The Raided Heart – The end?

How time flies… One year ago today, I wrote ‘The End’ on the final page of my revised version of The Raided Heart – Don’t you love it when Facebook reminds you of these things!


It’s a historical romantic adventure story, and the story itself has had a bit of an adventure, from the first stirrings of an idea, to finally hitting the electronic bookshelves in November 2019.

Everything started (as so many of my ideas do), with a visit to a castle. Carnasserie Castle, near Oban, on a family holiday back when I was 13. There’s not much left of the place, but it’s a majestic ruin, up on a hillside, looking down on the valley below; definitely a commanding position. Whilst there, my friend and I started chatting, and my mind immediately went to the people who would have lived there, years ago, and what they might have been getting up to. By the end of the day, the plot was in place. It involved a set of twin girls, two romantic heroes, and an evil king of Scotland, intent on stealing one of the girls away. Sadly, at the time, I didn’t quite understand that you couldn’t go making up Scottish kings, and entirely changing the history of countries to fit your plot. Still, it got written (in Excel!!), printed off, filed away, and largely forgotten about.


Fast forward to 2009, and a throwaway line on Facebook about something called National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), with the goal of writing 50,000 words in one month, an average of 1,667 words per day. As I’d just started attending creative writing classes, it seemed a fun challenge, and I remembered The Royal Roses of Scotland (the original title for The Raided Heart!). Having read a lot in the interim, I knew there was a LOT needing doing to the plot, so as I wrote, I reworked the whole thing. Gone was one of the twins, gone was the evil king, in fact, gone was Scotland. Everything was moved to the borders, much more based in reality, and, frankly, the writing was better.

Not that much better though! I still hadn’t mastered dialogue. My approach to this? Just don’t include any…


Let’s fast forward again, another 10yrs, incidentally, to 2019, and my desire to write another book for Ocelot Press. The timing felt right, and, this time with dialogue and everything, The Raided Heart got its chance to see daylight. And it worked!

I’ve been thrilled to bits at the response this “Trigger’s Broom” of books has had, even winning Bronze for Historical Romance in The Coffee Pot Book Club’s Book of the Year Awards for 2019. I’ll be raising a glass to the book that definitely rests closest to my heart today then.

But it isn’t the end. Judd Mathers, one of Meg’s older brothers in The Raided Heart, has just had his story told in Doorways to the Past, the first Ocelot Press anthology, and since I cannot give one brother his story and not the other, Robert will be getting his shot too soon, in a novelette I’ve been desperate to write since finding out the word exists!

I’m not ready to leave Long Ridge just yet…

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