We are a small independant publisher based in Glasgow, Scotland.
Our mission is to introduce new, talented writers to the publishing world. We embrace the new technology but still wholeheartedly support traditional publishing.
We publish crime and contemporary fiction, & narrative nonfiction in paperback, eBook, mobile phone and other digital platforms.
Gallowgate Press is proud to announce our latest title for 2020/21:
KEY WEST Rogue Diaries by Will Soto
In eBook on Amazon and also in paperback.
Introducing a non-fiction memoir by new author Will Soto:
PARADISE is where your realities are more
exciting than your fantasies.
The Key West fire that burns in my soul didn’t start as a conflagration.
It started as a nice warm sun on my face—and it started at Mallory Square. Imagine stumbling upon a beach party on a small tropical island, with barely clad natives, their bodies glistening with sweat, dancing to primal drum beats, smoking ritual herbs, and drinking rum from coconuts as the sun sank slowly into the ocean. It sounds like a steamy novel, but I swear it’s all true.
KEY WEST Celebrities & A Splash of Scandal by Jon Breakfield
In eBook and in paperback on Amazon
Download for free for Amazon Prime Customers
Ever wonder what Key West is like behind the guidebook pages?
Behind closed doors?
Ever been curious about what naughtiness all those celebrities get up to when they’re down here on the rock?
Get ready for some eye-popping facts and just a pinch of dirt and scandal.
From Hemingway to Tennessee Williams to Fidel Castro to Al Capone to Rudolf Nureyev to Madonna to Hunter S. Thompson to, yes, even the Queen of England (and that rascal of a husband of hers), over 120 celebrities, the famous and the infamous, past and present.
Included are many of our cool local celebrities who have helped to shape Key West into what it is today.
As they should be.
A Chat with Our Authors
Gillian Grant interviews: Will Soto about his debut non-fiction book KEY WEST Rogue Diaries
Gillian: Will, I would like to preface this chat by stating how much I enjoyed reading Rogue Diaries. I laughed and in equal proportions was amazed and moved.
This is your first book – all about your incredible life experiences.
How difficult was it to write – as in the actual writing process – and how difficult was it to write about yourself?
Will: This book was in my head for many years, as happens with countless other writers. The impetus to write it was plain and simple. A good MENTOR. I met Jon Breakfield when he and his wife Gabrielle were vacationing in the Florida Keys, where I live. I was inspired by reading several of Jon’s writings, but even more motivated by his advice and encouragement. Instead of being daunted by the process, Jon counseled me to just…”Let it flow.” don’t try to make it perfect the first time. “writing is re-writing” he would remind me. While some chapters would take 8–9 edits, other might be discarded and restarted altogether. But, when my thoughts were rolling, most of these true stories just came back to life for me. It’s also true that all life experiences are not always joyful, so I tried to be as honest as I could in mixing the light with the dark, the joyful lessons and the dark warnings. At first it was a little unnerving trying to decide what I wanted public and what I should keep private. It was cathartic to say the least. I expect that will always be a challenge moving forward.
Gillian: Your readers would love to know – what is your writing routine?
Are you a morning writer or better in the late hours?
Will: Any time’s a good time to write when you’re feeling inspired, but I found my best sessions were late at night into the morning hours. It’s simply the quietest.
Gillian: Of your life experiences that you mention in KEY WEST Rogue Diaries – which one would you say you are most proud of?
Will: The last chapter (#19- Kahm Sahm Nee-da) was the hardest to write because it was like pulling the scab off a wound. I had never talked publicly about my private travails. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to, but I did know that I wanted to be honest with my readers and that my life wasn’t all roses. And, after all, it thankfully had a happy Key West ending.
Gillian: The Florida Keys has been your home for many years, what makes it so special for you and your family?
Will: The special uniqueness of the Keys was the focus of my book. It’s not so much the tropical climate or the remoteness of Key West that makes it so magical. There is a palpable aura of exotica here, as reflected in the local motto of “Close to perfect…far from normal.”
Gillian: Where is your most favorite place to relax when you have time for a break?
Will: Without question, it’s the Florida Everglades. It would (and may) take a whole book to begin to describe what some call "America’s Amazon." It’s the most peaceful place I’ve ever experienced. It’s where I feel a Creator.
Gillian: If you hadn’t been a performer what other career would you have pursued?
Will: I was making my living as a sculptor before I began performing at age 30. I enjoyed working with natural materials, i.e. Ivory, bone, hard woods, soft stones, feathers, leathers, etc. I spent one month each year camping/hiking in the Wyoming/Montana mountains to gather my materials. I didn’t begin writing until I was 70 years old.
Gillian: Advice to aspiring writers who have a story but are wary of the publishing process.
Will: That’s a tough one for one me. I, too, was intimidated by the publishing process. I’m kind of an old school, analog dinosaur when it comes to technology (and I think my MAC plays tricks on me). Luckily for me, I was aided by a professional, that knew what she was doing and guided me by the mouse. So, if there is a message in this, it would be to ask, ask, ask everyone you know who might be familiar with the process. If you are computer literate (unlike me), there is a lot of available aide on line.
Gillian: What book(s) have you read recently?
Will: "SQUEEZE ME", Carl Hiaasen (love him).
Gillian: We had the privilege of meeting your pets in the book – how are they all doing…especially Henny Penny?
Will: Thanks for asking. All our fur babies are healthy and happy. My wife, Amy, just teamed up with the local shelter to find a home for a beautiful Tuxedo Kitten that lived at the shelter for 3 years and…you guessed it, she now lives with us. (3 dogs, 2 cats to date).
Gillian: Of course, I have to ask – are you working on another book?
Will: A resounding YES. and I’d like to end this interview with a shout out to my two inspirations and guides throughout the entire writing and publishing process, Jon and Gabrielle Breakfield. It’s my pledge to them to “Pass it on.”
* * *
Gillian Grant interviews: Jon Breakfield about his latest book Key West: See It Before It Sinks
Gillian: I can't believe it's 3 years since we last chatted. And this is the fourth in the Key West series?
Gillian: How does this differ from your first 3 Key West books?
Jon: This book is still about our life in Key West with all the zany characters and the mishaps of our daily existence on the island, but I have a much stronger message in both book 3 and this latest one. As are many parts of the world, Key West is struggling with pollution and the damage to our environment so I try to enlighten myself as well as the reader about the damage from plastics to cruise ships to spring breakers.
Gillian: So we are educated and entertained at the same time.
Jon: That is very much my goal. But also so many people over the years have contacted me saying how they wished they could give up their jobs in the big cities and move to a place like Key West that still does offer a slower pace of life. The Key West series is proof that it can be done and I try to give folk the courage to take the leap.
Gillian: So what are you reading now?
Jon: I continually find myself quite ignorant about the world at large so I'm reading a fascinating non-fiction called "Prisoners of Geography" by Tim Marshall
Gillian: What's next on your horizon?
Jon: Aha! - a departure from the Key West series: A non-fiction book about the celebrities, from authors to movie starts to gangsters, who all stepped foot on the island.
Gillian: I think it's my shout this time for a pint and a pie.
Jon: I thought you'd never ask.
* * *
Chat with our Authors
Gillian Grant interviews: Jon Breakfield about his latest non-fiction book Pan Am
Gilllian: Jon Breakfield your last book was DEATH by KEY WEST - a crime thriller; why this switch back to Non Fiction with your new book PAN AM: No Sex Please, We're Flight Attendants?
Jon: I flew with Pan Am for many years and it was a very special time of my life. All of us who flew with Pan Am still conjure up glorious memories, and I wanted to share some of my memories with those who still lust for more. I also wanted to honour a few of my colleagues.
Gillian: What was the best part of working for the airlines?
Jon: How much time do you have? The camaraderie, the practical jokes, the far-off destinations, the layovers, the prestige of flying with an iconic airline, the uniforms, the pay. I could go on…so I will: the life-long friends that we made, the opportunity to see cities and countries, many of which I didn't even know existed, I could go on…
Gillian: You delve into the history of the airline. What is it about the history of Pan Am that really fascinated you?
Jon: Simply said, Pan Am MADE history. Plus I love dissecting and discovering facts that were long forgotten.
Gillian: "No Sex Please, We're Flight Attendants". Why the sub-title?
Jon: Well, you will have to read the book to discover that one…but suffice to say it is suitable reading for your mother or grandmother.
Gllian: What was it like being a male flight attendant back then?
Jon: Obviously working around zillions of members of the opposite sex can be extremely appealing, but once we were in the thick of things, I didn't really think in terms of gender. I was more impressed with colleagues' language skills or people skills or their ability to work under stress. Honest!
Gillian: Would you become a flight attendant today?
Jon: Probably not, unless we could magically resuscitate Pan Am and offer the long layovers, the onboard perks, the gifted pilots, and excise all the hubris regarding cutting corners and saving money.
Gillian: What's next on your horizon?
Jon: As my book on Pan Am takes flight and flies off into the sunset, I will start working on KEY WEST, Part III, where Gabrielle and I are back in quirky, bacchanal Key West, endeavouring to live on an extremely expensive, backwater island loaded with wackos…and make it all work.
Gillian: I think I can speak for your readers, not just myself, when I say we are already looking forward to your next book.
Gillian Grant interviews: Kate Vann about her debut novel Twenty-One, Again!
Gillian: How much of 'Kate' is Kate Vann?
Kate: Writers tend to write what they know, so there is a quite lot of Kate that is me. Kate has had all her confidence knocked out of her by her over-bearing husband who clearly thinks he's better than she. I definitely had that experience with my first husband. He was the kind of guy who would refuse to play trivial pursuits with me because he said 'I wasn't intelligent enough and he would be bored'. So it was easy to write about Kate's loss of confidence and self-worth. I also understood Kate losing her way in life. You do reach an age when you become invisible to people. Your voice doesn't count. Your body is changing and not for the better! You just become part of the furniture. Life is rushing by and you feel you haven't achieved anything and all of a sudden no one wants you anymore. I know that feeling so I could pour all of that into Kate.
On the other hand, Kate is gentle, sweet-natured and incredibly long-suffering. I am none of those things! In my head she also looks like Diana Lane and I definitely don't!
Gillian: Why did you choose London for your setting?
Kate: I lived in London in my 20s and I have always loved it. I live in rural Wales now, but I'm a city girl at heart. I love the noise, the smells -- everything. I sleep like a baby when I can hear taxis and buses going past. A few years ago, I took my youngest son down to London for a couple of days and we did the open-top, double-decker bus tour.
Our guide was passionate about his subject and clearly loved talking about London. That inspired the setting for the story as Kate is a tour guide. I'll always have a connection with London and my middle son now lives there.
Gillian: You have appealing male characters, is it difficult to write from a male's point of view?
Kate: No. I love it. I'm not sure I do it that well, but I do enjoy writing from a male point of view. In fact, I think I prefer it. My husband, Ron, tells me I have a 'man's brain' whatever that means! Anyway, I'm taking it as a compliment. I once wrote a short story for The Weekly News in which my main character was based on Gil Chesterton the food critic in the TV series Frasier? He was a pompous, posh Englishman who was terribly camp. I really enjoyed being him and the editor paid me the nicest compliment saying it was one of the best stories she'd read in a long time. It kind of shocked me that I could write so well as a middle-aged, posh gay man!
Gillian: Are you a slave to fashion like some of your characters?
Kate: Hahaha. No, not anymore. When I was younger, I was really into fashion, but I've lived in the countryside for too long now. My life is jeans and tops. Given the chance I'd live in my PJs! Oh, I sound such a slob. However, Jon will tell you I do love shoes. I've been known to buy shoes and never wear them, just look at them - - adoringly.
If I were a young girl I'd be into Japanese fashion. I love Japanese street fashion. Kawaii, Sweet Lolita, etc. Obviously, that's out of the question at my age so I have transferred my love of it to one of my characters, Shobna.
Gillian: Are we going to see Kate in a future book?
Kate: I gave Kate the happiest ending. I gave her everything she wanted. Her story has been told, but yes, I would love her back. I would also like her friends back, too. I think now, together, they could have a very different adventure.
Gillian: Do you have something else up your sleeve?
Kate: Yes, I do. Lurking in the dusty recesses of my computer is another novel. A very different story. It's quite dark but it's a story I want to tell.
Gillian: As a working mother, when do you have time to write?
Kate: I don't. Every day I make a list and on the bottom it says 'write'. Usually, by the time I've reached the end of that list, I'm too exhausted to do it.
My boys are all grown up now, but I still have one at home. Most people my age are retired and living a leisurely life, I'm still working at about 3 different jobs. I mostly write in my head. I write almost constantly in my head. Sometimes I leave the house to walk to town and can't recollect one second of the journey because I've been busily writing in my head the whole way. I can't even remember crossing the road. Then when I get a moment I get it in the computer.
Gillian: What do you do when you first wake up in the morning?
Kate: The first thing I do is thank God for the fact I've woken up to a new day. Then I take the dog in the garden and get to the coffee pot as fast as possible. I'm not human until I've had that cup of coffee!!! After that I check my phone.
Gillian: Computer, laptop, back of napkins?
Kate: Computer and back of napkins, receipts, bills, anything...
I love my computer. It doesn't always love me and lets me down, but I wouldn't be able to write if I had to do it long hand or on an old typewriter. I know some writers prefer that, but I'm constantly changing things when I write so the computer is best for me. But as I go about my day I'm often scribbling down notes on anything that comes to hand.
Gillian: What authors do you read?
Kate: My heroes are: Jon Breakfield, Elmore Leonard and Wilkie Collins.
Gillian: What is your favourite genre?
Kate: I don't really have one..,I enjoy reading all different things. But I do quite like detective and suspense novels. I like Wilkie Collins because his novels are full of suspense but at the same time are concerned with the plight of women and social & domestic issues of his day.
Gillian: Do you find the writing process painful? If so, what tricks do you use to get it going?
Kate: To write it down physically, yes, I do find that painful because I'm never, ever happy with how it's coming out and time is always an issue. To write in my head comes easy. I would love to just dictate it to a secretary! I'm sure it would be easier. However, when sitting at my computer I find a large G&T often helps! My son also makes me endless playlists so I listen to music a lot. My story about Kate has a definite sound track.
When I was writing, I imagined the soundtrack to the movie of the book. (A girl can dream!)
Usually, I just get into writing when it's time to cook dinner or my husband has lost his keys or the dog needs walking or something else I have to leave the computer for! It's very frustrating!
Gillian: What got you writing in the first place?
Kate: I started writing at about 10 years of age. It was a way of escaping. I didn't have a particularly happy childhood and so I escaped by writing stories in my head. I invented characters and on the long walk home from school there would be another episode of their story playing in my head. Later, I started writing it down. Over the years it became apparent to me that writing was very cathartic. Whatever I came up against in life, if I wrote it all down I felt able to deal with it. A few years ago, I picked up a writing magazine in the newsagent and there was a competition for a short story. I entered it without telling anyone and much to my surprise, I won. I thought maybe there was a chance I might be able to do this. So I sent off short stories to different magazines and a few got accepted. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and persuaded a local newspaper to let me do restaurant reviews. So I did a few of those. I was hugely interested in script writing and that's when I stumbled across Jon and his course. I cashed in my premium bonds to help pay for it. But I wouldn't tell him I cleaned for a living because I felt ashamed about it and because when people hear you 'clean' they assume you do it because you have the IQ of a dented kettle. When I finally told him he said he'd cleaned for a living once and why would he think any less of me? I have an online store now, but I still clean.
Gillian: What's next in your life?
Kate: I want to just keep writing. I've been so privileged to be coached by Jon Breakfield and I've had so much support from him. I want to make them proud of me, I guess. So to carry on writing and come out with another book would be great.
Gillian: If you could have one wish, what would it be?
Kate: This is a hard one. Obviously, I should say world peace! But really what I would wish for is for my family to be happy and healthy.
* * *
Gillian Grant interviews: Jon Breakfield about his new thriller Death by Glasgow
Gillian: Thank you for inviting me to the Horseshoe Pub in the heart of Glasgow. What made you turn to a life of crime?
Jon: No matter what the genre, as a writer I've always had one foot in the gutter...and along the way I've hung out in many a salubrious locale, so it was no giant leap from the gutter to crime writing. Scotland is a major player in the Crime Fiction game and, by living in Glasgow, I stuck to what I know and it all came together.
Gillian: The main duo in DEATH by GLASGOW, Sharkey & Lyon-Jones...are we liable to bump into the real two on Buchanan Street?
Jon: (laughing) You could well. Sharkey is a mix of a former Detective with Strathclyde Police in Glasgow and my brother who was a US Marine. That, plus a pinch and dash of the people I meet...even on Buchanan Street. I love to sit in cafes when I'm writing. I feed off the energy around me as well as draw inspiration from the myriad of personalities that come and go; so watch out next time you are sitting sipping on your favourite beverage.
Gillian: Your heroine Lyon-Jones is a major player in your thriller. Was it difficult writing from a female's view point, especially one who is a follower of fashion.
Jon: No, I've always felt that you have to become that character; you have to get in their head whether it be a male, female or serial killer. Women will often react differently especially under stress. In a previous life, I studied acting and you learn to grow into the skin of your character. That plus a lot of research and a few poignant questions to my wife about the latest designer shoes helped to fill in the details.
Gillian: Who were your major literary influences?
Jon: I am a huge fan of James Herriot for his story telling and humour. I admire and read anything written by Bill Bryson, the man is a genius. When it comes to the world of the crime thriller, Ian Rankin is a master with the written word. I also love Alison Bruce for her ability to weave story lines and Lee Weeks who isn't afraid to scare us.
Gillian: What's next on your horizon?
Jon: I'm well on the way to writing the sequel to DEATH by GLASGOW. The foundation has been poured and the walls are up. I can't give too much away now but our dynamic duo Sharkey and Lyon-Jones will be there.
May I ask you a question, Gillian?
Jon: Since we are at the Horse Shoe, how 'bout a pint and a pie?
* * *