An AUTHOR has denied claims that she based mentally ill characters in her books on her former lover.
Janice Galloway, 58, was accused of using Graeme McNaught’s medical issues in her novels at Hamilton Sheriff Court yesterday.
Concert pianist McNaught, 54, of Mount Vernon, Glasgow, faces a total of ten charges of placing Miss Galloway in a state of fear and alarm. He has denied all the claims against him.
Miss Galloway, of Uddingston, Lanarkshire, was question by defence lawyer Desmond Ziolo, who said McNaught believed his character had been used in books including the 2002 novel, Clara. In that book, the main character’s husband has a mental illness.
Miss Galloway said: “It wasn’t the first time I had heard this from him. He got very upset because he assumed a story was about him. There were always grievances about stories. The books are not about mental illnesses. From the moment he first came into contact, he thought they were about him.
“That’s not what fiction is. You use your own personal experience but it’s not as though what you are doing is taking large chunks from people you know and giving them a different name. The books are not about mental illnesses but some of the characters in them will have them.”
The jury also heard that McNaught sent e-mails in January 2012 to Miss Galloway saying he had hired a lawyer over the alleged references to him.
Miss Galloway said she had discussed mental illness and her relationship with McNaught during a 2010 TV interview with the Rev Richard Holloway.
Miss Galloway also claimed her experiences with McNaught had shaken her confidence and left her struggling to write books. She said: “I’m a joke among my friends for staying at home a great deal. I almost never go out alone. I have very, very little self-confidence, which is a strange thing to say for someone who is paid to appear in front of people.
“Just looking at Graeme and hearing his voice makes me panic. This has had an effect on my career. My publisher and agent have been very loyal but it is taking me increasingly long to have the nerve to write a book.
“It has made it hard for me to work at all, which is why I have taken more to lecturing. I have been waiting a long time to say this stuff out loud.”
Miss Galloway, author of titles including The Trick is to Keep Breathing, Foreign Parts and Blood, met McNaught in 1990 and they had a six-year, on-off relationship during which they had a son James, now 22.
The trial had earlier heard Miss Galloway reveal she feared falling victim to “revenge porn” after McNaught e-mailed her in January 2012 and told her he planned to show nude photos at an art exhibition.
In e-mails shown to the court, McNaught wrote: “I have photos of you, a couple of naked pregnant shots, which I am happy to copy and hand back – it could be your page 3 moment. There is, if not money, artistic capital in plenty to be had from seeing them beautifully framed and hung.”
The trial continues.