After he was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, actor and playwright Kenny Boyle came to terms with his diagnosis by writing a book inspired by Peter Pan.
“At the end of 2019, I got diagnosed with anxiety and depression, which I suppose I knew that I had for a long time but it was sort of nice to get the diagnosis,” said Kenny.
“And then, suddenly, we fell into the pandemic and all of the treatments that were on the cards got delayed.
“So I was dealing with this realisation on my own and I dealt with it by beginning to write and that turned into this book.
“The Tick and The Tock Of The Crocodile Clock is an exploration of feeling a little bit lost and how anxiety and depression can affect someone’s life.”
Peter Pan influence
Kenny – who is from the Isle of Lewis but currently stays in Glasgow due to his acting work – says he drew a lot of inspiration from ‘forever boy’ Peter Pan.
The author said: “The book is about not wanting to grow up into what society hopes for adults to be and having that conflict of interest between your younger self and the adult you’re growing up to be.”
The novel follows aspiring writer from the Southside of Glasgow Wendy – whose name is another nod to The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up – as she approaches that “decision-making” stage of her life.
Kenny said: “She’s just graduated from university and she wants to be true to herself as a creative person but she’s being told that she needs to do something sensible and secure – what people consider a ‘proper job’.
“So she’s kind of lost and then she meets a girl called Cat who is the opposite of that. She’s a bit irresponsible and is struggling in terms of surviving in the world – financially and in ways that are socially acceptable.”
Cat – Wendy’s ex-colleague and wild-child painter – encourages her to live more dangerously but things go sideways when an expensive artwork is stolen.
“Wendy finds herself on the run from the police,” added Kenny.
From one-woman show to novel
While Kenny wrote his debut book in about a year, he came up with the idea in 2014 when he wrote a play called We Never Land.
He said: “It was a very different play – it was a one-woman show at the Edinburgh Fringe and after doing that, I put it aside.
“But then, in 2019, I started thinking about ways how I could revive it into a novel, but also change it a lot.”
Originally, the book was also called We Never Land; however, Kenny decided to go for a more attention-grabbing title.
He said: “The whole narrative of the book revolves around this Peter Pan poem and I thought ‘We Never Land’ as a title is not so memorable.
“But there is a line in the poem that says ‘Behold The Tick and The Tock Of The Crocodile Clock’ and it just stuck in my head and in the heads of everyone who’s read it so we decided to make it the title of the book.
“It’s a funky little title.”
Kenny Boyle on starring in Scot Squad
In addition to writing plays and his debut novel, Kenny is also an actor.
He appeared in festive rom-com Lost at Christmas and also starred in Scot Squad as detective Marvin Stark.
He said: “So, another thing that I do is that I run a murder mystery company, Eerie Isles. We tour all over Scotland.
— Kenny Boyle Actor and Playwright (@KennyIBoyle) January 20, 2022
“I got in touch with Scot Squad and said that I’d like to be in the show and they got back to me and said, ‘Well, actually, we’ve got the role for you because we’ve just written a character that is a person who runs a murder mystery company but is secretly a criminal’.
“So they invited me to play detective Marvin Stark. It was loads of fun – Scot Squad is all improvised.”
Where to buy The Tick and The Tock Of The Crocodile Clock by Kenny Boyle
The Tick and The Tock Of The Crocodile Clock will be released in May and you can pre-order the book here.