This is a very special week, as my lovely author friend Melanie Robertson King is here to tell us about her Scottish time slip novel, A Shadow in the Past. Last week, Melanie was at the Kansas Book Festival launching the book. I asked her to pop over from her home in Ontario Canada to tell us why, when she could have set her novel anywhere at all, she particularly chose Scotland?
I have very close ties to Scotland since it was my father’s birthplace and home until he left for Canada at the age of sixteen in 1930. Before he passed away, he had instilled a pride in me for my heritage that although I probably didn’t appreciate it at the time, I certainly did later on.
My novel, A Shadow in the Past, is set in Aberdeenshire. I chose that location because that’s where my father was born and I’d visited often and have made some great friends over the years.
As you know, Janice, I love Scotland and all things Scottish, and that’s how you and I met “virtually” last year.
Okay, I’ve digressed long enough. Back to why I set my novel in Scotland when I could have set it elsewhere. From the first time I visited your beautiful country back in 1993, I was enchanted by it. Those first steps out of the airport terminal in Glasgow, were a life-changing event. It was my first time flying and I came by myself.
I’d never seen anything so green and lush. Rolling hills, some shrouded in fog, autumn leaves (maybe not as vivid as here in Canada), and just magnificent things I would never have seen anyplace else. Castles on cliffs alongside the road, narrow roads with passing places (love them!), and whisky distilleries (passed a few on the bus from Glasgow to Aberdeen where I rented my car at the airport there). The Internet didn’t exist back then (or if it did, we didn’t have it yet) so I wrote to the various Scottish Tourist boards for brochures. It was like Christmas when one arrived! The one from Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire showed me so much about the area, and although I didn’t have the time to discover everything on that first trip, those places were tucked away for future trips. Whilst searching the accommodations brochure, I discovered a B&B in the parish mentioned on my father’s birth certificate, so I wrote to them right away requesting information.
While I stayed there, I met more family for the first time and was taken out on tour to where my father and his siblings had lived, and seen the family headstone in the Old Churchyard. I saw and fell in love with a nearby derelict mansion and the stone circles and standing stones in the area. Even back then, the wheels started turning although putting pen to paper (so to speak) didn’t happen until six or seven years later – and by then, I had been back to Scotland two more times (1997 and 1999) and on the second trip, met The Princess Royal at Quarriers Village (which used to be The Orphan Homes of Scotland where my father was raised).
One of the memories that remains vivid in my mind was when I approached Dunnideer Castle (visible for miles), the hill started out on one side of the road and I was convinced it would be on my left when I got close to it, but the road twisted and turned so much between the time that I first saw it and finally drove past it that it was on my right!
When a contemporary teen is transported back through time to the Victorian era, she becomes A Shadow in the Past…
When nineteen year old Sarah Shand finds herself in Victorian Era Aberdeenshire, Scotland, she has no idea how she got there. Her last memory is of being at the stone circle on the family farm in the year 2010.
Despite having difficulty coming to terms with her situation, Sarah quickly learns she must keep her true identity a secret. Still, she feels stifled by the Victorians’ confining social practices, including arranged marriages between wealthy and influential families, confronts them head on and suffers the consequences.
When Sarah realizes she has fallen in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, she faces an agonizing decision. Does she try to find her way back to 2010 or remain in the past with the man she loves?
A Shadow in the Past is Melanie Robertson-King’s debut novel.
Prior to turning her hand to fiction, she wrote articles and has been published in Canada, the US and the UK. In addition to writing, her interests include genealogy, photography and travel. On one of her trips to Scotland, she had the honor of meeting The Princess Royal. Melanie is a member of Romance Writers of America and their Ottawa Chapter. She lives in Brockville, Ontario, Canada along the shore of the majestic St. Lawrence River with her husband, son and oldest grandson.
Find out more about Melanie:
Where to buy A Shadow in the Past