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The best kind of research

Sitting on a squashy leather couch in front of a roaring log fire, reading a glossy magazine, does not look like hard work. To tell the honest truth it wasn’t. But my weekend at the Auchrannie Hotel in Arran was part relaxing break and part research for my new book, a sequel to The Mixed Up Summer called The Awkward Autumn of Lily McLean.

At the beginning of the story Lily starts high school with a long list of worries, which include getting hopelessly lost and being faced with impossibly hard maths. But school isn’t that bad, although Miss Swanage, the P.E teacher, has a scary expression on her face when she discovers that Lily is a master forger!

All is going reasonably well, until Lily finds a nasty note in her locker. Someone seems determined to steal her friends, so Lily decides to turn detective.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing this sequel, as I have grown so fond of Lily and her noisy, chaotic family. Writing Lily’s story brought back memories of my own first year at high school in Glasgow. It was so different to the tiny rural primary I’d attended and  even my journey home (a walk through a park, two trains and a bus) seemed a massive challenge. I think my list of worries was longer than Lily’s!

But the best part of writing The Awkward Autumn was having a brilliant excuse to visit the beautiful Isle of Arran. Lily spends a weekend there with her friends, so I felt I ought to do the same.




Brodick Castle


Sunrise on Arran


But now that we’re half way through November, and The Awkward Autumn is at the copy editing stage (nearly ready to go to print!) my thoughts are turning to a sequel to my sequel. I’ve started planning and have jotted down ideas: a spooky supernatural plot, the return of Lily’s step-dad, more boyfriend drama for Lily’s sister Jenna and lots more laughs with Lily and her family and school friends. And, naturally, part of the story will be set on the Isle of Cumbrae, so I’ll have another excellent excuse to visit one of my favourite Scottish islands.

Now I just need to think of a brilliant winter themed title. Ideas will be gratefully considered!




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