I enjoyed a lively discussion with the Advanced Higher Literature students in February about getting ideas for writing historical fiction. Their course includes producing several pieces of their own creative writing.
Since the launch of ‘No Safe Anchorage’ I’ve been travelling around Skye and further afield to Inverness, talking to all sorts of different groups and selling copies of the book. I’ve also been a travelling bookseller, taking books, not only to bookshops but to Skye’s Gaelic College, craft shops, post Offices, galleries and petrol stations. My journeys were mostly by car but I also took the ferry over to the island of Raasay, close to Rona where the story begins.
This magazine will be available soon. It will feature articles about
creative people, involved in Design, Art,Craft and Literature who live and work on the Isle of Skye.
Do have a look at the website: www.Skyemakers.Com
I’m very excited by this prospect. Like ‘Love and Music Will Endure’ it is set in the nineteenth century but in other respects it is very different. Robert Louis Stevenson makes a guest appearance but the main character, Lieutenant Tom Masters is a creation of my imagination. The action moves from the Highlands of Scotland to Canada.
I shall write more about the story nearer publication but for now I shall quote the comments made by Donald S. Murray. He’s the acclaimed author of, ‘Herring Tales,’ ‘The Guga Stone’ and many other books of both prose and poetry.
An evocative and fast-moving tale set in Skye and the West Highlands, ‘No Safe Anchorage,’ like its title, swirls with risks and dangers. It invokes the spirit of Robert Louis Stevenson whose childhood it portrays. With its sharpness of dialogue and tight, concise description, it also conjures up hat writer in other ways, creating an adventure story that is as breathless and exciting as some of that nineteenth century novelist’s work.’
Since publishing my book I’ve done numerous readings across Scotland, from the Western Isles to Selkirk in the Borders and Wigtown in Dumfries and Galloway. This has been an enjoyable and stimulating process.
More recently I’ve embarked on a different kind of talk,’Researching the life of Mairi Mhor – reconciling fact and fiction.’ I’ve spoken to full houses at the Gaelic Society of Inverness and for Portree Local History on Skye.
The Gaelic Society of Inverness has a prestigious history. It was established by Charles Fraser MacKintosh, M.P. one of the leaders of the Land Reform movement. Mairi campaigned for him and helped him gain election as a Crofter M.P. The Society attracts eminent academics to speak at its meetings. So I found it quite a daunting experience. However I believe it’s important to publicise the thorough research done by historical novelists as some famous historians, David Starkey for example, has stated,’We really should stop taking historical novelists seriously as historians. The idea that they have authority is ludricious.’ That’s a view that should be challenged!
‘A most readable, entertaining and thought provoking historical novel’.