Past Perfect?

Is writing a novel set in the recent past easier or harder than writing one set further back in history? How much research do you have to to do? What language can you use – especially if it is no longer appropriate to do so? And how do you deal with potential criticism from an audience that lived through the years in which your novel is set?

These are just some of the questions we put to our guests this week – Alan Parks and Eamon Somers.

Stevyn & Paul (top), Eamon & Alan (bottom)

Alan Parks is the author of the Harry McCoy ‘Tartan Noir’ thrillers Bloody January, February’s Son, Bobby March Will Live Forever and, most recently, The April Dead. Following a successful career in music management (where he commissioned music videos, artwork and photography for acts like New Order, The Streets, All Saints and Enya) he began writing a book about social housing in post-war Glasgow which somehow became a crime novel set in 1973. That became Bloody January, which was shortlisted for the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. He lives and works in Glasgow.

His website is here.

Alan Parks

Eamon Somers grew up in Dublin and became a campaigner in the fledgling gay liberation movement, serving three terms as spokesperson for Ireland’s National Gay Federation. He moved to London in the mid 1980’s to work with Haringey Council’s Lesbian and Gay Unit (including the anti-Clause 28 campaign). His lifelong interest in storytelling began with classes at the People’s College in 1970s Dublin, before going on to study at London’s Goldsmiths and later Birkbeck College. His short stories have been published in many literary magazines and his first novel, Dolly Considine’s Hotel, is published in July 2021.

His website is here.

Eamon Somers


We’d Like A Word is a podcast and radio show hosted by authors Paul Waters and Stevyn Colgan. We talk with writers, readers, editors, agents, celebrities, talkers, poets, publishers, booksellers, audiobook creators about books – fiction and non-fiction.

Our website is –  which is where you’ll find information about Paul and Steve and our guests.  We’re also on Twitter @wedlikeaword and Facebook @wedlikeaword and our email is [email protected] – and yes, we are slightly embarrassed by the missing apostrophes but it’s not our fault.

We like to hear from you – your questions, thoughts, ideas, guest or book suggestions. Perhaps you’d like to come on We’d Like A Word in person, to chat, review, meet writers or read out passages from books. And if you’re still stuck for something to read, may we recommend Paul’s debut novel Blackwatertown or Stevyn’s novels A Murder To Die For, The Diabolical Club and the forthcoming (August 19th 2021) Cockerings.

We go out on various radio and podcast platforms. You can find us on iTunes, Spotify, Listennotes, Podcast Radio, Google Podcasts or anywhere else that hosts good pods. Or go direct to their site on AnchorFM by clicking here.