My Life as a writer
When did you first realise you wanted to write for a living?
I didn’t. I fell into it by accident and it took over.
I’d served 18 years with the RAF and having left with no real idea of what I wanted to do, I ended up working as an extra on TV. It was whilst working on Casualty in 1995 that the idea came to me for a book about the issue of football fan culture which I ended up co-writing with my brother.
Fifteen books and three feature films later, I’m somehow still managing to get away with it.
Which writer, past or present, do you most admire?
It’s a cliche I know, but I’m a huge fan of Tolkien who will always be my default holiday read.
We talk about losing ourselves in books and that’s exactly what I do with his work. It’s faultless.
What was your first published (or performed) credit as a writer?
My first book was entitled Everywhere We Go which was published by Headline in 1996. My first movie was Green Street which was released in 2005.
Which piece of writing work are you most proud of?
I have two answers to that. Firstly, my novel, Billy’s Log, is my personal favourite of all the books I’ve written because it’s both funny and personal. It’s certainly the book I recommend to anyone who wants a sample of my work.
In terms of film, I’m currently developing a project called Boots on the Ground which is about an injured serviceman. The feedback the script has been receiving from people within the industry has been amazing but more importantly, it’s about an aspect of military life which we all too often forget about. I know it’s going to do so much good when it comes out and being ex-military, that fills me with pride.
Who or what inspires you to write?
My readers. Pure and simple.
An email, Facebook message or even a Tweet is often all I need to get me off and running.
How do you switch off when you’re not writing?
I generally don’t. I usually have at least one novel and a screenplay going on at the same time and if I’m stuck on one, I’ll simply switch over to the other. It works for me.
The only real break I have is watching my football team but more often than not, I end up talking books or films with the people I go to games with.
Which one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
If you can’t handle criticism, don’t do it.
There will always be people who don’t like what you do and amongst that number will be some who will delight in letting you, and everyone else, know.
Why are you a member of WGGB?
One simple reason. I’m a professional writer and, like all professionals, I need someone out there fighting my corner. That’s what the WGGB do and long may they continue.
Perhaps best-known for penning the multi-award winning feature Green Street, Dougie Brimson’s writing career began in 1996 when, after 18 years service with the RAF, he co-authored the best-selling non-fiction work Everywhere We Go. A book that remains essential reading for anyone with an interest in the culture of football.
A further 14 books followed, including the crime thrillers The Crew and Top Dog, as well as the comedies, Billy’s Log and Wings of a Sparrow.
In 2003 Dougie made the move into screenwriting, first with the critically acclaimed short movie It’s a Casual Life, and then with his first full-length feature, the Hollywood-funded Green Street.
May 2014 saw the release of his second feature film, an adaptation of his own novel, Top Dog, which was soon followed by the urban revenge thriller We Still Kill The Old Way.
Dougie lives in Hertfordshire with his wife Tina.