In our regular Q&A, we ask a Scottish author to share some stories about their own life. This month, we are delighted to welcome Barbara, an author with an unrivalled talent for bringing Scotland’s past to life. This interview was part of the blog tour for her new book, The Chessmen Thief. It gave us a chance to ask the author about her own past, including the childhood stories that shaped her current passions.
News story: What is your new book about?
The Chessmen Thief is a Viking Story about a young slave’s quest to return to his homeland. It’s an origin story for the famous Lewis Chessmen which feature throughout the plot, and it is set in Norway, Orkney and the Isle of Lewis.
Short story: sum up your book – in five words or less.
Ohh, that’s HARD! Vikings, Chess, Danger, Betrayal, Escape.
Life story: Tell us about you and how you got to where you are today?
I was born in Germany and came to Scotland to study. I fell in love, with my husband and his country, and never left again. After my degree I worked as an English and Drama teacher, first in high schools and now in a primary school as a drama specialist. I was first published in 2016 and The Chessmen Thief is my 6th book. I absolutely love visiting schools as an author and getting kids on their feet with book-related drama and games.
Love story: Who, or what, do you really care about?
My husband and three children, obviously. Two of them have flown the nest already. My wee Schnauzer called Merry, and the wild places which deserve our protection. God’s earth is precious – we must take much better care of it.
Adventure story: What has been your most exciting adventure yet.
For World Book Day in 2018, I was interviewed on Turkish television, their equivalent of News24, in a flagship culture programme. To this day, I am convinced it was a case of mistaken identity – I refuse to believe that they really meant to contact me. I nearly deleted the email as spam!
Old Story: What were your favourite books when you were a child? Why?
I adored the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley – I was mad about horses, but we never could have afforded one. Even riding lessons weren’t regular – it’s an expensive hobby. These books allowed me to inhabit a world of horseracing and I was utterly hooked.
Bedtime story: What’s your bedtime reading at the moment – or what do you want it to be next?
I just finished Ally Sherrick’s The Queen’s Fool which is a fantastically written children’s book set in the court of Henry VIII. It has so much intrigue and danger, but also transports the reader to a colourful past that really lingers in the memory.