For Rhona fans, the first time they will have met border collie Blaze
fae Skye will have been in the current Rhona book Time for the Dead. It
was during a walk with Blaze in the woods behind Ace Target Sports where
he lives, that the idea of a book set on Skye with Blaze as Rhona’s
forensic assistant, was born.
Through his first fictional outing Blaze accompanied me on a book tour,
was the first dog to ever appear at the Edinburgh Book Festival, and was
also the first dog to appear at Bloody Scotland too, with his own
It was a natural progession to imagine him in his own series of children’s books. I imagined a cross between The Famous Five (remember Timmy the dog?) and the Scooby Doo gang. The Famous Five had a lot to do with me wanting to be a writer of crime novels. I loved the way the children and Timmy solved the crimes where adults couldn’t. Very empowering.
So after discussions with Blaze’s Dad, we set about creating The Magic Flag Mystery as the pilot for what we see as a series of adventures for Blaze Dog Detective and his team. Blaze’s team consists of the leader of the pack Blaze of course, with his legendary scenting powers, Laoch his wee brother, who still has much to learn, Rosa, a little girl from the travelling people who’s come to live on Skye, and Rory, who knows the island even better than Blaze does.
We were joined in our endeavours by artist Bronwyn Gilgallon who designed our book cover. Incidentally the image of Rosa is based on my granddaughter Kathleen when she was ten years old.
The book launched on 8th April 2020 as an ebook on Amazon, price £2.99 with the printed copy following once we’re out of virus lockdown.
For all you Rhona fans out there here’s a chance for your kids (and you!) to be with Blaze on Skye for another adventure!
12th April 2020: After publication on 8th April The Magic Flag Mystery went straight into the Kindle Scottish Crime top 100 !!!
Book Addict :
'I really enjoyed this book, as it brought back childhood memories of another lovable Border Collie, Lassie and her adventures.' Read full review ...
Bookmarks and Stages : 'So this book is very much worth
transporting yourselves to Skye and joining Blaze with his mischievous,
fun brother in Skye, as he tries to solve this mystery' Read full review ...
A few months ago I was asked to contribute to Imagine A Country, a book to be published by Canongate in March 2020.Contributions were being invited from across Scottish civic society (with
the exception of politicians!). I agreed immediately to take part.
to Imagine A Country were asked to dare to dream about the kind
of country we all want to live in, a country that doesn’t exist yet.
never needed change more than we do now but if we don’t give shape to that
change in our imagination – if we don’t create blueprints for possible futures
– we can’t make it happen.
this to be a collection of ideas, dreams and ambitions for a country that
doesn’t exist yet but which we’d like to live in.
The book is now available for pre-order and a booklaunch eventhas been arranged for 24th March at 6:30pm as part of the Aye Write 2020 programme.
All of the publisher's advance and royalties from Imagine A Country will be divided between five charities – Shelter Scotland,
Scottish Women’s Aid, Scottish Book Trust, Refuweegee and Reforesting Scotland.
I'm looking forward to attending the booklaunch on 24th March. You can book your tickets for what should be a fascinating event with Val McDermid & Jo Sharp with Phil Jupitus, Jackie Kay, Chris
Brookmyre, Louise Welsh, Stuart Cosgrove and Bill Sweeney