Skye Book Festival 2017: History and murder from a quartet of authors

Liz MacRae Shaw at the 2017 Skye Book Festival

Portree Library was the venue, as Skye-
based author Liz MacRae Shaw talked about
her second novel ‘No Safe Anchorage’.

Shaw’s fictional history tells the story of Tom
Masters, a nineteenth century naval officer who
jumps ship in search of a captivating stranger.
His adventures, interwoven with the life of a
young Robert Louis Stevenson, take Tom from
Skye to Canada.

In ‘No Safe Anchorage‘ Shaw also
introduces her great-great-great-grandmother
Janet MacKenzie, who spent years acting as a
guardian to sailors by burning an oil light as a
beacon from her cottage window on the
northern tip of Rona, enabling passing vessels
to safely navigate the waters.

The author said: “There was a sense of
responsibility, because I thought this is a
woman who is quite exceptional in a way, and
I wanted to be fair to her. I don’t know what
kind of character she had, but I wanted to do her
justice. You find out as much as you can about
them and do the research, but the rest is
imagination — it’s a way in which they live on.

“I think that‘s the big thing about historical
fiction — it is a way that perhaps brings people
into enjoying the hard facts, it’s history with a
human face.”

Excerpt taken from Adam Gordon’s article in the WHFP Friday 8th September 2017