I had a complete ‘life-change’ when I moved from Kent to the Highlands in 2005 to be with my future wife, Catherine. Gaining nearly three hours a day because of no longer commuting, I was determined to start putting down on paper some of the many ideas I had for plays.
Fate had something else in store. Our honeymoon that year was in Orkney, where we visited the Italian chapel, built by Italian PoWs during WW2. I was hooked on the story before we had even left the building and set out to discover as much as possible about the people behind its creation. As Catherine still likes to recount, we spent some of our honeymoon in the Kirkwall library archives!
It was a quest that consumed every spare minute for the next few years and which unearthed some astounding true stories. My debut novel, The Italian Chapel, was published by Black & White Publishing in 2009 and this was followed a year later by a non-fiction book about the chapel. My ‘writing’ career since then has mainly been in books, which was not my original intention. However, you have to write what the heart tells you to.
I love to find inspiration from real-life and I’m very excited about my latest novel, Effie’s War, which is based on dramatic events in the Highlands during 1943 when around 900 people in the Tarbat peninsula were given one month to leave their homes, crofts and farms. Part of the reason was tied up with the D-Day landings, hence the publication date of 6th June.
In preparation for the launch I’ve had my website totally redesigned, which has also been exciting … although in not quite the same way!