Monday, 11 July 2011

The Stuart Agenda

Welcome to the first post on my writing blog. It is timed to announce the release of my first novel, The Stuart Agenda, by Willow Moon Publishing of New Orleans. It's an intriguing take on history. It describes a conspiracy to get a young scion of the defunct royal Stuart dynasty on to the throne of a newly independent Scotland. Set in the future, in the 2030's, fact and fiction merge as Robert, the charismatic heir, strives against the odds to regain his heritage. He also finds love and the key to his future in the heady political atmosphere of Scotland finally going independent. It is a political thriller with elements of adventure and romance set in the highlands and lowlands of Scotland with forays into French vineyards and the English royal court.
     My route into novel writing has not involved the express highway of a creative writing school. It has rather been a slow learning experience, sharing work at local writing classes and gradually absorbing the craft. Good criticism is an essential element of the process as draft follows draft, each one reaching further up the learning curve. A thick skin is often required to dull the pain of having to dump precious characters, paragraphs, pages and even chapters. 
     In The Stuart Agenda, I open the published version  with the Stuart hero as a teenager at Gordonstoun school. The earliest draft version began the story before he was born, so that he could enter the world in an Edinburgh maternity home. A later version began with him at primary school.
   At school in the Highlands of Scotland, I did enjoy writing essays but my English master didn’t rate me; my creative pieces were labelled as improbable and he was a bit sheepish when I got A grade in my higher exam. Later I wrote a PhD thesis and small articles on wine (Rhone Roaming) for the Sunday Times Wine Club magazine and the British School of Paris summer review. Retirement has now given me the time to build on these humble roots.
     In the blog I'll often refer to my native Caithness. It's a magical place, the frontier between Norse and Gael, both late-comers to a land teeming with prehistory and edged by spectacular cliffs, rocky shores and golden beaches. Ancient castles abound. In spring and early summer the cliffs are home to thousands of breeding sea birds.
     In the future I'll also be posting about writing, poetry, ICI, food, wine, travel, birds and much more.

              You can download The Stuart Agenda as a PDF or to i-PAD type devices from willowmoonpublishing .com or from  and for Kindle.

Alan Calder July 2011


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