Hello. I am the writer of the Dumfries Detective trilogy: murder/mystery stories set in and around Dumfries, taking in some of the landmarks and familiar places on the way.
When I first came up with the idea and put pen to paper, or, more accurately, finger to laptop, I imagined the stories as entries in a diary, written up by the main character at the end of the day. That idea didn’t last long, but I did keep with the notion of writing it from his point of view, in the first person. That has led a few people to ask if the hero, Jin Johnstone, is really just me, my alter ego. So, by way of introduction, I would like to point out some of the similarities and differences between us.
Yes, like Jin, I do drink in The Bruce, but, if my wife is reading this, I feel I should add that I do not go nearly as often as him and my intake when there is considerably less than his. (On Asa’s gauge of fuel consumption, I would be a 1.5 at the very most.) Also, I have never sampled Jin’s favourite tipple, the gafo; although, one of these days, I might be quite willing to give it a go.
Talking of my wife, I have one, and grown-up kids, whereas Jin seems to be very happy living on his own and has never felt the need for change – well, not so far. He is self-contained and content within his own wee world; whereas I like to travel, see new places, and spend time on the sport of people-watching.
There are some similarities, of course: we were both born in the fair town of Dumfries, and know the area well. Perhaps I appreciate the surrounding countryside slightly more and never take its beauty for granted: there are places in our region that can still take the breath away. I particularly like the fantastic area up and around Glenkiln reservoir and decided to feature it in all three books.
Also, I might have been a little bit better at school as I managed to pass the occasional exam, ending up in Glasgow to study, staying on for a number of years. Jin is never comfortable when he’s away from Dumfries.
Certainly, we both have a fondness for the greatest team in South-West Scotland, or, as he would say, the greatest team in the world, Queen of the South, and I always look for their results first. Unlike Jin, I was sad to see the demise of Gretna Football Club.
To round up, and not to ramble on too much, I would say we share the same opinion on litter, hold conflicting views on the importance of music, exercise and religion. But, above all, the major difference between us is that he is far, far braver – I could never put myself through all those ordeals.
One last thing – I am taller.