Published by Cranachan on 29th January 2017. My thanks to the publisher and author for sending the book and having me on the blog tour.
An eight-year-old girl and her granpa are on the run… “When me and Granpa watched James Bond films, he told me not to be scared because people didn’t have guns like that in Scotland. That must’ve been why the robbers used hammers.”
Orphaned Mary lives with her granpa, but after he is mixed up in a robbery at the bookies where he works, they flee to the Isle of Skye. Gradually, Mary realises that her granpa is involved. And the robbers are coming after him–and their money.
Mary’s quirky outlook on life, loss, and her love of all things Elvis, will capture your heart. Full of witty Scots banter, Mary’s the Name will have you reaching for the hankies, first with laughter, then with tears.
I really loved this warm book set in Scotland, it made me sad and it made me laugh. Told from the perspective of Mary, this is where the magic of the book lies for me. Ross Sayers has written the character and the voice of Mary beautifully and realistically.
Mary loves Elvis and James Bond and lives with her Granpa. This book whilst being quite humorous, touched me with its wit, and characterisations. There is even a robbery. There is a serious side to this book with some important themes tackled such as friendship, theft, and family relationships.
I loved the Scottish setting and really felt that it made the story come alive. It is Mary's voice that I will take away from this book. She will stay with me. It is very accomplished of the author to be able to write from the eyes of a child.
Ross Sayers has brought a new voice the world of fiction and one that I enjoyed. I would love to read more by him. A unique read that I would most definitely recommend.
I am delighted that Ross has taken the time to answer some of my questions, thanks to him for stopping by. I have his answers below.
1) Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m 24, living in Stirling, working as a civil servant in Glasgow. Mary’s the Name is my first novel, written during the summer of 2015.
2) Could you tell us a bit about Mary’s the Name, for those who haven’t read it yet?
Mary’s the Name is a story about a wee girl named Mary, and her Granpa, Arthur. After he gets mixed up in a robbery at the bookies where he works in Stirling, he decides to take Mary on a summer-long holiday to the Isle of Skye. While she makes friends and explores the small village of Portree, she finds out her Granpa lied about the real reason for leaving Stirling. He’s stolen money from some dangerous people, and they’re coming to get it back…
3) Which writers do you admire?
James Kelman’s novels and short stories have had a big impact on my writing. The late, great Terry Pratchett, I don’t believe there was anyone with a warmer, sharper humour than his.
4) If you had to give one book only as a present, which would it be?
Assuming that the person you’re giving the book to has never read it, it’s got to be the first Harry Potter! Imagine introducing someone to that? They’d owe you for life.
5) Are you writing currently, if so is there something you can tell us about that?
Currently I’m planning out book two. It’s going to be set in my hometown of Stirling again, tentatively about some high school pupils who get mixed up in a crime when they take a sick day.
6) How important is the cover of a book in your opinion?
I’d say fairly important! Obviously, we’re not supposed to judge books by their covers, but I know I do it. A cheesy cover can really put me off. I was so thrilled with the cover of Mary’s the Name that Cranachan put together. Gives the sense of an unexplored place, the relationship between Mary and Granpa, and dark clouds moving in.
7) What made you become a writer?
When I was in primary school, I wrote a lot of long, meandering stories which didn’t go anywhere. During university, I took creative writing modules, and this rekindled my appetite for storytelling. I then did my undergrad dissertation in poetry, before doing an M.Litt in Creative Writing, where Mary’s the Name was written.
8) What was your inspiration for writing Mary’s the Name?
My main inspiration was James Kelman’s Kieron Smith, Boy. I was blown away by his complete commitment to the voice of Kieron. The village of Portree also gave me a lot to work with. A lot of the book’s plot and characters were shaped by my visit there.
9) What are your writing habits and space like?
I like to write at home, feet up, radio on, laptop in my lap. I’ve never tried writing in public before, I don’t think I’d like the constant threat of being disturbed!
10) What is the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your writing?
Because the story is about an eight-year-old girl, I needed to have a sense of what people her age get up to. Part of that is working out at what age parents/guardians let their children go and play outside by themselves these days. So if you checked, I probably Googled ‘when did you let your kids go out themselves’ or something similar. This lead me to lots of parenting forums. Felt a bit odd!
11) Could you tell us something about you that people wouldn’t necessary know?
In 2014, I ran the Edinburgh Marathon to raise money for the MS Society. It was a proud moment!
How can people find out more about you or your books? (links)
You can tweet me @Sayers33, or visit rosssayers.co.uk to keep up to date with my blog.
Amazon link: http://bit.ly/Marysthename
About the Author:
Ross Sayers is a writer of Scottish fiction, Mary's the Name is his first novel.
Ross graduated from the University of Stirling in 2014, with a BA (Hons) in English Studies (first class), and graduated again in 2015 with an M.Litt in Creative Writing (distinction).
His stories and poems have featured in magazines such as Quotidian and Octavius, and his short story, 'Dancin' is currently used on West College Scotland's Higher English course.