The May-July edition of ‘Scottish Islands Explorer’ features an article about the history and geography of the island of Rona, off the Isle of Skye. This rugged and remote island plays a central role in my historical novel, ‘No Safe Anchorage’.
Do you know the beautiful song by Robert Burns, ‘Ae Fond Kiss’?
‘Ae fond kiss and then we sever
Ae fareweel, and then for ever,
Deep in heartwrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and hopes I’ll wage thee.’
I’m using a line from the 4th verse – ‘Had we never loved so blindly’ as the title of my third historical novel, set during the Second World War. It should be published late this year.
Events at Fort William and Edinburgh
As part of Book Week Scotland in November 2019 I gave a talk at Fort William Library and enjoyed some lovely cakes. This was followed by another talk at the Pentlands Book Festival in Edinburgh where I spoke about the influence of myths and legends on my writing. The Waters of Leith made a welcome break from the busy streets. This was followed by an enjoyable session at Dingwall library after driving through beautiful countryside.
I gave a number of talks while I was down in Galloway in March. The first was at Lockerbie Library. The fine sheep sculptures are in the High Street. This was followed by a talk at the Beltie Book Shop and Café in Wigtown and I had to include a picture of the photogenic local cattle and lastly I did a book signing at WHSmith in Dumfries High Street. The antibiotics seem to be working and Steve is feeling more human now. We’ve got a big new screen which I’m enjoying using.
I had the pleasure of travelling to Stornoway on a very cold but sunny day in February 2019. Once there I was made very welcome by Euan at the museum and Rhoda from the Islands Book Trust.
I spoke about Mary MacPherson, the subject of ‘Love and Music Will Endure’ and the next day I saw the famous Lewis chessmen and the very moving exhibition about the Iolaire disaster of 1919 when two hundred returning sailors were drowned in sight of the shore.
The fern design is Victorian and was found underneath layers of paint when the breakfast room was renovated.
I enjoyed a magical weekend at the very friendly Book Festival at Tarbert, Loch Fynne, one of the less well known haunts of the miniature Asian elephant. I was involved in the ‘Saturday with the Stevensons’ event with Bella Bathurst, the lighthouse expert and Joseph Farrell who has recently written about Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa.