Alex McCall begins by noting that he’s not affiliated with Alexander McCall Smith despite the name-share, though he has sold at least two books to people who thought he was. So that’s fine. He begins his reading relay session with the first chapter of his book Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens.
As readings go, it hooks you in immediately by interspersing a long and joke throughout about a chicken and a library, and while the plot unfurls you’re itching to know the punchline. It is indeed a fine work of pun.
He moves onto why being a writer sucks. It’s simple really:
1. It will take you ages to make money. He’s been lucky enough to have a student loan to help him these last few years (though that’s about to end, and things are feeling slightly more scary on that front).
2. Your parents will ask you repeatedly why you don’t have a real job. You don’t care what your sister is doing, or the money that she’s making. Writing is a real job, honestly.
3. People on the street will think they can write better than you. There’s a joy in writing your first novel even if it’s really bad, so people will tell you about it incessantly the moment you mention you’re published.
His first book wasn’t great, and he openly admits it. His character had a Van Helsing look and spent the majority of the book thinking “It’s my duty to kill you, but I love you!” The point? He still loved writing it, and that’s what matters.
Writing is so much fun and he loves it. It’s great to get in the zone and have the words flowing, it’s such a rush. Writing is really rewarding. You hope people read it; you remember the connection you have had to so many books and hope to be able to do that just one with your own work. So, being a writer doesn’t suck at all.