Sequel is being penned to novel about growing up in Cumbernauld
An author is writing a much-anticipated follow-up to a book set in Cumbernauld – after it became a cult hit in the town.
Mike Kernan told how he had no plans for a sequel to debut novel The Fenian which was inspired by the friends – and foes – he grew up with in Kildrum in the 1970s.
The 64-year-old grandad said: “I wrote it very much as a one-off because I already had definite plans for a string of very different novels.
“But The Fenian has been so positively received – especially in Cumbernauld – that I’ve had second thoughts.
“Now I’m completely immersed in the follow-up and glad I decided to do it.”
Set in a fictional version of the town named Cumbride, The Fenian tells of a bunch of teenagers who hang about together in a swing park shelter.
They include a pair of school sweethearts who are torn apart by religious divide then come back into each other’s lives 25 years later.
The sequel, titled Stopping To Rain, will catch up on some of the original characters but also introduce new ones.
Like The Fenian, it will feature thinly disguised versions of well-known locations, including the districts of “Cardrum” and “Ravenshill”.
Other familiar places like the pipey and Red Fox Valley pop up, the Golden Eagle hotel is recast as The Osprey while Cumbernauld Field becomes, simply, The Fields.
Mike said: “The Fenian seemed to catch the imagination in Cumbernauld and more than one person told me I had written the story of their lives – for an author that is deeply gratifying and it also shows a real love for the place.
“One question that I get asked a lot is why I didn’t stick to the original place names and I explain that as it’s a work of fiction, I need to keep the freedom to alter or exaggerate reality to fit the plot – not the other way round.”
The follow-up book which is half-finished will have more of the same but with some crucial differences.
Mike, a former journalist who now lives in Largs said: “Yes, the Shelter Gang is back and they’re still in Cumbride in the 1970s but the names and faces have changed.
“I pretty much wrapped up the lives of the characters at the end of The Fenian so the sequel tells the stories of their younger brothers and sisters along with their pals.”