Latest updates

How Come Ma Scottish Novel Isnae Written in Scots

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Hiya mashheids,

As ye’ll maist likely hae picked up by noo, The Mash Hoose is a gey Scottish book. It’s aw set in the Scottish Heilands, it’s aw aboot Scottish fowk n the hings they get up tae, n Ah’m a Scottish lad masel. Hooever, it isnae scrieved in Scots. N so Ah wantit tae post youse a wee update explainin ma thinkin aboot it.

Ah’m fae Fife, n ower there it’s aw “ah ken this” n “d’ye ken…

A Story about the Edits

Thursday, 23 July 2020


Hey mashheads,

How's it going? I hope you're all doing well. I wanted to give you a quick update on the book's progress.

I've been working on the developmental edits with a really good guy called Russel D. McLean. He's a fellow Fifer and I've benefited from lots of support through working with him. The first draft that I sent Russel was really shabby, and he guided me through heaps of issues…

Welcome to Cullrothes

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

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Hey mashheads,

I hope you're all doing well. I've been busy doing remote teaching by day and editing the manuscript for the book at night. I've been working with a terrific editor and the story is getting stronger and clearer.

I’ve always been a sucker for a book with a map, and I’m absolutely in love with this one. Drawn by Laura Barbour @dreamingisfree for my debut novel THE MASH HOUSE. Isn…

95% - Almost There!

Thursday, 28 November 2019


Hello mashheads,

I know it's been a long time since I've updated you on the progress of our book. November is a busy month in my day job as a teacher, and I've been involved in lots of extracurricular events as well. Theatre trips, creative writing seminars, journalism workshops.

But I'm delighted to report that the funding has now reached 95% - so close to completion!

I'd love to get this…

How to Upgrade Your Support

Monday, 28 October 2019


Hello mashguys and mashgals,

The weather is turning cold here in Scotland, and with 66% the crowdfunding campaign for our book THE MASH HOUSE is officially into its final third. You might think the hard part is over.

In this update, I'm going to be making some fairly outrageous suggestions that you might struggle to tolerate. Crowdfunding has compelled me to post more often on social media,…

Upcoming Short Story Publication

Tuesday, 22 October 2019


Hello mashheads,

There's a good literary organisation called the Federation of Writers Scotland, a well-established group who champion writing and have a small publishing imprint called New Voices Press. They produce an annual anthology of their members' writing, and this year have accepted a short story of mine.

It's an old story, written maybe six or seven years ago, called The Permanent Arrangement…

Meet the Author: Jason Cobley

Monday, 14 October 2019

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Hello mashheads,

I hope you're all doing well. I've got a week off school and I'll be spending a lot of this time working on the manuscript for THE MASH HOUSE. The crowdfunding picked up brilliant momentum through September, but October has been a little quiet. And just as we're so close to the two-thirds mark. Please, if you can, pass on details of the project to anyone who might be interested…

Ness Book Fest Launch Event

Monday, 7 October 2019

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Hello mashheads,

Last week we hit a new milestone in the journey of this book, when I performed the opening chapter of THE MASH HOUSE at the Ness Book Fest. It was great to see some supporters and old pals in the crowd. A long drive up and down from Glasgow to Inverness but it was worth it. 

The Ness Book Fest runs an innovative scheme to get new writers, like me, to share a stage with more…

In The Footsteps of Robert Burns

Monday, 23 September 2019

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Hello mashheads,

Last month I was talking to my Uncle Allan, a proud son of Ayrshire, about the crowdfunding nature of Unbound books. It can be a tricky thing to explain. The book is not a physical reality, yet we've already sold well over 200 copies to subscribers. We're asking for individual pledges which will combine to fund the whole project. And this reminded Uncle Allan of Robert Burns' early…

Meet the Author: Emma Grae

Thursday, 19 September 2019

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Hey mashheads,

One of the cool things about working with Unbound has been getting to know some of the other writers with live projects. One of the first I noticed was Emma Grae. Another Scottish writer with a novel called 'be guid tae yer mammy' which is set in Glasgow. 

I interviewed Emma about her writing, her favourite books and her idea of a good party.

Tell us what little Emma…

An Interview about The Mash House

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

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Hey mashheads,

There's another Scottish writer currently crowdfunding with Unbound, called Emma Grae. She's been a good support for me throughout this journey. This week, she has kindly interviewed me about my upcoming novel, and other things. You can read the exchange here:

Meet the Author: Alan Gillespie

I'll be interviewing Emma later this week as well, so keep your spuds peeled for…

Ness Book Fest '19

Wednesday, 11 September 2019


Hey mashheads,

I got a bit of welcome news this week. I'm going to be reading an extract from our novel at the Ness Book Fest. This is a pretty awesome book festival held in Inverness, Scotland. Which suits the Highland setting and atmosphere of THE MASH HOUSE perfectly.

I'm no stranger to a book festival reading. Back in the foggy past, I was part of the Margins Festival, a short-lived but…

50% Funding Reached!

Friday, 6 September 2019


Dear mashheads,

Today is a bit of a landmark day in the journey of THE MASH HOUSE - thanks to 188 generous souls, I have reached the halfway stage of funding. 

I've been so grateful for pre-orders from old pals in Fife, my wonderful family, colleagues old and new, and the pupils and parents from Fernhill School, where I teach English. I've also had support from friends of friends, twitter acquaintances…

The Mash House in the Media

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

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Hello mashheads!

It has been a busy summer. Working on the manuscript and fundraising and a bit of DIY. Part of my strategy has been to get a little coverage in the media.

First I contacted the Glenrothes Gazette. This was the local newspaper where I grew up and I thought they'd like to carry a story about the book. I carried out a nice wee interview and was able to talk about how my schools…

What Makes a Good Book Cover?

Monday, 29 July 2019


Happy Monday, everyone!

I've had lots of new supporters for THE MASH HOUSE recently, taking the campaign to 36% funded. The novel is officially in its second trimester. Thank you all so much for getting involved, it means a lot.

I've been thinking a lot about how the book might look once it's published. I understand the logic behind the old saying, but it's inevitable that we do judge books…

Free Range Writing #2: The Clydeside Distillery

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

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It's been too wet recently to write outside, so today I went for a tour of the Clydeside Distillery in Glasgow. I had an excellent tour guide, and afterwards spent time in the cafe working on my manuscript for THE MASH HOUSE on my typewriter.

One of the major conflicts in the novel revolves around the ownership of a fictional distillery. On the tour I couldn't help but imagine my characters…

The Pickard Account

Thursday, 27 June 2019

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Years ago, when I first moved to Glasgow, I had a flat near the Trongate, in the city centre. It was a poky wee place but it had a big cupboard that I could call a library, so I was happy. I was trying to convince everyone that I could be a writer and ended up joining a writer's group that used to meet in the Tron Theatre. Just along the road from that was a building that I instantly fell in love…

Free Range Writing #1: The Southern Necropolis

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

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I'll be working on my manuscript over the summer, and as long as the weather's fine I'll be taking my typewriter out into the wild. Sitting at a desk is fine for editing but I like drafting in the fresh air.

Today I went to the Southern Necropolis for the first time. It's a sprawling and crumbling graveyard in the Gorbals, near where I live. I haven't been before. It's surrounded by high rises…

The One That Got Away

Friday, 31 May 2019

Hi everyone!

Another huge thanks to you all for pre-ordering my book THE MASH HOUSE. The project has been live for about a week now, and we're nearly 20% towards the target figure. You're all fantastic.

I thought I'd share something a little different. A few years ago I was playing about with the idea of writing a children's novel called GULLS. Maybe I'll go back to it once this book is published…

Final designs
Publication date: May 2021
107% funded
297 backers