By Russel D McLean
As I write this, I am currently at work on something I hope will be the next novel. It is not a McNee. For now, at least, the series is on hiatus (because you don't know what happened at the end of CRY UNCLE, do you?). But I am working on something very different set on the means streets of... Glasgow. As usual, I've been listening to a lot of music writing it. With the McNee series, there was a lot of Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Alabama 3, Dylan... with this book, the soundtrack has been a little more offbeat in terms of the way it connects to the material. Despite being set in Glasgow estates and schemes, I've turned to Blaxploitation funk and soul tracks for inspiration. So the inside of my head sounds a little like this:
(each track relates to a different section of the novel)
Prologue: The Other Side of Town (Curtis Mayfield) - all this might tell you is that the prologue takes place on the Other Side of Town (and if its not Curtis, its not Music)
Part One: Pay to the Piper (Chairmen of the Board) - I mean, in every book, sooner or later, someone's going to Pay to the Piper (if they dance to the music).
Part Two: Home is Where the Hatred Is (Gil Scott Heron) - the track that actually influenced the book. And Gil's father, of course, had a perhaps unexpected Glasgow connection.
Part Three: When I Die (Esther Marrow) - the version I knew first was by Blood Sweat and Tears, but this one fits the book better.
Part Four: Backstabbers (The O'Jays) - Why wouldn't you use this song in a soundtrack?
Part Five: By All Means (Alphonse Mouzon) - the track itself isn't quite representative in sound of the climax, but the title, oh yes, it most certainly is.
So there you are, some veiled musical hints of what the next book might be like. Or at least the tracks that influenced me when it came to writing it. I still don't know when, where, how the book might be around, but I'm quite exciting for it - much as I love McNee, its nice to leave his world even if just for a little while, and go to a place that surprises me on every page.