From the army to becoming an author

Scott Alcroft.
Scott Alcroft. / SUR
  • After moving to the Costa del Sol, Scott Alcroft discovered a hidden talent for writing

It was a military posting to Gibraltar that initially brought Scott Alcroft to the Costa del Sol over a decade ago.

The former non-commissioned officer lived on the Rock for three years, which gave him the chance to fall in love with this part of the world.

And despite being posted all over the world to destinations including Germany, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Belize, it was this corner of Andalucía that he enjoyed the most.

So when his posting was over and he left the army, it was with a heavy heart that he returned to his native Scotland - vowing to return one day.

On arrival back in Ayrshire in 2010, he took up a job at the local NHS hospital as a head porter.

Describing his time at the NHS, he said: "I loved it! Every single day was different, dealing with patients, and the staff were always very professional. As stressful as it is in the NHS, we always had a good laugh."

Over the next six years he continued working at the hospital, until his 16 year marriage to his wife ended last summer.

On the plus side though, it gave him the perfect opportunity to return to Gibraltar and southern Spain.

"I thought to myself, if I don't do it now, then I'll never do it," said the 41-year-old.

"I fell in love with the place and always dreamed of coming back, so when I got the opportunity that's exactly what I did. My wife at the time didn't like it here, so there was no way I was going to move here with her.

"I thought if it works, it works, and if not, I can always come back to my old job. But once I got here last summer there was no way I was going back - you couldn't drag me back to Scotland!"

Born in Irvine in Ayrshire, in 1978, Scott joined the army at 21 years of age, after growing up in Saltcoats, a small fishing village on the west coast of Scotland.

Now living in Manilva and commuting to Gibraltar, the Celtic Football Club fan works for a security firm on the Rock as his main job.

However, more interestingly, he has also discovered he has a knack for writing, after self-publishing three books in the past 12 months.

The prolific writer told SUR in English that he started writing about two years ago, after being asked to write a blog for an American Celtic FC website.

He explained: "I ended up taking over the website. I then went on to write for another two websites and then started on my first book.

"To be honest I was bored at night after moving out here. I didn't have a girlfriend at the time and one night I just got the laptop out and started writing, and that was it. I already had the idea for a story in my head, and as I started writing, more ideas came to me. In the end my first book took me about a month to write."

Asked how long he spends writing each day, he explained that it depends, with anything from 30 minutes to four hours if he "gets in the flow".

He added: "After finishing my first book I spoke to a few mates who were writers and they said I should go down the route of self-publishing and get myself a proofreader." Fast forward a year and Scott has now self-published three books: The Bunnet, Hugo and The Factory Girls.

He said that he's now making money from his books through Amazon, and that local book shops in his home town are also selling them.

He said: "I wasn't really interested in writing at school to be honest. It's come later in life, I guess I'm a late bloomer."

Pressed on how it feels to be an author, he said it feels "surreal" and that the feedback so far has been amazing.

Scott said: "The feedback from family and friends has been brilliant. Most, if not all have read the books. They're normally your toughest critics, but it's all been positive."

In addition to writing fiction, Scott also writes for two online Celtic FC websites; ACSOM (A Celtic State Of Mind) and a Celtic fanzine named More Than 90 Minutes.

Asked where he gets his ideas from, Scott explained that his second book, Hugo, which is based in La Linea, contains a lot of real life events that have happened involving the drug trade in the border town.

He went on to say the book is about a Scottish guy who inadvertently takes over the drugs trade on the Costa del Sol in the 1990s.

As for any tips for budding writers, he added: "Go for it for sure! I didn't think one person would want to read anything I ever came up with. There's talk of turning my books into a TV series or a film already.

"Just go for it, you never know."

Looking forward, Scott plans to carry on writing fiction and is currently working on a children's book.

For more information on his books visit Amazon where all are available on Kindle and paperback.