About Me

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I write well researched but readable historical and contemporary novels and some non-fiction. I live in a Scottish country cottage with my artist husband. I love gardening and I also collect the fascinating antique textiles that often find their way into my fiction. This blog is about all these things and more!

Friday, January 16, 2015

January has been so horrible that I'm doing a three day giveaway on The Curiosity Cabinet!

My Scottish island novel
with a beautiful cover by artist Alison Bell
Up here in Scotland, especially in the West of Scotland where I live and work, it has been a truly horrible January. I mean it isn't generally the best month of the year, but we're only half way through and we have had almost constant wind, heavy rain, hailstones, snowstorms and more rain. As I sit here writing this, there is a horizontal blizzard roaring past my window! We have had power cuts and train and ferry cancellations. I know, I know - it's winter. But when it all comes at once after a fairly mild autumn, and when the post-Christmas malaise has set in as well, it's not exactly calculated to cheer you up, is it? And that's without reference to the hideous sad and sorry political situation in the world beyond this small village.

Anyway, apart from gazing morosely into my garden and noticing among all the chaos that some of the bulbs are starting to poke their noses through, and some of the shrubs are starting to show definite signs of buds, and the jackdaws that live among the chimney pots are clearly starting to think about nesting - I thought I might do a three day giveaway on one of my novels, The Curiosity Cabinet, on Amazon. Here in the UK and here in the US.

I haven't done a freebie for years and I don't suppose I'll be doing another one any time soon. I'm planning to release The Curiosity Cabinet, by far my best selling novel on Kindle, onto other platforms and also as a paperback, some time later in the year when I've completed the first draft of my new novel.

But meanwhile, since it's quite a sunny and summery book, set mostly on an idyllic Scottish island, I thought it might cheer a few people up. The island that inspired the book is my beloved Isle of Gigha, just off the Kintyre Peninsula, but I'm told it could just as easily be a number of other small, beautiful Hebridean islands.

The wonderful Isle of Gigha
The novel is listed as a 'time slip' novel but it isn't really. It's set in the past and in the present - two intertwined stories - and it's about the significance of parallel lives and loves. It's a quiet book. It's about the unsung lives of women, and the hidden histories of remote places. It's about the magic of small islands. It isn't really a mystery novel, and there isn't really a 'twist' in the tale. Some readers guess what has happened to bring Henrietta to the island but a surprising number of people don't. Either way, that's OK because that isn't really the point. The point is the sense that sometimes the problems and difficulties of the historical past can be resolved in the present. And then life goes on.

I think this novel was inspired by a fine writer called Elizabeth Goudge and a novel I read when I was still in my teens, called The Middle Window. It was an old novel, even then, but it enchanted me. I recently bought a battered paperback copy and reread it. It is very much a book of its time, but I still found myself caught up in the magic of her descriptions. Back when I was working in radio, I dramatised Kidnapped for BBC Radio 4 and that also fed into this story. I wrote a radio trilogy called The Curiosity Cabinet and then this novel which was different, in many ways, from the radio drama.

Anyway - it's free for three days, today, tomorrow and Sunday. If it cheers you up in the middle of a dreich winter, my job will be done!

The original Manus McNeill.

2 comments:

soknitsome said...

I loved this. I read it straight after I read "A Quiet Afternoon in the Museum of Torture" (which I may have read for free!) Your books are extremely moving. My favourite was probably "Bird of Passage", harrowing as it is.

Catherine Czerkawska said...

Thank-you! I'm very fond of the characters in Bird of Passage myself. Mind you - I think you become involved with all your characters as you're writing a novel. But I seem to have retained a very soft spot for Finn and Ceit.