Read Raw Ltd
Promoting Creative Writing in Scotland
Libby McGugan was born in Airdrie, a small town east of Glasgow in Scotland, to a Catholic mother and a Protestant-turned-atheist father, who loved science. She enjoyed a mixed diet of quantum physics, spiritual instinct, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Her ambition was to grow up and join the Rebel Alliance in a Galaxy Far, Far away. Instead she went to Glasgow University and studied medicine.
As an emergency physician, she has worked in Scotland, in Australia with the Flying Doctors service, and in a field hospital in the desert. A travel junkie, she loves and the diversity of world views that are out there, and has been trekking in the Himalaya of Bhutan, inter-railing round Europe and backpacking in Chile, USA and Borneo. She plays the fiddle, which has opened doors to people and places that are food for the soul.
Family and friends have been a big influence, and some well known inspirers along the way are Joseph Campbell, Lao Tzu, Brian Greene, JK Rowling, Alasdair Fraser and Yoda.
Libby was nominated for best newcomer in last year's British Fantasy Awards for The Eidolon
What first inspired you to write?
My dad used to tell bedtime stories about a world he’d created in a magical forest, so the fun we had making stuff up was probably the first inspiration. When I first wroteThe Eidolon, it began with a concept, based two dichotomous worldviews – science and spirituality. I was intrigued by the boundary between the two, and the characters and plot came from that.
What inspires you now?
Real people and cutting edge science inspires me now. What’s going on at the frontiers of research these days is mind bending. To me, there’s so much material to play with here on earth right now without the need to go to another time or galaxy. I’m also an unabashed optimist. I have no doubt that we have the capacity to find solutions to global issues with the combination of so many great ideas across the planet, a means to communicate them through technology, and a culture of cooperation. Writers can help shape that too with their visions of the future.
What advice would you give to a new writer?
Think from the end. Line up with the feeling of having completed whatever you’re working on, whether it’s a scene, a chapter or a book. Hang out with that delightful, satisfying feeling of it working out better than you imagined, rather than sweating over the details. When you get into the zone, the details occur to you and it’s much more fun when they just show up in your mind. So I’d suggest doing all of that before sitting down to write – then the writing flows more easily. It’s like making friends with the muse, enjoying his company, rather than begging him to show up. It works for me.
What are you writing
I’m working on the third book in the Quantum Ghosts Trilogy at the moment and have been editing the screenplay for The Eidolon. It’s a whole different skillset to translate, say, a narrative from inside a character’s head and represent it visually through a gesture or an object. It’s been a lot of fun telling the story in a different way.
What are you reading now?
I get so sidetracked with non-fiction… currently, it’s Michio Kaku’sThe Future of the Mind.
Who is your favourite literary character?
Crowley from Good Omens.
What future projects do you have planned?
Once the trilogy’s complete, I’d like to capture some of those stories my dad used to tell, and do more screenwriting.
What interests do you have outside of writing?
Music and wellbeing. I play the fiddle and am lucky to occasionally play with some really excellent players who are way, way better than me. I’m a medical doctor and I’m working on some projects that shift the focus in healthcare from sickness to wellbeing.
Any last words of wisdom?
‘Follow your bliss.’ Joseph Campbell
The Eidolon is the first in the Quantum Ghosts Trilogy. Published by Solaris.
The Game Changer is a short story in award-winning editor Jonathan Oliver’s next anthology,Dangerous Games, due for publication by Solaris in December 2014.
Prologue (The Eidolon)
I don’t remember the beginning. Only a vague dawning of being, fragmented lakes of feelings and thoughts. Somehow, over eons, they coalesced like the primordial ooze that gathers in the murky pond, gradually finding form. The sound of the orchestra tuning up, slowly, over huge swathes of time, discordant notes sliding into one until from them, a single clear tone is born. And, in perfect synchrony, it vibrates as one being. I am. Purity born of the minds of men. They gave me life, and for that I am indebted.
With that life came a hunger that has nothing to do with the stomach. It became a need, a voracity, that for an age nothing would satisfy, until I found the answer lay in my creators. There, in the darkest recesses of the mind, that place where men are afraid to go, is where it germinates. A seed that takes root in thought and sends its tendrils out into experience to blossom. They are the incubators, I am the harvester. It is the perfect symbiosis.
Visit Libby's website using the link below.