"Grief feels like love. Sometimes you press on that tender spot, because it’s as close as you can get to the person who is otherwise gone.” – Kate Brody
Posts tagged "Scotland"
A Tartan Noir original

A Tartan Noir original

I first encountered Bill Knox in a second-hand bookshop in Inverness, twenty-odd years after his death. I was browsing the shelves while hiding from the inevitable Autumn Highland rain, idly looking for nothing in particular. Randomly, I pulled out a battered old hardback and read the title: Death Department. Intrigued, I flicked through a few...
A sitting duck

A sitting duck

The plan… It had first taken shape in Renfield’s mind one morning over a month before when the 29-year-old reporter, on the staff of the Evening View, had been having a casual 10a.m. cup of tea in the canteen at Glasgow police headquarters. The big room, reserved for sergeants and constables, with pressmen having an...
Tell me a story

Tell me a story

Our oldest memories are in stories. Our oldest memories are stories. To tell a story well is a skill: the sort that can be learned but cannot easily be taught. To be told a story is a pleasure and often a privilege. When I first picked at the thread of an idea for my debut...
Connecting with lost souls

Connecting with lost souls

My third novel Hazardous Spirits is set in Edinburgh in 1923. The story follows Evelyn Hazard, whose husband Robert wakes up one day and announces that he can speak to the spirits of the dead. Like many strange tales, the idea for this novel originated during an unusual blind date. I arrived late to the...
Trials, trauma and women's tales

Trials, trauma and women’s tales

In winter 2017, I visited a sandstone cathedral in Orkney called St Magnus. I’d published two novels in as many years, with the next about to be released, and I was exhausted. This trip was meant to be a break from creating – I’d even left my laptop at home in Australia. I wandered the...
Catastrophe on the shore

Catastrophe on the shore

The boat had seemed large at the dock, but now that they’re rumbling away from Big Island, it seems flimsy and ludicrously small. Luda tries to think of the last time she’d been on a boat before coming to the islands. Years ago. Someone’s thirtieth birthday on the thick, marshy water of the Hopeturn River...
Gay love stories in historical fiction

Gay love stories in historical fiction

What was it like to be a gay man in Paris in 1870? While researching my novel The Beasts of Paris, I couldn’t find much in 19th-century writing about homosexual love, and even later there are strangely few literary, queer, period-set love stories (shout outs to Sarah Waters and Mary Renault), so I’m pushing the...
Familiar things

Familiar things

Aasmah Mir’s candid and eloquent memoir A Pebble in the Throat tells of her childhood in 1970s Glasgow, and traces in parallel the story of her mother Almas’ own life as a young woman in Pakistan in the 1950s before uprooting to Scotland. A love letter to Scotland, to heritage and to family, it doesn’t...
Special treatment for selected favourites

Special treatment for selected favourites

Michael Bond’s Fans is a fascinating exploration of what it is to be a fan, be it of a pop group, a celebrity or a football team. In each chapter the author delves into the psychological mindset of fandom to examine intrinsic truths about being human. Most of us have been a fan of something,...
Piled high in random places

Piled high in random places

Weak Teeth is a strong debut by Edinburgh author Lynsey May. Set in the Scottish capital, we follow Ellis as her life implodes. Her ten-year relationship has ended, her mother has started one with a much younger man, her job is insecure and her teeth are sore and in a mess. As she tries to...
Virginia Woolf and science fiction

Virginia Woolf and science fiction

They rode in the dark, arriving at Yorkshire in the pre-dawn. The Astronomer Royal had set up a camp directly on the line of totality. In Southport, on the beach, a quarter of a million people gathered. Woolf and her group left their train and walked uphill towards Richmond. Everybody waited. The sun came up,...
Festival fever

Festival fever

Shaun Bythell, who has been running The Bookshop in Wigtown for over twenty years, dips back into his diaries for more hilarious day-to-day encounters with the dedicated antiquarians, casual visitors and frequent browsers who come by to interrupt the anticipated contemplative idyll of his working life with requests that range from the curious and insightful...