I was inspired to write a historical novel after hearing the evocative songs of Màiri Mhòr nan Oran (Great Mary of the Songs) She was a poet and political campaigner born in Skye and active in the later 19th century. Through force of character she overcame the barriers of background, class and gender to become the champion of Highlanders who were being driven from their homes. I’m interested in this period of history because it was a time of rapid change that caused disruption and heartache and as such provides a rich source for the imagination. I’m working on my second book which begins with a widow on a small Hebridean island and a young man’s suicide. It develops to include the family of Robert Louis Stevenson and the search for a mysterious woman, in both Scotland and Canada.