Today I’m delighted to feature journalist turned author Gordon MacMillan. Gordon writes emotional, warm and uplifting novels that were added to my reading list as soon as I saw them.
Gordon MacMillan is a former journalist (although he tends to think there are not former journalists, once a hack, then always a hack), who wrote about advertising and media, setting up and editing a website called Brand Republic for a number of years.
He now works in marketing for Twitter UK. He published his first novel, called Songs for Your Mother, after numerous earlier attempts in 2021. His second novel Blind Dates was published in July 2022. He is working on his third.
Over to Gordon:
Which five pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
This changes so often. In my new novel the narrator during lockdown made mixtapes so I spent a lot of time thinking about music. So, my five artists/bands that are a mix of old favourites and new music.
Loved her music since I first heard it, Phoebe Bridgers ethereal haunting voice on songs like Scott Street is amazing.
There are too many songs by The National that I love but England is a favourite track.
Jamie T again too many tracks, from Sheila to Zombie, and Spider’s Web, but I love Emily’s Heart.
New Order’s True Faith or Temptation. Hard choice. Not sure I can choose.
Teenage Fanclub. The whole of the Grand Prix album. Mellow Doubt if I have to pick one song.
What five things (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.
Having given up alcohol a three years ago after dry January got out of hand. It would have to be coffee and chocolate both of which I consume too much of. Followed by books, hardback and paperback, you can never have too many. Finally, good trainers and good boots. I love running and hiking equally. You can never do enough of these getting out into the world and taking some time. I rarely play music when I run, in particular, and find it a good way to work through problems and plot points.
Give five pieces of advice to your younger self?
For this one a list that I think you can boil down to broadly taking more risks.
Don’t be put off when it doesn’t work first time.
Follow through on things.
The safest option is not always the smartest
Read more books
Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you
One of my passions before having children was horse riding, and I love horses and have loved riding in the US, but just as happy hacking through the woods nearer to home.
I am the father of twins, which has been the experience of my life so far, and often the most challenging but fun part of life as well.
Dune is one of my favourite all time novels, although finding the time to read longer novels is challenging.
I based my first novel on a trip along the pacific coast highway. It was based on an actual trip and someone I met; it was just the ending that turned out different. Real life remains the greatest inspiration.
For a large part of the late 90s and early 2000s I wore a lot facial hair. I am not sure I could ever go back. I then went entirely the other way, and shaved my hair off. I am now I think somewhere in the middle. No beard, and hair no longer so scarily short.
Tell us five things you’d still like to do or achieve.
Hike across the Scottish Highlands
Run a marathon
Finish my third novel
Write historic fiction
Write a timeslip novel
Many thanks for joining me today Gordon, it’s been a pleasure. I really enjoyed the music tracks and will certainly be listening to more by Phoebe Bridgers and The National. Hope you didn’t mind that I chose True Faith for you as that’s one of my favourites. Welcome to the chocolate and book club, you are among good company – how could anybody live without either? I certainly wish that when I was younger I’d been told to read more books – I’d have been in heaven. I tell myself that now instead – essentially because I’ve got more books than time left to read them (that’s a fact rather than a morbid pronouncement!) I shall be making sure that yours make the cut. Good luck with number three!
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Is true love just a few dates away…or even closer than you think?
Tom has always been a hopeless romantic: but now he’s just hopeless. After lockdown in particular made the millennial a reclusive introvert, it was finally time to get back ‘out there’ – at least according to his best friends Adam, Allison and sister Sarah.
As the group sets up 10 dates to rejuvenate Tom’s love life, he soon realises how difficult the dating scene has become, along with juggling his Shakespearean-themed cafe and a hobby of romantic mixtape making.
As some of the dates turn into disasters, an old flame keeps reappearing in Tom’s sight – along with bitter-sweet memories. Fearing it may be too little too late, Tom must decide whether he can date his way to happiness, or find his true match was under his nose the whole time…
Songs For Your Mother
I’m greeted by the strangest sight. A small dark-haired boy is standing there. It’s like he’s a human parcel, delivered to my front door.
‘My name is Luke,’ he says.
When Johnny meets Lauren in a bar in Santa Cruz, there’s an instant connection. On an American road trip with best friend Will, Johnny promises to return to the girl who has stolen his heart.
Until tragedy strikes, forcing Johnny to fly back home without ever seeing Lauren again.
Six years later, Johnny is living his life in London, even if he’s never forgotten the girl with the grey eyes and dark hair.
Until one September morning, he opens his door to find a little boy standing there – a child, Johnny quickly comes to learn, who was created that one magical night. Lauren is dying, and her last wish is to reunite five-year-old Luke with the father he doesn’t yet know.
Thrown into unexpected parenthood, Johnny finds himself navigating school-gate politics, Disney movies and tantrums, guided by the notes Lauren has written for him.
Life as an instant dad isn’t always easy, but as Johnny and Luke open their hearts to each other, Johnny is about to discover that life’s joy isn’t always where you expected it.