Wednesday, 15 January 2014


Inspired by a prompt from fellow writer Bill Kirton (see Bill's post on 6th January at've been inspired to write my first blog of the New Year and join in a 'blog tour' saying a bit about my writing process. A New Year is always a good time for reflection so perhaps writing this down will help me structure my thoughts for 2014.

WHAT AM I WORKING ON? At the moment I'm writing the fifth in the Isle of Bute mystery series with Alison Cameron again as the main character. This one is provisionally titled 'Grave Matters at St Blane's' and is set in the remains of the 8th Century monastery which once stood on this site.

Plans are afoot to cash in on the current trend for historical 'theme' parks, a decision that doesn't delight everyone and Alison again finds herself involved in murder and mystery.

HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE? This series of novels is set on the Isle of Bute and though there are murders in the stories, the genre is very much 'cosy crime'. I suppose you could say they are 'Tartan Blanc' rather than 'Tartan Noir.' The important aspect is the puzzle - who did it and why - and the crimes take place on what is in reality a very quiet island with a very low crime rate.

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO? Over many years there have been family associations with Bute and we have a home on the island. It seems an ideal place for 'cosy crime' - a small community where there are plenty of opportunities for gossip. And it's such a beautiful spot - an impression of which I try to give my readers. A number of people have told me that as a result of reading the books they've been inspired to visit the island.

HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK? The first line of the novel always pops into my head and it's usually specific to a particular place. I use many local sites, but often I disguise them or alter them for purposes of the plot. The first novel, for example, was 'The House at Ettrick Bay'. There's no Victorian House in that part of the island, though there are lots of examples of Victorian villas in other areas as Bute was a favourite holiday destination in Victorian times. I don't plot ahead much,preferring to let the writing flow, but I do lots and lots of revision once the story is complete!

I love reading blogs written by other writers so if you want to have a perspective on what's happening in the writing world, have a look at these!


  1. Every time I read one of this series, or a blog about Bute, I want to visit too. That is interesting to read how you begin from one sentence. I once heard a talk from a very successful novelist at an RNA Conference and she said we should aim to get the who, where and when into the first sentence, or at least the first paragraph. Not always possible I know but good advice if we can do it. I try!

  2. Site specific books are so popular with readers. It's also good to have folk on an island where you're very dependant on time and tide for 'escape'. I like the way your subconscious sends you to a certain place, Myra, A bit spooky, that. Anne stenhouse

  3. I love your books, Myra. And I really liek the idea of 'tartan blanc'!

  4. I really enjoy your novels, Myra, and Rothesay was our holiday home every year when I was a child. Thanks for the blog mention!

  5. You've established your own style, setting your novels in a place you know well, Myra. I'm looking forward to the next one. 'Tartan blanc' is a great descriptor. We might see 'tartan gris' somewhere in the near future.