How Long is a Piece of Rope: Danny Gillan

Danny Gillan’s A Selection of Meats and Cheeses is available for Kindle from Amazon UK for 86p

and .com for $0.99

He is also the author of Scratch (86p)

I’m absolutely thrilled to be hosting Danny today. He’s not only monumental talent but one of the loveliest guys you could meet.



Danny Gillan is a Glaswegian care worker who enjoys pretending to be a writer sometimes. He used to enjoy pretending to be a musician but feels that ‘fake writer’ is a more mature and dignified fake profession now that he’s turned forty.

His first novel, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, won the 2007 Undiscovered Authors competition and was published by Discovered Authors in 2008. It was described at the time as one of the best debuts of the year, and the funniest book about depression you’ll ever read.

His second novel, Scratch, is now available on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords. A recent reader said: I laughed so hard when reading chapter four that I think I let out a little bit of wee. This is Danny’s favourite review ever.

A Selection of Meats and Cheeses collects many of Danny’s short stories in one satisfying package and is available on Kindle and most other ebook platforms now.

Danny has been a Contributing Deputy Editor for writing e-zine Words With JAM since its inception in 2009. He has no idea what this job title means.



You can find Danny at

and e-mail him at

He does ridiculous amounts of work on the fabulous writers’ magazine Words With JAM



Twelve short stories from Danny Gillan. Some sad, some funny; some serious, some silly; some poignant, some pointless.


Meet homicidal Estate Agents, happy mendicants, inept stalkers and rubbish action heroes. From crime to comedy and thriller to thought piece, the thread combining these bites of life is that everyone makes decisions, and good people often make bad ones. It’s how you deal with the consequences that matters.

Good, good, but what about the things that really count?

1. A Selection of Meats and Cheeses  is way better than all the stories I’ve written that aren’t in it, but one day I’d really like to be as good as Christopher Brookmyre. For me he is the perfect thriller writer in that he entertains, educates, thrills (obviously) and enthrals the reader, while also frequently making you snort coffee out of your nose with laughter. Plus he’s Scottish, which always helps.

2. You will just love my book if you enjoyed Quite Ugly One Morning but if you’re a fan of writers who take themselves too seriously (naming no names, Mr Brown) steer well clear.

3. GSR (I watch CSI you know) comes from the barrel of a gun. It’s often said that guns don’t kill people, which is true, it’s the bullets. If you want a serious answer, an extension of that aspect of human nature that makes some people become bullies, power hungry corporate executives or politicians comes from the barrel of a gun.

4. How do you see the role of food in the contemporary thriller and where does A Selection of Meats and Cheeses fit into the spectrum?

I would hope that the title and one look at the cover would answer that one. Food is one of those things that can be a great unifier while also allowing people to assert their uniqueness. So, the sausage rolls in Awake bring the funeral goers together in common grief (and indigestion), while the character of Hugo Parves in Action uses his espresso machine to show that he is not your average terrorist about town (or Paraguay, in his case). This question has just made me realise how many of the stories in Meats and Cheeses are set in or feature pubs, restaurants or social clubs, and how many of the characters drink a bit more than is healthy. Probably says more about me than intended, that.

5. How would it affect the direction A Selection of Meats and Cheeses takes if the action were moved wholesale to the set of Glee in chapter 7?

Given that it’s an anthology I’m going to take this to refer to the 7th story, Stalk and Cheese. This is about a deranged stalker mounting a terrifying campaign of intimidation against a waitress working in a busy Glasgow pub/restaurant and so would work well as an overly cheerful musical skit populated by beautiful people. Actually, an overly cheerful musical skit populated by beautiful people would be a good way to describe Glasgow in general.

6. When you’re writing, would you rather look out at the sea, or in at your thoughts?

I’d rather look at the keyboard and monitor as my typing isn’t always the best.

7. When writing, do you start at the beginning and keep going, or start at the end and work back?

With the stories in Meats and Cheeses, and with short stories in general, they almost always start with a single first line, which I then try to follow in any way I can. Sometimes that results in full stories and, more often, it results in nothing but a collection of sub-par first lines languishing on my hard drive.

With the two novels I’ve written (not sure I can mention them as they’re not thrillers), one, Scratch, started as a short story which I expanded , with the basics of the short now making up chapter one, and the other, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, started with a basic premise/story idea (a musician becomes famous after he commits suicide). I then wrote the first chapter which is the suicide scene, as I wanted to start the book off on a light note. In neither case, as with the stories in Meats and Cheeses, did I know how they would end until at least halfway through the writing process.

8. A great villain or a great hero?

Split the difference, a great anti-hero. I take a childish delight in attempting to subvert the reader’s expectations of my characters, and this can often mean those who seem to be heroes may not be quite as altruistic as they first appear, and vice versa.

9. A Selection of Meats and Cheeses will change the way a reader looks at Poodles and the horrors of pubic baldness forever.

10. How long is a piece of rope?

Just long enough to drag you into hell (or Govan on a Friday night).


~ by danholloway on July 22, 2011.

One Response to “How Long is a Piece of Rope: Danny Gillan”

  1. Hi Dan, this was a real pleasure to do, thanks for giving me the opportunity. I apologise if I didn’t take it quite as seriously as you may have hoped 🙂

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