Interview with John Mayer

What and where is Parliament House?
Parliament House is real. It's on the world famous Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland and was completed in 1532 - yes, that's not a typo, I mean 1532. It was purpose built to be the Supreme Court of Scotland and it still is. All human life has been passing through this building for nearly 500 years, so it's a great source of stories. I was a practicing Advocate in Parliament House for 20 years, so I know the place inside and out.
What made you stop practicing law and become a novelist?
Well, we only get one life and I want to do several things with mine. When I got to 60 years old it was time to indulge my passion for writing in general and get started. I've written other books [Nuclear Peace etc] and learned articles. But the Parliament House Books is a real Calling. Also, I can write anywhere. I have a house on a tiny Greek island where I also have a fishing boat; so I write in Edinburgh, Greece, anywhere. I've always loved analyzing ideas and assembling them into court cases. I'm now transferring those skills into fiction. Btw, I did practice a lot before publishing.
So what is the Parliament House Books series all about?
Good question: The Parliament House Books are about injustice. If that seems like the wrong way round for a Supreme Court, then you've never been to Parliament House. The slogan 'Low Life in High Places in the Old Town' really sums up what the Parliament House Books are about. Of course, in reality many of the judges are good people, but not all. There some who are real psychos who instead of locking other people up, ought themselves to be locked up. I have of course, changed the names to protect the guilty.
Do you ever meet your readers or do you just sit and write?
I love meeting my readers. It is such a thrill to meet real people who say such nice things about my writing. I can honestly say that those reviews and comments mean more to me than the money. I'm also inspired by my readers, particularly because they're so widely dispersed around the world. It's necessary to sit and write day after day, but getting out once in a while to meet readers at events is fabulous. Btw, for a previous book, my biggest audience was 30 million; that's right, 30 million listeners on American Public Schools Radio [for Nuclear Peace, not The Parliament House Books] though I hope one day to get close to that for this series.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do remember the first story I ever wrote. I was 12 years old and I wrote a story to a girl at school. I haven't seen her for 40 years but I remember both her and the story. The story was about a hill-climb on a bicycle, where a boy is injured and rescued by a girl from his class whom he hasn't noticed until then. She is his guardian angel and they end up married. It was OK for a 12 year old.
What is your writing process?
Ah! The process. Well, as The Parliament House Books series is about injustice, I begin with a topic where I've seen real injustice which a world-wide audience will recognize. I then take a while to create the characters who will interact with Brogan McLane, the Advocate at the heart of this series. Their plight becomes his job. So that takes care of the plot. I then map out the stages. I use basically the same technique which Will Shakespeare used but I double it for added interest. I then write the beginning and the end. Then I think about the story for a while to make sure it's interesting enough. All of the twists and turns in between I write as I develop the story. That way, hopefully, the story is as fresh to read as it was to write.
How do you approach cover design?
Cover design. That's an easy one. All of my titles have five letters. All of the book covers have the same top and bottom - though of course, different slogans. My name is always on the bottom. So I just need the bits in between. Luckily, there are great pictures of things like the Mitchel Library in Glasgow, Scotland for the cover of The Cycle for instance.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1. Catcher in the rye. 2. Franz Kafka's version of The Trial. 3. The complete poetical works of Robert Burns. 4. Sir Martin Gilbert's biography of Churchill. 5. 1984 by Orwell.
Why? Easy. These books are world-famous for a reason. Each takes the reader to a different world in words, all crafted by experts. What's not to like?
What do you read for pleasure?
For pleasure I read articles in Time, Vanity Fair and anything I can read out of good universities about cosmology. I love cosmology and in another life, I'd be a cosmologist. What is it they say about theoretical physicists? 'They're always wrong but never in doubt.' I love that.
Describe your desk
I made my desk myself. It's wooden, 1.5 meters wide and 90 cm deep. It's supported by a wall on one edge and legs at the front. I have a ledge above for music speakers - which play all day long. My desk is cluttered; mostly with papers. I have this laptop, a lamp and two big pictures of my wife and myself on our 25th wedding anniversary, dressed in the same clothes we got married in. She's in her white wedding gown and I'm in the same suit: However, the pictures don't show the V gap up the back of her dress nor that my trousers won't quite zip up. Above the desk is a great photo of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Lama aged 14, just before he escaped from Tibet to join the Dalai Lama.
Published 2015-05-19.
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Books by This Author

The Cross. The first prequel in the Parliament House Books Series.
Price: Free! Words: 8,220. Language: English. Published: May 17, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Adventure » Men’s adventure
On a night when old Glasgow caught fire, through the gang violence and the terrors gripping the city, two blood brothers went on a special mission. Their world came to an end that night. But what remained grew into a force of nature that would change Scotland and the wider world for the better. That force had a name : Brogan McLane