Archive for January, 2011

A wee interview with Alexander McCall Smith











This week we’re discussing 44 Scotland Street By Alexander MCall Smith, who was a suggested author from the lovely New Writing North.

As I’m cheeky and shy kids get nowt, I sent him an email, and by jove, he replied and answered a few questions especially for Middlesbrough Book Group.
How did you go about writing this as a serial for a newspaper? – Did you have an end goal in sight story-wise? Or did you write as you went along?

I started to write Scotland Street on the request of the then editorof the Scotsman newspaper, Iain Martin. The story evolved as I wrote it- and it often went in unexpected directions.

We like to have soundtracks to go along with books – can you give me 5 songs which match ’44 Scotland Street’ or ones you listened to whilst writing?

Five pieces of music:

Soave sia il vento

Mozart, from Cosi

Mist-covered mountains (pipe music)

King Fareweel, Jacobite song

As time goesThe Penguin Cafe Orchestra (anything of theirs)

If you had to live next door to any of the characters who would it be and why?

Domenica Macdonald – I would enjoy her conversation.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m writing volume seven in the Scotland Street series and also working on the new Isabel Dalhousie book.

The February Book Group is at 6.30pm at Writer’s Block (underneath BBC Tees, with a red awning, directly opposite the bus station). We had a lot of people turn up for January’s group and it would be lovely to see lots of people there again – new members are always very welcome.

And, I’ll be announcing March’s book at the group, which will be randomly picked from a hat of suggestions sent in by book group members.

What’s your best new book?

So. January. There’s no mention of resolutions round here. Oh No. It is still winter, so all the sugar, fat, booze and comforting things (aka kigus) that made xmas will continue be held onto into 2011 thank you very much.

In fact, I have totally indulged book-wise during my week off and the pile of ‘to read’ is teetering with books for group and an assortment of stories hauled home from Middlesbrough’s excellent Central Library.

Next on the list for our group is ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghoe, which some people have already read and say they read it lightning-fast because it is THAT GOOD.

I’m just starting it, and am looking forward to seeing just who Old Nick is and if and how Jack and Ma make some sort of escape.

There is a list of our upcoming books here but we are looking for YOUR ideas for our March book.

The only rules are – it needs to have been published over the past 18 months, be new fiction and available in paperback (to keep costs down).

Leave you suggestions here or message me on our facebook group by the end of January please.

See you at the next group!

About the group

The Tees Valley Book Group meets at Stockton Central Library at 6.30pm on the first Tuesday of the month.

If you would like more information about what the group is reading, please visit


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