Thursday, October 3, 2019

Hazel And The Chessmen

3rd October 2019


It's enormously gratifying to take the option of publishing (via my agency Aevitas Creative) straight to Amazon. You have all the say in matters of presentation, cover picture etc. And most of all, you don't have to worry about being given a publishing date in the misty future, one in this case which would be way out of range for such a time-sensitive story.

HAZEL AND THE CHESSEMEN is set between the last Scottish independence referendum and the next. I was in Scotland for the first referendum which took place on a foggy day five years ago on 18 September. The interim has only shorn up support for a free and independent Scotland, while the catastrophe of Brexit has helped things along. Here's me five years ago doing my bit in Edinburgh's Royal Mile.

In the last few years, marches like this have been taking place all over Scotland. At the end of this week, there will be another in Edinburgh that promises to be twice as big as the last. Being an ex-pat (for now) it can feel frustrating to be so far from the action, but while I am away, I can do what I do best and spin a story about it.

In HAZEL AND THE CHESSMEN, Boston artist, Hazel Crichton, is left a croft on the west coast of Scotland by her colourful Scottish grandmother. Hazel has fond memories of a summer she spent in the croft as a teenager, but her life and career are now elsewhere, and so with five year-old son Aengus in tow, she goes off to sell the rural property. What she finds instead of an empty cottage, is Andrew Logan, a radical Scottish poet with a lease and a crazy scheme to steal back Scotland's Lewis Chessmen from the British Museum in London.

I went through the process of putting HAZEL up on Amazon so that it could hit the shelves as soon as possible. I had to laugh when I saw the projected publication date was 18 Sept 2019, the five year anniversary of the first independence referendum. As Hazel in my book discovers, some things are simply out of our control.