Interview by Carl Marsh - July 2014
you are the editor of ScotlandNow.com which is a fairly new yet extremely successful digital site which is aimed at Scots, wherever they are around the world. It's also aimed at anyone interested in Scotland, or has connections to Scotland.
There are an estimated 50 million people around the world with a Scottish heritage, and we wanted to connect them via Scotland Now, by offering them a daily snapshot of all the great things happening in their homeland. And plaudits to you for encouraging people to keep reading!
As an Editor, you must love to read, so why do you feel that people should also read more?
In this era of 24/7 media and visual, sensory overload, nothing engages people more than a great story whether that’s in a newspaper, online or in an old fashioned book at bedtime. Getting lost in a brilliant story still remains my great escape. I’m also in a book group with a bunch of gorgeous ladies and getting together with them – general with some wine - also keeps me sane.
What is your favourite book and why?
Impossible question, there’s just too many! How about these three for starters: the Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg is a gothic thriller, published in 1824 and set in Edinburgh but the descriptions of the city are just as evocative today. I wish everyone would read Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl which will make you feel uplifted despite the difficult subject, and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read JD Salinger’s the Catcher in the Rye trying to understand its take on making sense of the world.
Are you currently reading anything at the moment, or just finished – was it a good read?
I’ve just finished the first book in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, which is called Cross Stitch in the UK. The TV adaptation has been filmed in the beautiful Scottish Highlands and will hit American screens soon. So many of the Scotland Now readers rave about the series that I thought I’d better find out for myself. Now I’m hooked and on the second book.
I fully understand that your time at the moment is all spent on building the website ScotlandNow.com – so where would you like it to be in the next 12 months?
We’ve already had readers from more than 240 countries and over 1 million people have logged on within the first few weeks. I reckon there’s a Scot, someone with Scottish heritage, or someone who just loves Scotland in every country of the world and I’d like them all to read Scotland Now!
How did you get into your line of work?
I always enjoyed reading and writing and love interviewing different people with incredible stories to tell. I studied journalism and worked on newspapers in Scotland before returning to Africa, where I was born, to freelance. As a journalist you can work anywhere in the world. It’s a great freedom – and the Internet means you can connect with even more people.
If you could be an animal, what would it be and why?
A cat because they are intelligent and independently spirited.
And if ScotlandNow.com was an animal, what would it be and why? I think I might know the answer...
The Lion Rampant… or a Haggis, which is one of the rare furry creatures sometimes seen in the Highlands…
I really enjoyed asking you these questions, and I wish you and the website great success for the future.
Thanks Carl, appreciate your support – keep reading and sharing everything that’s great about Scotland, and Scotland Now!
Occupation: Editor of ScotlandNow.com