HIGH ON A MOUNTAIN
Many writers say they started writing stories when they were children. Is that true of you?
No. While I wrote essays, speeches and the like when I was high school and college, I didn’t try to write fiction. However, from the time I was very young I told myself stories. And when I wasn’t telling myself stories, I was reading incessantly.
When did you start writing fiction?
I tried to write a story when I was in my 20s. The result was pathetic. I tried again when I was in my 30s. Same outcome. And I decided fiction writing required an inborn talent that I didn’t have. So I gave up.
In the late 1990s, a friend told me his Scottish ancestor had been transported to the colonies and sold as a slave to a plantation near Savannah, Georgia. My response was: What? No! That can’t be! While there were indentured servants, there were never any white slaves.
But his story piqued my interest, and I delved into Scottish history from that era. And I found that my friend had told the truth. What I learned about the experience of the Scottish people built a fire in my heart, and I wanted people to know at least a little of what happened. Since many folks won’t read a dry history text but will read entertaining fiction, I thought the historical record should be fictionalized to make it more appealing. And, too, I wanted it to be accurate. There are tons of books on the market with bare-chested kilt-clad men on the covers, stories which bear no resemblance to the real Scottish life I’d learned about.
Since I knew I couldn’t write fiction (I’d tried and failed several times, remember?), I tried to get others to write the story, but no one would. Finally, a history professor told me, “If you want it written, write it.”
But…but…I can’t write fiction.
I took a deep breath, flexed my fingers and started typing. And that beginning was truly pitiful. But my husband has often said that anyone can learn to do anything, and he pointed out one weekend that
our local junior college had an offering for beginning writers. He said I ought to sign up for the online class.
So I did. And found out, joy, joy, that he was right. You can learn to do just about anything. Including writing.
My experience in learning to write taught me that being a good writer does not require an inborn talent. What it does require is: 1 – a burning passion for telling a story; 2 – the willingness to study the craft of writing; 3 – a working knowledge of the English language, i.e., spelling, punctuation, grammar; and 4 – the perseverance to work at making your story the best it can be.
So, in the spring of 2006, the six years or so of research I’d done about Scottish history began to make its way onto the page, revealed in the life of a character who is now almost as real to me as any flesh
and blood person I know….Ailean MacLachlainn.
Ailean’s story is titled HIGH ON A MOUNTAIN and you can try it out for FREE.
But you know what? His story didn’t stop there, because I couldn’t quit writing. Two books followed the first, DEEP IN THE VALLEY and ACROSS THE WIDE RIVER. I’m currently beginning the fourth book in the MacLachlainn saga, ON THE RED CLAY HILLS.
Although the historicals are dearest to my heart,the stories that pour from my fingers like water when I start typing are suspense/thrillers/supernatural stories. Weird, huh?
Can you tell us of something funny that’s happened to you as an author?
My author photo has the obligatory writerly pose of “hand under chin.” When a writer friend and I sold our books at local book signings and festivals, we displayed laminated posters of our book covers, etc., and I put a small copy of my author photo on my side of the table. Which was undoubtedly seen by a number of people. As I later found out.
I’m a person who doesn’t like to appear in public unless I look fairly presentable…hair combed, clothes neat and clean…you get the idea. One day, though, due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to make a bank deposit, and I didn’t have time to do any grooming. I just barreled into the bank with my hair disheveled, in my house-cleaning clothes, and the teller, who I’d never met, gave me a sharp look. She stuck her hand under her chin, smiled at me and said, “You’re that author, aren’t you?”
Isn’t that the way it always goes? The one time you leave the house looking like a total wreck, you’re going to be recognized.
Eleven novels: three historicals and eight suspense/thriller/supernaturals. I’ve also published one short story and an anthology of flash fiction. My Amazon author page lists them here:
And the Books page on my website lists them, too: