It is with overwhelming sadness that I find myself bitterly heartbroken by the sudden death of John Hamilton, the art director for my first book A Girl Called Jack, at Penguin (now Penguin Random House).

John was the man who gave that book, and my burgeoning career as a food writer, such life and vivid colour that I can scarcely believe his is gone.

We spent days holding our stomachs with cheeky guffaws and inside jokes, comparing tattoos on our forearms, missing deadlines together, infuriating editors and publishers, doing our own shit at our own pace in our own ways.

In the terrifying transition from single mum on the dole to bestselling published author, John was my compadre, a wicked grin in a scratchy beard, a fellow plaid shirt, a gives-no-fucks expletive-laden maverick. I once playfully threw a book at him for making the cover candy pink. He threw it right back, but changed it. Ironically that pink is now my favourite colour, and I wrote to him a while back to tell him so.

I adored him, and my heart will hold a little of this chromatic, brazen, and soft-hearted Glaswegian friend forever.

Photo by Charlie Clift for the Saturday Independent magazine. Spirit and sass, models own.

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