HAVING helped set up writers’ support group the Highland Literary Salon, Inverness man Kevin Lallah has put what he has learned into practice by publishing his first novel.
Written under the pen-name Max Brossin, Bloody August is a gritty thriller following an ex-soldier on the hunt for revenge who gets caught up in the illegal organ trade.
Originally from Gloucester, Lallah worked for publisher Longman before a career teaching English sent him travelling overseas. After meeting and marrying a Scottish girl, he moved to Inverness 10 years ago and teaches English from his home in the Ballifeary area for a French company.
"Writing is a bit of a hobby and I was one of the founders of the Highland Literary Salon, although I haven’t been involved for about a year now," he said.
"It’s still going and ticking along nicely. It all started with novelist Cynthia Rogerson who used to do a lot of courses at Eden Court. We thought: what happens when the course comes to an end? So we started the Highland Literary Salon."
No longer so actively involved with the Salon, Lallah has turned to Amazon’s on-line publishing programme to get his first novel out to the public and is already working on a sequel which will further explore his hero’s Scottish connections.
Publishing online proved to be quite straightforward, and for Lallah has advantages over the more traditional route.
"Literary agents can’t cope with the manuscripts they get and are only taking two or three new authors a year so as a new author there is less than half a percent chance of seeing publication," he said.
Publishing himself allows Lallah to get his book in front of the reading publish as quickly as possible, but, with a sequel already under way, he also hopes on-line publishing will create a track record that will make future books more attractive to agents and conventional publishers.
"You have to be prepared to accept the hard reality that writing is incredibly difficult," he cautioned.
"Lots of re-drafting, lots of patience. It’s been quite a journey actually. You have to be realistic. It’s quite brutal, but once you realise how hard it is and there are thousands and thousands of people wanting to do the same thing, then you can just take little baby steps.
"Luckily I don’t have to rely on this to put food on the table. It makes it a little less painful."
• Bloody August by Kevin Lallah writing as Max Brossin is available as an ebook via Amazon.