New historical novelist’s first title published

From The Scotsman

Roman road to riches – Douglas Jackson interview

How did a historical novel land debut writer Douglas Jackson one of Scotland’s biggest book deals? DAVID ROBINSON finds out.
MOST AUTHORS CAN’T TELL YOU the precise moment they decided to write, but Douglas Jackson can. It was nine o’clock one November night five years ago, and he was driving north on the M9 to his Bridge of Allan home. He’d passed the woodchip factory in Cowie, and it was right there and then.

He was listening to a CD of Simon Schama’s A History of Britain, with Timothy West reading from the first volume, sweeping epically from 30,000BC to the death of Queen Elizabeth I. Just past Cowie, West had got to the Roman conquest of Britain in 43AD. It was one sentence that did it, a sentence with these words: “The emperor Claudius rode in triumph through Camulodunum on the back of an elephant.”

Although he didn’t know it then, Jackson’s life had already changed.

This week, he launches his debut novel, Caligula. It’s part of a two-book deal he signed for what was reported as “a good six-figure deal” – which, for a first-time novelist, is such a rare occurrence that in a country like Scotland it only happens about once a year.

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