I went to visit my mum over Easter and she gave me a bit of a telling off! Let me put this into perspective; my mum is 80 and I’m 50. You’d think by my age I was past an ear bending. It went something like this…’oh, the swearing in that last book you wrote is terrible. There’s so much of it and sometimes it’s so rude!’
The funny thing is I actually thought there was less swearing in this book compared to the others but maybe I’m wrong. I should really do a word count for the ‘f’ word in each book but I cannot be bothered.
So why do I do it?
Before I answer that question let me tell you about the book I’m writing at the moment. Mozart 42 has no swear words, not a single one. There are a few ‘hell’ and the odd ‘bloody’ but nothing else. Nigel tried to slip in a ‘shit’ but I said ‘No Nigel, let’s keep it clean!’ Part of the story requires a small Austrian village and I did consider the village of ‘Fucking’ (Yes, it actually exists) but changed the location to Rottenegg, just north of Salzburg. I also thought about using the name of a Croatian author called Arsen Diklić but Nigel objected because I had removed all his swearing.
By the way, it had me laughing for ages but my wife didn’t even crack a smile – she said I was immature. Yep. So, to sum it up; Mozart 42 has no swearing.
So answer the bloody question. Why all the swearing?
My parents never swore, not that I remember anyway. I’m a teacher so I never swear in school. Actually, maybe a bit but only to other staff and never in front of the kids. However, when I was in my late teens I use to hang around with my mates and go down the pub on the weekend. The air would be blue. In fact, there were times when every other word was probably a swear word. Actually, we probably had conversations where we only used swear words.
Let’s translate this to my books…
In my books there are a bunch of males, having adventures, getting drunk, being laddish and enjoying ‘the craic’ whilst being chased around the galaxy. Of course there’s going to be swearing. Roy’s mum and his wife, Claire, do their best to tone the stupid laddish behaviour down but they aren’t always there to keep the boys under control. It’s probably a stupid male thing where we consider swearing to be macho but I don’t really know and I’m not going to get philosophical about it because sometimes – fuck it.
Mum, sorry, I know it’s supposed to be science fiction but it’s actually based on my life’s experience and that’s how I behaved when I was with my mates during my teens and I haven’t changed much. I don’t have to swear, and Mozart 42 will be the book that proves it, but when I’m not in school and not playing with my kids – I swear. And when I’m with my mates and alcohol is involved then I swear a lot.
Maybe I’m just childish?