'One of the aspects of writing that excites me the most is finding an important historical event that no-one has written about before in the form of a novel. That’s what inspired my debut novel The Italian Chapel, which tells the story of the creation of Orkney’s famous WW2 chapel. This is what was also behind Effie’s War, a story based on the mass evacuation of people in an area of the Highlands in November 1943, carried out in order to allow secret preparations for the D Day landings in June 1944.
‘The Last Witch of Scotland was inspired by the extraordinary story of Janet Horne, the last person in Britain to be executed for witchcraft, that was in Dornoch, 1727. Poor Janet was yet another innocent person caught up in the witchcraft trials that swept across Europe. This new historical fiction is the result of years of research into the Scottish witchcraft trials (a subject I’ve become rather fascinated by), alongside writing the book and finding out about the finer details of life in the early 18th century.’
Philip’s work is varied, ranging from his amusing memoir Nylon Kid of the North to Men Cry Alone, a contemporary novel about domestic abuse against men which won the 2019 Scottish Association of Writers’ Barbara Hammond Trophy for a self-published book. His novel Casting Off (written as P I Paris) was based on his sell-out stage play of the same name and is a story about residents in a Highland care home who get up to some hilarious antics when new owners increase fees. Philip’s non-fiction title, Orkney’s Italian Chapel: The True Story of an Icon, has become the recognised reference book on the history of the building.
The Last Witch of Scotland will be published in hardback and ebook by Black and White Publishing on 13th April 2023. And audio version will also be released.