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In which I talk about Mary…

01-for-my-sins-20mm-spineThis has been a pure labour of love, begun when I was 22, living in Edinburgh in a bedsit on Buccleugh Street, tramping the cobbles, in search of inspiration. That’s when my first drafts of this novel were written. Even back then in 1990 I called it FOR MY SINS, a quote from the very last letter of Mary, Queen of Scots (which I photographed in the museum), and I knew exactly who my Mary was – what her voice sounded like, what her insecurities and fears and hopes were, and her bravery. I knew what she felt, what she thought, what she regretted. I never thought I would see this novel published. I revisited it in later years, then my son Micah was born, then Martha, and life moved on. I didn’t forget about it – I knew it was a novel which should have seen the light of day and sat on bookshelves. I believe in it immensely even now – especially now. Two years ago, I opened a cupboard and it literally fell at my feet. Bouf! Don’t forget me. Now I have a cover I love, I’ve just sent off the dedication and acknowledgements to Fledgling, and it’s to be released in February. My first novel for adults – the first I ever wrote! I simply cannot tell you what this means to me… apologies for outburst of emotion! It’s been rewritten and rewritten, and this is its final form.

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DRAMA AND MAYHEM

While the wind wails outside my window – it’s June in Scotland – I’ve put the final full-stop on the first draft of DARKER ENDS for my publisher Fledgling Press. It’s set in Glencoe so the howling gales are appropriate, I suppose. Now I’ve started on my fourth novel. When I met with Clare at the NLS the other week, I happened to mention the Mary Queen of Scots novel I wrote when I lived in Edinburgh 25 years ago as a young student, and her face lit up. She wanted to see that too. I then remembered that I’d moved house several times since, and might well have lost my only original copy. So I went home and did a frantic search. Found it in the attic and hoovered off 15 years of dust, trying not to rip the title page with the nozzle. Spiders ran for cover and I laughed in delight – before hoovering up one or two of said spiders due to phobia.

I wrote that novel FOR MY SINS with an absolute passion in my twenties. I’m happy to rediscover that passion, and that’s what I’ll be working on over the summer. And to relax?

Amateur Dramatics! I’ve got the lead in a one-act comedy called What’s For Pudding? Bossy insufferable woman with a club book and an abrasive manner set in the 1980s! It’s such a giggle, especially all the backstage drama. One of the more controlling members of the group decided to do an impromptu health and safety test on the opening night. Tried out the smoke machine under the stairs and set the alarm off 5 mins before curtain call. Fire brigade arrived looking fed up and tempers flared! It was very funny…

Anyway, back to serious matters. I have been searching for book cover ideas for DARKER ENDS with the help of several pupils from various schools during workshop visits. Here are one or two

cover ideas for DARKER ENDS created by pupils

cover ideas for DARKER ENDS created by pupils

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BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

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ALEX NYE IS BACK!!! (That makes me sound like Batman!)

DARKER ENDS is on its way! To get to the point, I’ve just signed a contract with Fledgling Press for my third book!  I met Clare at the National Library where I’ve been giving workshops on the Jacobites.She said I would recognize her as she has ‘purple hair’. I’d say plum, but definitely in that area. We shook hands over the cheese scones and pots of Earl Grey, and I felt as light as a feather, as if I could float up to the ceiling. It’s been six years since I’ve signed a contract for a new book – and this was a long time in coming. I’m delighted. So I’ve got a new website to prove it, and this week is busy busy with a school visit to Lawhead Primary in Fife on Thursday, then the YAY Festival in Cumbernauld on Friday (THE FIRST EVER BOOK FESTIVAL FOR YA FICTION IN SCOTLAND!) inspired and organized by my friend Kirkland. Then a mad dash in the evening over to Edinburgh for the launch of the Children’s Book Festival there! Authors are busily exchanging emails on how to manage public transport around Cumbernauld in a sensible fashion – while I try to work out how to send a group email without sending it back to myself!!!!