A BARRHEAD author hopes his book on the Scottish independence referendum will help fund his desire to walk a renowned Christian pilgrimage route.

Paul McDonagh, 38, has spoken of his ambition to conquer the Way of St James in Spain after releasing A State of Independence.

The former St Luke’s High School pupil began writing the “political fiction” title in 2013, finishing the final chapter two years later.

Describing the book as a “journey of an entire nation told through the journey of just one man”, Paul opted to focus the book more broadly on Scotland as a whole in the run-up to the 2014 referendum in 2014.

As one of his most significant pieces of work to date, Paul is eager for readers to understand his motives.

He said: “I have done the West Highland Way on many occasions and want to do the Way of St James, as well as the other major long-distance treks like the Pacific Crest Trail, because I have found that being out in nature is a very rewarding experience.

“I suppose some people would say you learn things about yourself when you’re out on the hills with battered and bruised feet and soaked to the bone because of the rain.

“Sometimes it’s just great to be in nature and away from the trappings of civilisation.

“It has been stressful at times but writing A State of IndependenceA State of Independence has opened the floodgates and now I’m writing much more than I have in the past.

“It’s about one man’s journey to regain his personal independence at a time when the people of Scotland were deciding whether or not Scotland should once more be an independent country.

“In essence, who you are and what you do matters because it’s through your efforts and, through your dreams, that the Scotland we live in is built.”

Paul, who is also a community activist and poet, admitted he had reservations about the book’s subject matter.

Although it proved to be an initial stumbling block, Paul managed to overcome his anxiety by focusing on the emotional impact he believed the text would have on those who read it.

“I suppose like every writer out there I was anxious about how good it was and whether people would want to read it and it was that which stalled me for such a long time,” he revealed.

“It wasn’t until I asked myself the question, ‘If not now then when?’ that I really grasped the thistle so to speak and got the book finished.

“It can be hard writing a novel and, just like running a marathon, you can hit a wall.

“But like every long distance runner will tell you, once you grit your teeth and push through that barrier you’ll get to the finish line.”

He added: “When readers tell you that a fictional character you created seems like a real person, or they tell you that they were moved to tears by what you wrote, there’s nothing better than that.”

Copies of A State of Independence can be ordered online or downloaded on to a Kindle by visiting: www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01N3YFAYB.

For more information, go to: www.astateofindependence.com.