And to find out more about what makes him tick, you can read Questions & Answers on the Biography page.
Now resident with her family in New York, Claire Barclay returns to the house in Scotland where she spent her teenage years. After the sudden death of her mother, Claire becomes increasingly concerned about the welfare of her much-loved and now frail stepfather, Leo Harrison. But his own grown children seem more concerned about preserving their financial assets and smart lifestyles than their father’s health.
The situation is further complicated by Jonas Fairweather, Leo’s neighbour, who has become the old man’s caretaker and confidant. It was he who had broken Claire’s heart at just eighteen and she still carries the hurt of that occurrence deep within her.
Now Jonas is asking her to trust him again on a matter of great urgency. But every one of his actions seems to point to his scheming against Leo and the family.
A Matter of Trust is available in paperback in the UK from 1st December 2010, and as part of Waterstone’s Fiction Book of the Year 3 for 2 promotion
The Long Way Home, the US version of the book, will be available in paperback from 12th April 2011
December 21st, 2012
Ah, the spirit of Christmas! I have just tried to order some wine from a highly respected retailer in the north of Scotland. It ended in me not getting what I ordered, and while the conversation was still fresh in my mind, I wrote it all down in an email and sent it to the company. It went like this:
Call transferred from pleasant young receptionist to wine department. I wait until I have listened to the salesman speaking to someone else.
“Hi, my name is Robin Pilcher from Dundee. I’ve just tried to buy some wine online from you, but I don’t seem to get it to work..”
“We don’t sell wine online, sir.”
“Ah right, well, that explains it. In that case, do you have any Sauvignon Blanc?”
“When do you want it by? Christmas?”
“Yes, if I could.”
“No, can’t do that. We have no deliveries.”
“What, coming in or going out?”
“Well, this is for my son who lives in Forres.”
“Oh, well, in that case, yes.”
“Well, then, can you tell me if you have any Sauvignon Blanc?”
“Please don’t be aggressive, sir.”
“What? I’m not being aggressive. You said to me, no, I couldn’t get an order in…”
“Could you hold the line, sir, and I’ll transfer you to someone else. We’re obviously not getting on very well.”
And I finish by saying, I think quite reasonably…
“Don’t bother, I really don’t think I want to take this any further.”
In reply to this, I received a very nice email from, I think, one of the directors, so my Christmas cheer has returned and I am grinning again…
Here’s wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous and Exciting New Year…
December 4th, 2012
I am a 62-year old writer and consider myself extremely lucky to have a mother who is still alive, let alone one who is a well-known authoress AND completely in touch with everything. My wife, Kirsty, is in France right now, helping to look after our new grandson, wee Dougie, and, myself being a pegleg, I am finding being on crutches doesn’t fit well with leading an independent life. So yesterday, Ros, who is in her late-80’s, drove down from the village to give me my lunch.
Now, I’ve been having a bit of a problem finding one of the ‘voices’ in my new book. It’s that of Violet, a 40-year old woman, who is keeping a diary in 1940, and my agent, Jenny Brown, had said of her that her ‘narrative was rather stilted and the pace too slow.’ I understood exactly what she meant but came up against a brick wall in trying to change it. So, over lunch yesterday, I gave Ros a section of the diary to read and asked her opinion.
Ros, at first, said nothing about it and then left the house to take her dogs for a walk, and I thought to myself, “Well, that was a good idea, wasn’t it?” Three quarters of an hour later, she came back, sat down in my office and said, “Sorry, I needed time to think about it. What you have to do is imagine that she’s writing a letter to a friend. That’s the way to write her diary. It’ll make it so much more personable, and it’ll bring out her character.”
Well, that was all that I needed. Ros had hit the nail on the head. Now I am finding it a joy, rather than a drudge, to re-work Violet’s diary entry.
It was the first time since writing my first book that I have asked Ros’s advice. Maybe I should take greater advantage of her living so close and do it more often…
December 1st, 2012
This is just to prove it!
November 30th, 2012
As I am unable to jump in the car right now to head up to the shop to buy a newspaper, I had to make do this morning with a three-day old Telegraph, which I believed I had already read in its entirety. And then I found this.
So, a young person is brought up in a country that is overlorded, without the consent of the people, by an oppressive regime. That young person devotes their life to preaching peacefully against the regime and the hypocrisy of those who accept the status quo. In their mid-thirties, the young person pays the ultimate sacrifice, but yet, still knowing that their death will be slow and painful, they protect others to the end.
A familiar story? Yes, and there are many others throughout history who have followed that exact example, but I have to say, none more so than the extraordinary Maria Santos Gorrostieta. Her name deserves to be known by everyone on this planet.
November 21st, 2012
One of the greatest problems that all writers face is a phenomenon called ‘displacement activity.’ I am faced with this continuously and call it ‘getting my desk clear.’ But it doesn’t just stop at giving its green leather top a quick once-over with a spray of Sheen – it can be as diverse as clearing a blocked drain, mending a leaking roof, paying a bill (I wish it was only one…), servicing a lawn mower – in fact, trying to find anything to do other than write.
Well, my displacement activities have been cut to zero. I have no more excuses and for the next three months, I can do nothing but write. Reason for this is that last weekend, I drove myself down to Bristol to take part in a Rackets and Fives weekend, which was part of the 150th anniversary of my old school, Clifton College. Rackets, for the uninitiated, is a game played in a court three times the size of a squash court with a racket that is longer in the shaft but has the same size head as a squash racket, and (here’s the BIG difference) played with a small solid ball the same size as your eye socket. In a fast rally, the ball is travelling in excess of 125 miles an hour.
So, I hadn’t played the game since leaving school 45 years ago, and I have to say it was probably the most exhilarating experience I have had since that time. In about five minutes of being on court, everything comes back to you – okay, there are quite a number of duff shots, but you suddenly remember where to stand, how to read an opponent’s serve, and most of all you remember the incredible noise of the ball as it echoes around the court. This all comes from being expertly coached, and it was just the saddest thing that the man responsible for coaching me, Terry Whatley, who was the main reason I had gone down to Bristol for the weekend, was taken into hospital that day after many years of successfully fighting off cancer. I hope he continues to do just that.
Anyway, having got right back into the game during the practice sessions on the Friday evening, I was ten minutes into the first match on Saturday when a noise like a rifle shot rang around the court and I fell to the ground with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Well, that was it. I was whisked straight off to hospital, put in plaster, given a pair of crutches and told to skedaddle.
So, I am in Bristol, 450 miles from home, with a car that I am unable to drive. What to do? Well, everyone put their thinking caps on, and one Will Greig put me in touch with a young Kiwi cricket professional called Gian Botha and his girlfriend, Jess Allen. Those two dropped everything, came round to pick me up and for the next twenty four hours looked after me like a first-rate medical team. By three o’clock the next day, they had delivered me and my car back to Dundee, and then stayed with us for a further 48 hours before heading back south What a couple…
I have now got a very natty red plaster on my foot, which will be in place for three months, and all my displacement activities have had to cease. So that’s it – the book will have to be written – nothing else for it.
But in the immortal words of Edith Piaf – Non, je ne regrette rien…