Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Blog Tour + Interview - The Accidental Recluse by Tom McCulloch

The tour schedule:


Johnny Jackson used to be a famous film director, but his brother Duke was a hero. Just  turned 75, JJ is heading home from exile in Japan for one last blockbuster. But going home means revisiting the past and Johnny’s past is a disturbing place. The dead won't tell any tales, but someone else just might.

 How did you come up with the idea for The Accidental Recluse?

It’s all my late grandfather Bert’s doing. A few years ago, he told me about a cargo ship called the Breda that was sunk off Oban by the Luftwaffe during World War Two. There were rumours of gold, a monkey and the Aga Khan’s favourite horse. It all trickled down the page from there as Norman MacCaig might have said.

What was your favourite part of writing The Accidental Recluse?

The research. Losing myself in Music Hall and Variety, fifties jazz, the rise of the 60s counterculture. Not a bad excuse to mine You Tube for old Lex McLean sketches, watch Blow-Up again, listen to loads of Mingus, Ellington and Coltrane, read Colin MacInnes, drink myself around Soho… Writing the comedy sequences for the Breda Boys was good fun too. I made myself laugh, at least, hopefully others will too… 

Do you have a favourite character in The Accidental Recluse?

Johnny, the main character. I like his delusion. We like to think we’re in control of our decisions. To an extent we are. But there are always other influences at work on us, some more subtle than others, conditioning our choices. Sometimes these influences can even be imaginary. Johnny always had tendencies to solitude but the ‘accidental’ is a way of suggesting he views others as primarily responsible for his exile, distancing himself from any personal responsibility.

When did you start writing?

I’ve always scribbled away. My family is and was full of writers. Books are everywhere. When I was 13 I started writing a sequel to Alistair MacLean’s Force 10 from Navarone. It remains unfinished, a lost classic…

What are your hobbies?

Last week I wandered Highgate Cemetery with a friend. We heard about dark spiders and the Queen’s Horse Slaughterer, wondered about muddy scuff-marks half way up a tomb (like hand-prints...) and made our bows to Bert Jansch and Malcolm McLaren. Then we went to the French Pub in Dean Street and drank Talisker. I think this counts as a hobby.

About the Author

Tom McCulloch has published poetry and short stories in various journals including Other Poetry, Northwords, Northwords Now, Eildon Tree, Markings, Buzzwords, and Wilderness magazine (New Zealand), and was long-listed for the Herald/Imagining Scotland short story competition 2011. With his first novel, The Stillman, he became an Amazon Rising Star.  

Tom is from the Highlands of Scotland, and currently lives in Oxford with his family.