Neil Forsyth Interview
Posted on 11 September 2007. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
WriteWords talks to author Neil Forsyth
Tell us all about your writing background- what youíve written, what youíre currently writing
My first book was called Other Peopleís Money Ė The Rise and Fall of Britainís Most Audacious Fraudster and came out in April 2007. Itís the true story of former credit card fraudster Elliot Castro, was serialised in the Guardian and weíve just agreed a deal for the film rights. My new book is out October 4th and is called Delete This At Your Peril. Itís a collection of emails I exchanged with Internet spammers in the character of a 62-year-old, heavy-drinking, former window cleaner from Dundee. Hopefully itís funnier than it sounds there. Iím currently writing a novel.
How did you start writing?
I began by contributing to a Dundee United football fanzine at 15, though that largely consisted of photocopying Roy of the Rovers comic strips and changing the words in the speech bubbles to make derogatory comments about rival clubs. Things didnít progress much from there until five years ago when I quit my job at 24 and started writing on Scottish football Ė match reports and so on. I was running club nights to get by, and worked my way into menís magazines and newspapers. Two years ago I stumbled across the story of Elliot Castro. I wrote to him in prison and things progressed from there.
How did you get your first agent/ commission?
I wrote a rambling email, attached the few articles Iíd written that had something about them, and suggested I wrote Castroís biography. That went to perhaps 100 literary agents. I think I had three positive replies and the first was from my agent, David Riding at MBA.
Who are your favourite writers and why?
A small selection: Kingsley Amis, Martin Amis, Nigel Tranter, George MacDonald Fraser, Irvine Welsh. Irvine Welsh endorsed Other Peopleís Money Ė a thrilling development that arrived in Welshian manner, if thereís such a term. A guy I knew from nights out in Edinburgh mentioned in passing that he knew Irvine. I gave him an advance copy the next day and didnít think much more about it, then a few weeks later an unexpected and generous email came through from Irvine complete with a quote for the cover.
What's the worst thing about writing?
Waiting for news.
And the best?
Publication, certainly, gives some weighty validation in a pursuit never slow to chuck self-doubt at you. But for me the greatest satisfaction is sitting down each day knowing Iím doing what I would choose to be doing above anything else. And I think thatís a very fortunate and privileged position to be in.
Tell us what kind of responses you get from audiences\ readers.
Receiving emails and other contacts from strangers who enjoyed Other Peopleís Money has been fantastic. Someone emailed recently to say that the book had made their summer holiday. Having said that, they never said where theyíd gone on holiday.
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