|'The island is a flower garden.'|
When I look back on everything I've written, I still have a lot of affection for this novel. I suppose that's mainly because I set it on a small fictional Hebridean island that isn't a million miles from a real Hebridean island - one I love dearly and visit often: the little Isle of Gigha, the most southerly of the true Hebridean isles. The island in my novel is called Garve, and in truth it could be one of any number of small Scottish islands - Coll, for example. Garve isn't Gigha and Garve's people are not Gigha's people, but the landscape of the island was certainly inspirational for me and if you get the chance to visit, take yourself off to Tayinloan on the Kintyre Peninsula - and see for yourself. It's one of the loveliest places on earth in my opinion!
Gigha is tiny - some seven miles long by a mile and a half wide, but since it has some 25 miles of coastline, you can imagine what an interesting place it is. It also has a fascinating history and prehistory, since it was always such a strategic place in the various battles between indigenous people and successive invaders. It lies outside the Kintyre Peninsula and as such - with its fertile landscapes and sheltered harbours - it would have been a very good starting point for anyone wanting to invade the mainland. I love the place so much that I've written a major history of the island, called God's Islanders so if you're into Scottish history, you could do worse than get hold of a copy while it's still available. I've also set another, infinitely darker novel on a small Scottish Island - and if you've read and enjoyed The Curiosity Cabinet, you might like to give it a try. It's called Bird of Passage but be warned. It's a much more harrowing read - although I also think the magic of this very special landscape shines through.
|Such beautiful seashores.|
|On the way to Donal's boat.'|
|An old laird's house.|
|Cover image by Alison Bell|