“I DON’T think my book is nasty enough or miserable enough to be published properly so I thought I’d do it myself.”
Those are the words of Eyemouth’s Bryan Webster who has made his novel ‘On Such A Tide’ available to book readers nationwide by publishing it on Kindle.
It’s only been available for a few weeks but it’s already generated a keen interest and as its title suggests it has a strong connection to the sea with Bryan drawing on his 20 years living in Eyemouth as inspiration for the story.
The plot of ‘On Such a Tide’ focuses on a man by the name of John Swansen who has risen to become the boss of a subsidiary of a major British company.
But his professional ascent has cost him the erosion of the simple virtues he learned from his parents, and separation from his wife and family. As the life he sacrificed so much begins to crash down around him he must look back to his roots and re-evaluate his life.
And Bryan said although the life of a corporate highflyer and the day to day goings on in a small Berwickshire fishing village wouldn’t usually be placed in the same bracket, he found it relatively easy to link the experiences of Swansen to the east coast.
“Having had experience in management myself and falling out with the company I worked with I found it quite easy to write about that kind of world,” he explained.
“I’ve been living in Eyemouth for two decades now so there was a time when my life was split between the world of management and my home life in a small fishing town.
“That is why I used this locale as the lynchpin for ‘On Such A Tide’. I’ve changed the names of Eyemouth and Burnmouth to Hecklescar and Birsett but people will recognise a number of local references in the story including mentions of the kirk at Burnmouth and the Brae Races.
“John Swansen is the MD of a large company in York but his roots are in Birsett. He loses his connection with the place and the values of the people there and when he runs into trouble at work he realises he has pinned everything on this life he has sacrificed everything for.
“He is sacked and to make matters worse his father falls gravely ill with cancer and its on returning home that he realises that the slower paced life in Birsett has a greater quality to it.”
As well as making a foray into the literary world, Bryan has also produced articles and essays for the likes of the ‘Financial Times’ and ‘The Scotsman’, winning several awards for his writing,
But he said he felt that at a time when many best-selling books are either about glamourous lifestyles and being rich and famous or hard crime, he wanted to write one that reflected his affinity for the normal hard working people in life.
“I was born in the 1930s in Jarrow at a time when a lot of people were out of work - I have great respect for the ordinary people who take life as it comes and it’s these values I wanted to champion in the novel.
“I was reading a piece by a Scottish film producer recently which really struck a chord with me. She felt that publishers had lot confidence in ‘goodness’- people going about their lives doing good things without wanting any fuss.
“I’d definitely agree with this and I wanted the characters in the book to be good but without being prissy. I toyed with the idea of trying to get ‘On Such A Tide’ published professionally but I don’t think it’s nasty or miserable enough to be published so I thought I’d do it myself and luckily Kindle allows you to do this.”
Without wanting to blow his own trumpet too much, Bryan said he was confident ‘On Such A Tide’ was “a good read” and he had already written two other novels on two very different themes.
“For a spell in the 1980s I worked for the sewing company Singer and when that was forced to close a lot of people found themselves out of work. So I’ve written a novel connected to how these people managed to cope with life after suddenly not having a job anymore.
“And then the third one is about a society where the government manages everyone by putting a microchip in their heads to make sure they stay happy and healthy.
“Writing novels can be quite time consuming but unlike when you’re writing for a newspaper you can work to your own deadlines. I’d like to think I’ve got a few more in me so who knows.”