Interview with Andrew McCallum Crawford, Author of Drive
Interview with Scottish Literature's Latest Light
Drive! author Andrew McCallum Crawford was gracious enough to give me an interview in early June 2010 via Facebook. His first novel, Drive! is set in the Scottish university and pub scene during the 1980's. It features a number of irreverent, colorful, and even some frightening characters that will stay with you for some time after you've finished the book.
Sean: Andy, I am really enjoying Drive! (I truly loved the pipe being thrown out of the bus part, incidentally).
Andrew: Glad you're getting into it, Sean. You'll see that all of the characters have their place (I hope!).
Sean: How long have you been writing, Andy?
Andrew: I've been writing since I was 20 - that's 24 years. I was just starting to make inroads in the Scottish writing scene in 1989 when I left to come and teach in Greece. Been writing in solitude ever since.
Sean: Is this your first novel?
Andrew: This is actually the second novel I've completed. The first was rejected, as happens, by every agent and publisher in the UK. Maybe it wasn't very good! So this is my first published novel.
Sean: What inspired you to choose this specific topic?
Andrew: I was a student in Edinburgh during the time that Drive! is set, so there [are] a lot of echoes from that time - places, though not so much people or events. The trick is to take something and mould it into the story you want. I studied Biology and Philosophy, which is why there is so much of that kind of thing in the book.
Sean: Were you ever in a band?
Andrew: I was the singer in a band. Couldn't sing. You might think that that's no obstacle to a achieving rock superstardom - Dylan, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen...er...Bananarama...Crystal Waters! When I say I couldn't sing, I really mean it. We made a demo tape. I thought my voice had been recorded at the wrong speed. It sounded like Barry White humping Minnie Mouse, and neither of them was enjoying it. The band split up. Then reformed, without me. That's what we rock vocalists call 'going solo'.
Sean: That's hilarious! So tell me, who are your literary heroes?
Andrew: Literary Heroes - got to be Bernard Malamud, JP Donleavy (both American, interestingly enough). James Kelman - ask any Scottish writer, and they'll mention James Kelman. John Irving for the way he crafts a tale.
Sean: Ah, John Irving! He's one of my favorites as well. Do you have any writers of whom you greatly disapprove?
Andrew: No nemeses. I try to be positive about all writing.
Sean: Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
Andrew: Good question. Writers, when giving advice, always say you have to 'find your own voice'. That can only come a. by reading a lot, and b. by writing even more. Eventually you come to a point where you think, yeah, that's me.
Sean: Is there a message to "Drive!"?
Andrew: Got to be careful with this one, as I don't want to give away the end of the story! The message seems to be 'Be careful, or you'll turn into your father'.
Sean: I have a friend, Ray, who is possibly interested in turning Drive! into a screenplay, have you had any other such nibbles?
Andrew: As far as the screenplay's concerned - I'm already thinking about that myself, Sean, so sorry to let you down there - but tell Ray to get onto Amazon.co.uk by all means!
Sean: Andy, thanks so much for taking your time to answer my questions, and best of luck with both Drive! and future endeavors.
Andrew: Cheers, Andy.
As Andy mentioned, those interested in purchasing Drive! may visit: