LeviathanIn this edition of Book Talk, host Ryan Van Winkle talks to author Scott Westerfeld about steampunk and Zeppelins, discusses the myths of modern Scotland with commentator and academic Gerry Hassan, and looks at how crime and science work together in fiction with Lin Anderson and Dr Kathy Charles.

Scott Westerfeld, author of the Uglies trilogy, gives an insight into how he researched and created the steampunk World War One setting of Leviathan. Loved by teenagers and military history buffs alike, the book showcases a world that blends accurate military detail with fantastic creations including airships made of whales.

Scott discusses the benefits of writing for a young adult audience. “Adult readers are very fragile and very easy to alarm and scare off, whereas teenagers are incredibly robust readers who can keep going. If you see a teenager who’d really into a book you could drop a brick on their head and they’ll keep reading!”

Gerry Hassan, commentator and academic in Cultural Policy discusses his latest book, Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland. Inspired by the work of Fintan O’Toole following the crash in Ireland, the book looks at the myths Hassan argues are inherent in Scottish identity. What are these stories we tell ourselves about modern Scotland and where did they come from?

Finally, Ryan chats to crime writer Lin Anderson, creator of fictional forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod, and forensic psychologist Dr Kathy Charles about how crime and science work together in fiction. Lin and Kathy discuss the use of psychology to develop strong characters, how to effectively depict the biological differences of psychopaths in fiction and the challenge of ensuring potential scenarios in the novel are scientifically plausible while keeping a novel entertaining.

Podcast contents
00:00-00:51 Introduction
00:52-12:08 Scott Westerfeld interview
12:09-22:26 Garry Hassan interview
22:27-32:05 Lin Anderson and Dr Kathy Charles interview