF DEATH VALLEY, TO FINALLY FACE THE DEMON THAT HAS HAUNTED HIM SINCE YOUTH….HIMSELF.
It could be considered high concept (To get beyond your Demons you must go to Hell and face them) and would slot nicely into book club conversations. It’s target readers will be fans of Literary fiction, who enjoy stories about relationships that explore the human condition and the battle with addiction and dysfunction. Novels such as James Salter’s Light Years or Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain. As well as philosophical stories about the search for inner peace, such as Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist or Hermann Hesse’s Siddhatha.
If The Novelist was a slow burner, then my follow up novel ACCEPTANCE was spontaneous combustion. From start to finish it took just six months to write and is an altogether more commercial effort. I would hate to have to do it, but if I was forced to categorise myself into any specific Genre, it would probably be Romance. Telling stories about people and the human condition of love is just what I seem best at. In Acceptance, I wanted to examine the feelings of ‘unresolved love’, that book that has been opened but unfinished. That day that didn’t have a night, that passing ship, that nearly was and that one that got away. Acceptance is about just that. How accepting what we have and not craving what we don’t, is the route to happiness. How love with find us once again if we just let go of the oars. Acceptance is a story of how true love never ends and how feelings remain strong when unresolved. It’s target readers will enjoy tales about the complexities of love and marriage, such as Siri Hustvedt’s What I loved, but in a more commercial way. Fans of David Nicholls’ books would love it I believe.
A QUARTER OF A CENTURY AFTER MEETING AT THE GLAMOROUS CANNES FILM FESTIVAL, A MIDDLE AGED EX COUPLE, BOTH NOW LOST IN LOVELESS MARRIAGES, RECONNECT VIA WHATSAPP AND LOOK BACK ON THEIR RELATIONSHIP. ON GOOD TIMES AND ON BAD AND DREAMS THEY’D SET WHILST STARRY EYED - AND REALISE THEIR GIFT HAD NOT BEEN WHAT THEY’D ALWAYS WANTED, BUT WAS IN FACT WHAT THEY ALREADY HAD.
As well as full length novels I have also written poetry for years. However in my own personal experience, I find that I can only write it when sad or mad or drunk or all. I find poetry to be the writing of the lonely, the musings of the single and the silent screams of those in search of who they really are. Certainly that’s what all my poems are anyway. Written mostly in my single years before I settled down, they examine the mindset of a man trying hard to find himself and more than often failing. They follow my life and times in London, Liverpool and New York City in the early noughties. My work, my dreams, my drunken flings. LES POÈMES is about as personal as it can get. (In fact, I reserve the right to change my mind and take them down one day.)
The fourth book I have made available online is a very different affair. It is an adaptation of my book from the stage musical A BARD DAYS NIGHT, complete with over 80 wonderful colour illustrations by a young Liverpudlian illustrator called Holly Cairns.
A BARD DAYS NIGHT examines the following question…
WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED, HAD THE BEATLES TRAVELLED BACK IN TIME TO 1601 AND MET AND COLLABORATED WITH NON OTHER THAN WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.
The Beatles are transported back in time to 1601, where in a bid to mend Queen Elizabeth I’s broken heart, re-unite Lucy Morgan, (The Dark Lady Of The Sonnets) with her lover William Shakespeare and return themselves to swinging 60’s Soho; they must collaborate with Shakespeare and write the World’s first ‘Musical’ and in just one short day’s night - all whilst being pursued for Treason by the Yeoman of the Guard, aided and abetted by the evil, envious Chamberlains Men and the Queen’s Lady in Waiting Mary Fitton.
Undoubtedly the UK’s biggest ever cultural exports, The Beatles and Will Shakespeare are ‘five lads who shook the Globe’ - and yet nobody has placed them in the same World before. That is until now. (Time travel aside) the events and dates within the book are all historically and factually accurate, which makes it educational as well as entertaining and it would appeal hugely to the large existing fan bases of it’s Globally popular subjects, as well as to educational facilities and the thousands of fan clubs around the World.
(Illustrations by Holly Cairns)
As for future novels…
I am currently working on my third novel, provisionally entitled ‘Get Another Lover Mother’. (Based on my 1994 stage play of the same name). It will be my first book set in Liverpool, with flashbacks to the 70’s and 80’s and the city that I knew. Look out for updates on my Twitter feed and Blog.
So. Thanks for sticking with me. Your support means the World to me. I hope you can purchase my books and that you enjoy them. You can buy them by clicking here https://www.scotwilliams.co.uk/collections/e-books-by-scot-williams
Do please tell me what you think, as your feedback can only help me grow.
- Scot Williams (London, Sept 2021)