I have been summoned to do an exclusive interview with Philip Caveney and Danny Weston. Wandering down the back streets and alleyways of Edinburgh in search of the elusive duo, a whispering sound of bagpipes mixed with fireworks can be heard overhead. It's a dark and cloudy night in early November and I'm following a slithering shadow of a Scarecrow in search of our rendezvous. We arrive at a large empty house on a deserted street. I knock and enter through the huge creaking door.
There is one empty large room with ghostly cobweb tendrils sweeping the room. A large table, with three chairs, seat two unsavoury characters glaring at each other. I sit down on the third chair and enter into the following conversation.
Perhaps you’d like to start by telling us a little bit about your new books?
Danny: Well, Scarecrow is about a teenage boy whose father is a whistle-blower. He’s revealed some information about dodgy dealings in the bank where he works and realises he may have gone too far – he’s named some very powerful people. So he takes his son out of school and the two of them run off to a remote part of Scotland, to lie low. But then, the boy becomes involved with a very angry scarecrow…
I hear you also have a new book out as well, Philip?
The Slithers is about a teenage boy living with his father in a remote part of Scotland who finds something amazing beneath the ground – an ancient stone that grants him incredible good luck. But the stone belongs to the terrifying subterranean creatures of the title and of course they want their stone back… so they come looking for it.
It’s interesting, isn’t it, that both of you have written supernatural books based in Scotland?
Philip: Yes, well that’s because I moved to Edinburgh about a year ago and started finding inspiration there – and, of course, Danny decided to follow me…
Danny: No I didn’t! I’d always planned to move to Edinburgh! In fact, I think I thought of it first.
Umm… yes, well… does it ever annoy you that people tend to mix the two of you up?
Danny: Well, they do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…
Philip: What’s that supposed to mean?
Danny: I’m just saying… The Slithers. That’s exactly the kind of book that I’d have written.
Philip: Are you suggesting that I’ve copied you?
Gentlemen, let’s keep this civil, shall we? Danny, you must be very pleased with your recent successes: Your first book, The Piper, won the Scottish Children’s Book Award in 2016, and your recent novel, The Haunting of Jessop Rise has been shortlisted for several prizes. I believe you’ve just been nominated for a Carnegie Medal?
Philip: Can I just say, that prizes really don’t matter that much? It’s the satisfaction of knowing that you've written the best book you can that makes it all worthwhile.
Danny: Well, you would say that, wouldn’t you?
Philip: What’s that supposed to mean? I’ve won prizes!
Danny: Hmm. Not for a while, though… I seem to remember something back in 2012… a school’s prize of some kind?
Philip: Look, you need to get things in perspective! Don’t forget I’m currently celebrating my fortieth year of publication! You’ve only released four books in total. I’ve published nearly fifty!
Danny: Yes, but you know what they say. It’s quality not quantity.
Look, guys, we really don’t need an argument here. Can we just try to…?
Danny: I think it’s pretty clear who’s doing the best out of the two of us. Vincent, which of the two books do you like best?
Oh… er… umm (sounds of me choking on a cobweb....)
Philip: Come on, tell the truth! Which one?
Vincent: Looks underneath the table ...
Well, I think… we need to leave it there. Thanks to both of you for summoning me to this strange place. You can read my reviews of the books on the website. Why don't "you" (the readers of Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books) settle this debate. Grab both of the books above, read them and then leave your comments on this post. Thank you for reading and have a great day!