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  • Writer's pictureJohn Watson

True Tales in Swimming Upstream

In every story that I have ever written, there are details from my personal life that make it onto the page. With Swimming Upstream, there are countless nuggets in there that are pulled from my life. I thought it might be fun to share a few.

The story idea came, as so many do, from a dream I had. In this particular nightmare, my son kept cornering me to tell me that he was dying. I woke up in tears and also with a story idea that didn't really fit what I usually write, but I had to exorcise it from my head.

In the story, the kid calls his grandfather Grankie because he overheard his grandmother calling the old fell a cranky old bastard. He pronounced cranky as Grankie and it stuck. That is 100% as it happened with my kids.

The father in the story tells his son about how he used to be scared to ride on the train and that his dad would say that the train was talking, saying "I'll get you there," over and over. This is something that my dad did with one of my sisters when she was little.

Graham stepping into Glasgow Central train station and being in awe of the place is how I felt when I first saw it. It was much the same story with the soccer stadium visit in the book. I used a different stadium, but the first time I went to a professional game with my dad, I couldn't believe how big the stadium looked, even though it was much smaller on comparison to the bigger fields.

The characters of Gary and Geraldine are a little nod to my friends in Scotland. They have both been huge supporters of my writing, so I thought it would be nice to name a couple of characters after them.

The soccer game in the book is a combination of two different things that happened in my life. One in particular was possibly the funniest thing I have ever personally seen, but given that it comes later in the story, I can't go into too much detail. Just know that it's real.

There are countless other little nuggets in there, many of which my sisters contacted me to tell me that they noticed. It was so personal, in fact, that there were many parts where I cried while writing. That pretty much brought it full circle back to the tears shed after the dream that inspired it all, so maybe I did something right with this one.

You can get your copy of Swimming Upstream by CLICKING HERE.


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