A HalfHead guest post featuring Russel D McLean.

The following blog post is all Russel’s own work, as such the management accepts no responsibility for any rambling nonsense of a different flavour to the usual rambling nonsense. Nor does it accept any responsibility for him spelling words like ‘favourite’ the American way. Honestly, just because he’s signing book deals in the States like some sort of short and hairy Charlie Sheen there’s no need to throw standards out of the window, is there?

And interviewing yourself is the first sign of madness, you know. Well, that and lining your underpants with tinfoil, but we won’t go into that now.

So, without further ado, ladies, gentlemen, and small woodland animals, heeeeere’s Russel:

Dear Mr Russel D McLean

The estate of MacBeard accepts your proposal to come and talk on Halfhead for the final day of your online tour to promote the US release of your second novel THE LOST SISTER (and to big up the UK edition while you’re at it). The owner of the blog wishes to meet at [location redacted] to discuss life, work and beard-growing tips. Please arrive at [time redacted] precisely or risk a fate worse than a fate worse than death.

[Lackey’s name redacted]
On behalf of,
MacBeard Inc
(a subsidiary of Beardy Crime Writists International)

Russel looks all mean and moody, and not like a badger at allOkay, so I’m here. In this field in the middle of nowhere, and there’s a plane dusting crops where there ain’t no crops. Hmmm, that’s a bit suspicious. I wish I wasn’t wearing my Cary Grant suit.

Eeeek! It’s coming right at me! Quick, into the corn fields! Hide! Wait for the plane to hit that oncoming oil tanker… And boom! Okay, okay. What is this? Some kind of set up? Better be careful…

Hang on … who’s this coming through the fields? Is it … could it be international jetsetter and beardy writist Stuart MacBeard? No … no wait, it’s a cat.

A cat wiping the remains of a mouse from her jaws.

Lucky I can speak cat, I suppose. Oh, hang on. It’s Grendel. MacBeard’s familiar and mouse-killer extraordinaire. She’s telling me that MacBeard can’t make it himself due to terribly important business* so she is authorized to conduct the proposed interview.

Okay, Grendel, take it away:

GRENDEL THE SCOURGE OF MICE: Welcome to Aberdeen, Russel. How was the trip?

RUSSEL D MCLEAN: Aside from the incident with the plane there, its been uneventful. You know I never usually travel this far North.

GTSM: Yes, you’re from Dundee. Daddy tells me its next a place called Fife that smells of linoleum.

RDM: It is next to Fife. I was born in Fife. I do not smell of linoleum.

GTSM: No, I’m getting a hint of marmalade, jute and … ink?

RDM: That’ll be twelve years in Dundee. Those are the three things its most famous for. That and being the last port of call for Captain Scott’s ship, The Discovery. In fact, Dundee’s known as the City of Discovery. Not just because of that, but because we’re a hub for medical research, too.

GTSM: What are the cats like in Dundee?

RDM: You could quite easily rule them, Grendel. Although there is one cat who lives under my bed**. She might pose a challenge to your authority.

GTSM: She hasn’t seen my moves. So is Dundee a hotbed of crime? Is that why you’re writing about it?

RDM: No more a hotbed than anywhere else. Some bad stuff has happened here, but it happens everywhere. Back when I was trying to work out where to set my novels, I’d discounted Glasgow and Edinburgh as being too obvious. And then Stuart sewed up Aberdeen and I thought, maybe there’s a market for books set in places off the beaten track. I’d been in Dundee for a few years, then, and thought it was worth a shot to set something there.

GTSM: You’re a writist, like Daddy. What possessed you to even think of doing such a thing?

RDM: It’s indoor work with no heavy lifting. And I was foolish enough to do a philosophy degree at university which left me with very few job choices.***

GTSM: You’ve written two books. Do either of them feature cats?

RDM: Sadly, neither of them do. The first one does feature an apparent suicide and scenes of violence involving shotguns. And the second has a heavily bearded psychopath and a missing girl. Oh, and a very large axe.

GTSM: But no cats?

RDM: Sorry, no. I’ll endeavor to fit a cat into the next one.

GTSM: Daddy says you don’t write about the police. I thought all crime novels had to have policemen.

RDM: The police make an appearance. But I write about a private detective. There are two reasons for this. 1) is that I grew up reading American novels, and I loved the ones with private eyes. No one in Scotland seemed to be writing about them so I thought I’d give it a try. And 2) My line of reasoning was that I would have to do less research than I’d have to do writing about the police. That line of reasoning was wrong, and I’m very grateful to a couple of real life eyes who took time out of their busy schedules to talk to me about the business. I do have some policemen in the books, of course. But I wanted to write about places they couldn’t go, professionally speaking, so my character had to be a private investigator.

GTSM: I think a cat would make a good private investigator. We’re good at slipping in places unnoticed… Speaking of slipping in places unnoticed, I see that you’ve been blogging on other people’s sites for two weeks…

RDM: Yes, two weeks of uninterrupted gibberish from a beardy Scotsman…

GTSM: Reminds me of home…

RDM: …and today is my final post. Which feels like I should be celebrating or something.

GTSM: Here, have a tasty mouse corpse. So what have you learned from your tour?

RDM: That even on the internet, scheduling conflicts can cause chaos. That crime readers are jolly nice when someone invades their favorite blogs. And that while you’re physically touring, it’s possible to recycle jokes, but it’s very tough to do so on a blog tour. That top ten lists are impossible to create without some other agenda in their creation (such as books that changed the you looked at writing). Also, I’ve learned that my accent is much easier to understand in print.

GTSM: Which is tastier? Dead mouse or dead bird?

RDM: It’s all down to seasoning.

GTSM: I prefer my corpses au-naturel, frankly. Any final words for the readers of Halfhead?

RDM: Diverticulitis.

GTSM: Thank you very much. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve seen a bird that’s just asking to be batted about with my Claws of Death!

With thanks to Stuart for agreeing to host the final day of my blog tour. And to Grendel for stepping in at the last minute to conduct the interview.

*I assume he’s off saving the world in some fashion. Or having cake. Its probably the cake.
**This is true. A neighbourhood cat has recently taken to waiting for me to come home and then slipping through my door when I open it and hiding under my bed.
***I kid, of course. I kid.


  1. Juvenile rabbit, particularly the head. Far superior to mouse or bird in flavor, plus rabbits can be ranched, saving time and energy.

  2. I think it’s just as well that this is your last tour destination…..

    ..but it’s been interesting…..

  3. Mabel – I shall remember that! Actually a very fine tip. I’m learning all kinds of things by guesting on other blogs.

    McDroll – Yes, I think I’m finally beginning to lose the plot. 14 Blogs. 14 Days. Its actually more tiring than physically touring!

    Stuart – that was my mother’s machine that did that, with the Americanised spelling. Why she has it set to US standards I have no idea.

    Although I am like a short and beardy Charlie Sheen. Except he’s quite sane in comparison. Also he doesn’t have BADGER BLOOD!


    Oh, and thank Grendel for the mice. They really hit the spot.


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