I was surprised, the other day, to come across all six episodes of my old television serial Shadow of the Stone, on YouTube. You'll find the first episode here and I'm told that the more clicks it gets the more chance I stand of getting paid a bit of money, so please have a look at it - and if you like the first episode, do watch the rest of them whenever you have a spare half hour or so! You know you want to do it! Ah, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on!
It's old, of course and it does have a distinct look of the eighties about it. In fact, when this was being made, I was heavily pregnant with my son, who's now 24 years old himself. But in spite of carrying a very large bump about with me, I did manage to clamber on and off boats, because my husband, Alan, was working as a charter skipper at the time, for a Largs based yacht company, and the television company hired the big catamaran which he was skippering, as a camera boat. Shadow of the Stone was filmed in Gourock, and in Inverkip Marina, just down the coast, as well as in Glasgow. The Kempock Stone, around which the story is based, is still there, and Marie Lamont was a real person, who - along with a group of older women - was accused of witchcraft
This was, in many ways, a very youthful and joyful production. I was working with people I liked very much, and it was fun. The cast features both Alan Cumming and Shirley Henderson, who went on to MUCH bigger things. Leonard White was a wonderful talent spotter and knew a fine actor when he saw one, even though - as you can see from the programme - they too were very young indeed.
I have one vivid memory of Alan Cumming struggling in the water and my husband Alan almost leaping in to rescue him. 'No, no!' shouted Alan C, with his usual cheeky grin, 'It's alright. I'm just acting!'
The serial was well reviewed - I remember columnist Joan Burnie loving it - but the channel did rather mess about with the starting times, and even family and friends would find themselves missing episodes, which was a pity.
There was also a novel of the series, which I had forgotten all about. It was published by Richard Drew in Glasgow. I dug it out the other day and had a look at it. It isn't half bad. I was, it seems, way ahead of my time in writing something which was Young Adult, well before YA was a publishing concept, and writing about the supernatural well before the media had cottoned on to the public appetite for such things. I seem to have done this all my writing life - suggesting things which I'm told 'nobody will be interested in' only to see them become flavour of the decade just a few years later. Anyway, I remember subsequently pitching similar ideas for radio and television and theatre, and getting nowhere fast.
I'd probably do the novel a bit differently now. We all change and mature as writers, I'm much more of a novelist than I was - back then, I was quite definitely a playwright who wrote some prose - but now I've honed my craft and I can see various infelicities, things that I would definitely edit polish, parts where the plot seems clunky - but essentially, I'm not too unhappy with the story. Once I have the current project finished -a BIG Scottish Historical which only needs a couple more months of work - and before I wade into the sequel to The Amber Heart, which I'm already researching, frantically, I may type this up again, do some edits, and release it as a Kindle download.