This evening marks the launch of Ely Percy’s new book Vicky Romeo Plus Joolz. The publication of the novel has been a long journey for the author, so tonight feels very special indeed. Ely began working on Vicky Romeo Plus Joolz several years ago and only recently found a publisher in Knight Errant Press. The book is set in Glasgow during the early 2000’s and looks at LGBT relationships and the queer scene in the city at that time. Ely is in conversation with novelist Zoe Strachan who has been aware of Ely’s talents as a writer for a number of years.
Ely first wrote Vicky Romeo Plus Joolz back in 2002 and is clearly delighted that they can now celebrate the publication of the book. During the event we hear how the mentorship of poet and playwright Liz Lochhead and the authors own personal belief in the story caused them to persevere, despite publishers having doubt in the commercial value of a queer novel. When speaking about the gay scene in Glasgow in 2002 Ely notes that it was very working class and people they met on the scene during this time inspired characters who appear in Vicky Romeo Plus Joolz. Vicky in particular has bravado and charm and this comes across when Ely reads an extract. Humour and identity seem to be at the core of the novel and the readings are infused with comedy and charisma. Ely states that they were studying stand-up comedy at the time the book was written, but did not feel at home in Glasgow’s comedy clubs. They felt that their humour would find a better place within the pages of a novel and this is evident this evening.
During the talk Ely reminisces over the queer scene in Glasgow and mentions that they took part in performance classes with the drag king, educator and performance artist Diane Torr. Gender identity is still prevalent in Ely’s work and during the audience Q&A we discover that gender may take greater precedence in future novels. The event concludes with Zoe Strachan expressing her delight in finally seeing the book in print. She states that “I really feel like there is nothing like this novel out there” and finally readers will get the chance to judge for themselves.