John Gibson: Be Kerr-ful with your next book!

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Haddington-based author Peter Kerr, whose first historical novel, Song of the Eight Winds, is doing well enough to convince him that his future as a scribe could lie in the dim and distant past.

Admits the consistently upbeat Kerr: “This is my 12th book in as many years. Fortunately I could rely on my memory to provide material for my first 11. But I had to research for this one.”

Like Snowball Oranges, his riotous account of attempting to grow oranges for a living that propelled him into the best-seller lists, Pete’s latest book is set in Mallorca – only the action goes back a long way, to the 13th century.

He can track back a fair bui himself. I first met him in ’59 when he was a whippersnapper jazz clarinettist setting out for several gigs in Germany with his Dixielanders, a seven-piece band that boasted Edinburgh jazz icons pianist Alex Shaw and trombonist John McGuff.

Pete subsequently joined the Clyde Valley Stompers and under his leadership the Glasgow band had a huge hit in ’62 with Peter and the Wolf, produced by George Martin of Beatles fame.

When our paths next crossed Pete, a producer in his own right, marched the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards to a world-wide smash with Amazing Grace, pictured above, biggest selling instrumental single ever, he claims.

Twist his arm and he’ll confess to writing and producing Fan-Dabi-Dozi for the Krankies but when you’ve grown oranges in Mallorca and farmed beef and barley in East Lothian, you have to be game for anything.

Look out for further exploits in the publishing world. He’s saying with a twinkle: “My future, I hope, lies in the past. I’ve discovered that’s where the best stories are.”