Live Literature

Are you planning a literary event? Would you like to invite an author to run a workshop or a panel of writers to take part in your library / community / school event?

Live Literature is a Scotland-wide programme run by the Scottish Book Trust. It brings reading and writing to the heart of Scotland’s communities by funding author events including live visits, online workshops and other remote sessions. 

I’m delighted to be included in the Live Literature directory and you can see my listing here, with an idea of the kind of events I can offer.

Debut Lab

I’m thrilled and very grateful to have been selected as one of the writers to participate in Debut Lab, a new initiative from Scottish Book Trust and Creative Scotland which offers professional development support to writers whose debut has been affected by the pandemic.

Launching What You Call Free during lockdown came with many challenges, and it’s great now to have the opportunity to connect with and learn from industry professionals and from other writers in the same position.

We’ve had the first two sessions, and I’ve learned a great deal already as well as discovering a whole new group of talented writers and expanding my TBR list!

Here’s the press release from Scottish Book Trust which tells you a bit more about all the writers and their books.

The Martyrs’ monument

I came across this interesting article about the Martyrs’ monument in Greyfriars Kirkyard on the Scottish Covenanters facebook page.

James Currie paid for the original monument to be erected. I’m quite sure Helen was involved in that decision, and there’s something deeply moving about them including the same words that she had spoken to Mr Renwick when she visited him in prison many years earlier.

Any more would be a spoiler if you haven’t yet read What You Call Free!

A sense of place

Location is really important in What You Call Free, whether that’s the narrow, filthy closes of Edinburgh which Helen finds so oppressive, or the broad, bleak expanses of the Pentland Hills in winter.

I was delighted therefore this week to discover that What You Call Free has been included in this Visit Scotland article about eight Scottish debut novels and their locations.

Read the article here.

‘What You Call Free’ in the Grassmarket

During Book Week Scotland I’ll be joining fellow Ringwood Publishing author Lynda Kristiansen to talk about our novels within the context of Scottish historical fiction.

It’s such a thrill to speak about What You Call Free in the Grassmarket itself, where some of the most important action in the book took place.

And of course, having launched the book in March in lockdown, it’s wonderful at last to be able to meet and chat with readers in person.

Please do come along if you can.

Events past and future

One of the real joys of this whole publication adventure is getting to talk about What You Call Free, historical fiction and women’s stories. This photo was taken at the brilliant Portobello Book Festival in October, when Janis Mackay and I had a really interesting conversation about women in historical fiction with some great questions from a real in person, sold out audience.

There are a couple of other events coming up which I’m really looking forward to. On 20 October Ringwood Publishing are launching their latest historical novel: Raise Dragon by L.A. Kristiansen, the first book in a new series set during the Wars of Independence. The event will take place at 7pm on Zoom and I’m looking forward to joining a panel discussion about Scottish historical fiction with the author Lynda and with Rob McInroy, author of Cuddie’s Strip. You can find out more about the event here.

And then during Book Week Scotland on 15 November there will be another chance to catch Lynda and myself chatting about Scottish historical fiction – in person in Edinburgh this time! It should be a good evening of books, drinks and chat – what more could you want? I’ll post more details soon.

Aye Write

It was a real privilege today to take part in the Scottish debuts showcase event which kicked off Aye Write, Glasgow’s book festival.

You can catch up for three weeks after the event here, and discover some diverse new Scottish writing.

Order the books including What You Call Free from to support the festival.

And the fun doesn’t stop here – from 14 to 23 May there are lots of fascinating book events. Explore the programme for yourself.

Launching What You Call Free into the world!

Thank you to James Robertson, Ringwood Publishing and everyone who came along for a wonderful evening on Wednesday 17 March. I really enjoyed chatting about bringing women’s stories into the light, exploring 17th-century Scotland, and walking the path between fact and fiction.

You can catch up on the launch event here and order What You Call Free direct from Ringwood Publishing here or as an ebook here. It will soon also be available from other outlets.