November has been a busy month. In amongst re-adjusting to life back in a busy office in my day-to-day life, I’ve enjoyed connecting with writers at a couple of events.

I’m in the middle of judging a teen short story competition for Erskine Writers group, where I delivered a workshop last month. Erskine Writers was where I first shared my work in public many years ago, and it’s lovely to return to lead workshops.

A couple of Saturdays ago I delivered an online workshop to the Teen Igniting Writing group (part of Wokingham Libraries), talking to a group of young people about what makes a good Mystery/Thriller. I was blown away by some of the extracts they read out of their own work, and had fun answering questions and talking about mystery books we love, (as well as telling them where my inspiration for writing mysteries comes from). I was very grateful to my school friend, Elizabeth, (or Lis as I know her), for organising this amazing session as part of her role as Young People Outreach manager. I don’t often get to engage with teens outwith Scotland, and I think one benefit of lockdown was the realisation online connections can be a positive way of reaching wider audiences/providing wider access.

One young person asked me, “What compels you to write?” It’s a good question, and one that has been circling in my head since. On the day I think I said it was ultimately my love of reading that sparked the desire for me to create my own stories, and I love seeing a story unfold and characters take over, which is all true.

But ultimately I think there is something deep within us all where we crave to connect with one another, and make sense of the world around us, and storytelling in all of its forms allows us to do that.

I was invited to a wonderful session last Saturday at Greenock Central Library as part of Book Week Scotland, celebrating creativity and writing within Inverclyde, organised and led by Writer In Residence, Katharine Macfarlane (who is an amazing Slam Poet. I am currently reading her poetry collection Home Words – it is full of beautiful imagery. You can buy a copy here).

Katharine is so enthusiastic about creativity and has got me involved in amazing events in the past, working with young people in Inverclyde. I grew up in Inverclyde, and previously worked there for ten years as a careers adviser, so it will always be a place I feel connected to. During this particular session I really enjoyed meeting other local writers and hearing them read their work, as well as finding out about future projects. Martin O’Connor, the Inverclyde Artist in Residence, also generated interesting discussion about how we all engage in some form of storytelling every day.

Some of the general discussion about Storytelling, and all of its forms, again made me think about how important it is for voices to be heard and that writing, (or spoken word), is a really powerful way we can encourage people to express themselves and tell their own stories.

In other news Promise Me is now available through wider distribution, both in digital and paperback formats, World Wide. It can be ordered into Waterstones here


Here’s one of the great things about doing events with young people – as part of my presentation I talk to them about inspiration and by the end of my session I leave inspired by them.

A couple of weeks ago I was at Gourock library talking to 4th year pupils from Clydeview Academy and I got them to do a little creative writing exercise at the end. They could choose to use some of the images and newspaper headlines I’d taken along to help generate ideas, or simply come up with stories from their imagination. Mostly they just used their own imagination!

It was brilliant seeing their enthusiasm and how quick they were at constructing stories. As I walked round the room some of them told me about poetry they were writing, inspired by personal experience, and books they were working on. It reminded me of the buzz I used to get when I first started to construct novel length work (and in my teens I also wrote a lot more poetry!).

I loved doing an event in a library, surrounded by books, as it was my love of reading which inspired me to write in the first place. My parents always took me to the local library to pick out books and it’s one of my favourite memories.

It was great talking to the librarians before and after the event who were also very enthusiastic and shared interesting writing chat.

Here’s a montage of photos: (*I asked permission from the pupils and their teacher to post their pictures on social media!)


A couple of days later I took part in another great event in a local cafe, Ta Ta Bella’s Tea Room, in Paisley, where I got to meet with the Oak Tree Arts creative writing groups, and their tutor, Susan at their End of Term gathering.

The group was a mix of ages and after talking to them about my writing process they asked me LOTS of interesting questions. As we sat eating the brilliant brownies, (which Hilary had baked), I got to quiz them a bit about their own writing. I was blown away by how much they all write. One twelve year old boy was already 20,000 words into his novel and he had only been writing it for about a month, saying he wrote a bit every day, after school. It’s amazing to see such commitment to writing at such a young age and it gave me a boost to get cracking with my own writing! Here’s a photo from this event:

oak tree arts

I have no doubts that I will soon be reading books penned by some of these young authors!

After such great events I’m really looking forward to taking part in the Yay! YA festival later in the month. Here is an updated poster showing the running order of the day:

Yay YA

I’m pleased to see that I get to hang out in the dressing room when I talk to the pupils as I think if there are lights on the mirrors that will make quite a dramatic backdrop for reading!

In the Press and other excitement

greenock telegraph


I was delighted to see an article in The Greenock Telegraph today about Follow Me.  I grew up in Inverclyde, and even although I now live in Renfrewshire, I work down in Greenock and it’s nice getting to stay close to my roots. I’ve posted a snapshot of the article at the top of this post.

I’m really looking forward to doing an author event for school pupils at Greenock Central Library early next month, as well as going in to talk to 4th year pupils at a school in Gourock, and one in Glasgow later in November.

Last week I was part of an author team for the West heat of the Kids’ Lit Quiz, which took place at Our Lady’s High School in Cumbernauld and it was lots of fun. The pupils from a range of schools across the West of Scotland put us to shame with their amazing knowledge of literary classics and modern books.

My talented friend, Rebecca, also did a brilliant post about Follow Me on her creative website The Magpie Diaries recently. I loved how she centred her post around the Keats Poem, Ode on a Grecian Urn, which is quoted in my novel. You can read her post here  Another writer, Patsy Collins, also asked me to write a post for her blog about my book launch experience. I had lots of fun writing this for Patsy and it was nice to see so many people interacting with that post. You can read that here

Lastly I noticed other day that if you order Follow Me through the Foyles Bookshop website you can get it delivered anywhere within the UK Free within 2 days. Here’s a link to their site here

You can also request it in Waterstones or buy on Amazon (that link is on my homepage).