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Welcome to my site!

Some of my books

I write books for all ages, for young children to teenage and adults. I have also written a book on writing - Writing for Children - for both aspiring and newly published authors.


While I spend quite a lot of time visiting libraries, schools and festivals talking about my books and running creative writing workshops, I do manage to find time to write, too!

You can download the free story: Hamish McHaggis and the Aberlady Gala Mystery.

Latest News:

A JACOBITE BOOK LAUNCH – White Cockades, Targes, Swords, and CAKE!

 

Inside the Central Library of Edinburgh, Children’s Department, it was bright and cosy, despite the terrible rain and windy weather outside.  Gathered together were friends, family and readers, all  come to celebrate the launch of  my new book

The Dangerous Lives of the Jacobites.

It is always fun to have a bit of a party to welcome a new book onto the shelves and my excellent young helpers, Abigail, Poppy and Isla offered everyone a white cockade to wear as they arrived.

The white cockade was the white rose symbol of the Jacobites. Often the women of the time would make them from white ribbons or cloth and they would sew them on their dresses, and the men might would wear them on their bonnets, to show support for Bonnie Prince Charlie.  We also had little swords and targes ( shields) for children to decorate and take home with them.

Rob, Aggie and wee Meggie

We had hoped that the illustrator Darren Gate, would be there to draw while I was reading, but sadly the weather was so bad he got stuck on the road and eventually had to turn back.

He did get a round of applause for his excellent illustrations but I know he was disappointed not to be able to be there to celebrate the book with us, especially after working so hard on it.

I was introduced by Sally Polson, my lovely editor, who asked me if I would speak a little about life in the 18th Century.

There is so much in the book about life at the time and the research was fascinating.  There are facts, maps and diagrams of battles, but I did particularly enjoy writing the story; as we follow  one of the main characters, young Rob, and his father when they go off to join the Jacobite Army and Bonnie Prince Charlie at Glenfinnan. They march with the army south to Edinburgh, to the battle of Prestonpans.

The story follows them all the way through England to Derby where they turned back and marched up north again, and finally to the ill fated battle of Culloden.

Meanwhile the story also follows Aggie, Rob’s younger sister, their mother, grandmother and their little sister, wee Meggie. We learn about life in the blackhouse and when they go also up in the sheilings when the weather got a bit better.  Aggie hears about some of the previous uprisings from the older women, just as Rob is hearing battle stories from the seasoned soldiers around the army campfires.

I was fascinated by researching the herbs and plants they used for day to day life and for medicines. So I spoke about that for a bit and then Sally interviewed and I had a bit of fun, with her questions.

We had some excellent questions from the audience and of course it wouldn’t be a book launch without a cake!

 

Many thanks to everyone who came along and also to the great team from the publisher, Floris Books, who all worked hard to make sure everything went well.

Here is Ali who was in charge of the books and I was able to use my new stamp when I signed them.

 

 

 

Rob and Aggie

 

 

 

 

 




The Dangerous Lives of the Jacobites – A book birthday!

 

Delighted to announce the publication of my latest book by @Discoverkelpies  idea for all history buffs but especially for

7-10 year olds.  Includes maps, timelines, family trees, Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Jacobite Risings, and so much more.

The exciting story of brother and sister, Rob and Aggie, and their Highland Jacobite family.




Mslexicon Writers conference Leeds July 2019

A few photos – Mslexicon conference weekend in Leeds July 2019

 Chatting to the lovely Thérèse Coen; Kirsty from Fox Lane Books ( with my latest book Dangerous Lives of the Jacobites for sale for the first time!);  Delivering my IKIGAI workshop –  finding creative fulfilment – workshop on Friday afternoon; the great Mslexicon team ,who worked so hard all weekend to make it such a success;  the venue, Devonshire Hall in Leeds, and the very entertaining Sophie Hannah.

https://mslexia.co.uk/mslexicon/  

Mslexicon is a house party like no other. 12-14th July 2019  (Leeds) 

Part brainstorm, part bootcamp, part celebration, it is a chance to nurture your writing craft and career with the help of leading agents, authors, tutors and mentors, all hand-picked for the depth of their knowledge and their commitment to supporting women writers.  A great weekend event for writers. Talks, mini courses, workshops, panels and 1-2-1s with full weekend tickets, and single day tickets now available.

  On Saturday morning 13th July,(10am – 12.15pm )

I’ll be giving a talk for children’s writers:  Writing for Middle Grade and YA (Young Adult) Followed by a Panel event with agents Julia Churchill and Thérèse Coen about current trends in publishing for this age range.

(more details below)

——————————-1-2-1s ————————

Want to ask that burning question? There are still some spaces in my 1-2-1’s between 12-1 pm
more info on this link. https://mslexia.co.uk/mslexicon/sessions/one-to-ones/

————————Mini Courses ————————
There are three mini courses ( 3 hrs) on Friday afternoon.

I will be leading a mini course to help you Find Creative Fulfilment though finding your IKIGAI ; and how it can help you gain an insight into why you write and how your creative work can mesh with the rest of your life.

MINI-COURSE: LINDA STRACHAN – Find creative fulfilment with Ikigai

 https://mslexia.co.uk/mslexicon/sessions/friday/

——————–More info ———————————
.SATURDAY (10am – 12.15pm TALK AND PANEL Writing for Middle Grade & YA (Young Adult)

TALK: Writing for children: Middle Grade and (YA)
We are very privileged to offer this talk by Linda Strachan, who is the award-winning author of over 70 books for children, and also the author of the seminal handbook Writing for Children. Linda’s extensive experience of writing for children aged from 8 to 18 makes her the perfect person to speak on this topic. She will discuss the wide variety of ways to approach older children, exploring the possibilities, the joy and the challenges in writing Middle Grade and Young Adult books.

PANEL: Publishing trends : Middle Grade and YA  with Julia Churchill & Thérèse Coen.
PANEL: Fantasy and magic realism, diverse voices and settings, gritty contemporary plots with hard-hitting messages, classic stories re conceived for a modern audience… What are the current trends in Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction at the moment – and what’s on the horizon for the future? Find out what’s on the wish lists of two specialist agents working in this field.

Mslexicon 2019 is for writers of creative prose: novels and short fiction, memoir and biography, and all types of narrative non-fiction. The programme has been designed to foster creativity and provide you with the skills and confidence you need to achieve your writing goals.