Friday, 13 October 2023, 16:51
Popular Costa del Sol resident Bill Anderson has recently published his latest novel, Peanuts Don't Grow on Trees, a satirical look into politics "that comes with a warning because it is not overly politically correct".
Many expats will know Bill as a councillor in Mijas, a position during which he endeavoured to help English-speaking residents better understand the workings of local government.
Bill, who is also a presenter on Expat Radio, retired from politics "for good" in June in order to concentrate on his writing. Known for his caustic sense of humour, he had already published two novels, and two memoirs based on his time in local politics. He says that he left politics with a degree of "disappointment", but claims that he did not have too many regrets, as he feels he achieved much of what he set out to do: this was to work as a "bridge between the foreign community and the bureaucratic process", a process, he says, "where no one listens to anyone".
Born in Edinburgh in 1962, the former university lecturer, who has lived in Mijas for more than 20 years, spent many years working as a policy advisor to the UK and then the Scottish governments, and to several local authorities.
Bill and his late wife purchased a property in Mijas during the 1990s to use for holidays, and due to his wife's failing health, the couple decided to "make the break" and move to the countryside surrounding Mijas in 2002.
"Spain was a different place to what it is now, but we always loved Mijas. We kind of have the best of both worlds here, because, although our house is away from the crowds, it is only a few minutes away from La Cala, and the motorway, so it's ideal for work. We lived in a small rural village in Scotland, so once you have lived in the countryside, it is difficult to live in a town centre," Bill explains to SUR in English.
Once settled in Mijas, Bill endeavoured to integrate into Spanish life, and one of the first things he decided to do was to learn the language.
"I have a background in languages. I have a degree in German, I studied Russian for six years, and I also studied old Greek and some Persian. When we first decided to move to Spain, I immediately started teaching myself Spanish, because I cannot live in a country and not be able to speak the language," he says.
After stepping down from politics, into which he says he was "arm wrestled", Bill found he had more time to concentrate on his true passion, writing novels. Even though he ventured into the literary world in 2013, publishing the first two instalments of a trilogy, he found he "just did not have the time or the energy" to dedicate himself to writing.
"I have now finished the third part of the trilogy and it will be published in due course. The series is a little bit of magical realism and is based around how we are all connected through time and space," Bill explains.
His latest offering is part of what is going to be another series, and although it is a politically themed comedy, Bill says that it is wholly fictional. It was his second wife, Vicky, who gave him the idea for the latest novel, which, she said, he should base on his time in the "political circus".
"Peanuts is a satire set in an imaginary white village that is pretty much isolated from the rest of the world. The village is called Calapene, which means penis cove, because it has a penis-shaped rock that creates a natural harbour around the village. Even though it is basically taking the piss out of the workings of local politics, there is a serious side to it. It is about the random, and often ridiculous, decisions that local authorities make, especially concerning things as important as climate change. Once they have made a declaration, they haven't a bloody clue what they are going to do about it," he says, bursting into laughter.
The sequel is already in its final draft, and Bill is now looking forward to embracing his new life as an author, which he says is going to be more fun than playing "cat and mouse" with politicians.
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