It’s been a fairly overwhelming time with the refugee crisis, multiple acts of terrorism across the world and a growing – and alarming – military response. It’s easy to feel lost and helpless in the face of it. But while these bigger stories have dominated our screens, my thoughts continue to go to Nepal, my beloved country, where the challenge of earthquake relief has been compounded by several months of blockade preventing fuel from getting in. This is crippling for the country and the devastation will be far-reaching. One small response I can offer is this short story on the CUT A Long Story website. Set in Nepal, I wrote it over ten years ago, but decided to upload it now as a way of raising funds. All profits will go to relief and development, mainly through UMN. You can download the story here.
When Haggis Met Salsa
Right now I am writing an ‘Afternoon Drama’ for BBC Radio 4 to be broadcast on March 14th. A romantic comedy, it features a creative writing class in a Scottish Highland town and the mayhem when fiction overtakes reality. (Where DO my ideas come from?!) Something of a new genre for me, I’m discovering that comedy is definitely much harder than it looks! I’ll send a reminder and link closer to the time and let you judge if I’ve pulled it off.
My second novel is growing steadily, requiring much reading, interviewing, discovering and thinking, as well as the plotting and writing. Set where I live in the Spey Valley, one of the central characters is a shepherd, which has sent me on research missions to watch shearing, lambing, dipping and marking and to climb the hills for a gathering. A local farming family have been very helpful in letting me tag along and they, plus countless others, have graciously answered many questions. The land is a central theme of the book, so recently I attended a day conference on Scottish Land Reform issues organised jointly by the Highland Theological College and the Evangelical Alliance. It posed the question, What is a Christian Ethical response? Though the answers are not straight-forward, the discussion was certainly stimulating!
Meanwhile, A House Called Askival continues to make its journey into the wider world and garner good reviews. Here’s a recent one on the clever website TripFiction. And a more academic one from Wasafiri a London-based journal of contemporary international writing, is here. For a full list of reviews and links, look here . And, of course, massive thanks to everyone who has posted great reviews on Amazon. These have helped to get it into various Kindle Promotions in the UK, US and Australia.
I still love my two days a week at Kingussie High School Library, where recent highlights have included National Poetry Day readings and the launching of a school-wide Reading for Pleasure programme.
Finally, I have at last set up an author page on Facebook. A place for news about writing and reading – my own and others’ – I do hope you will visit, Like, Share and join the conversation.
Thanks so much for being alongside!